The Irony of Silence

An authoritative “SILENCE ON SET”
Rumbling sound of a jet engine
Frustrated “HOLD FOR PLANE”
nods from the DP and Mixer to the director
“SILENCE ON SET” with fake renewed energy
A stranger walks up to the camera person and asks what they are filming completely unaware that the silence of the crew means they are filming at that moment. Misreading the crew’s sudden vulnerable appearance as an invitation to walk up to them. In reality, they feel as though they are in a nightmare where they are forced to watch their attacker get closer and closer while their own fear silences them. It is the fear of being the first person to break the silence on set to stop the intruder. So they let the intruder do it.

Deep breaths sound from the crew as frustration mounts. The director calls “CUT” with an extra twang in her voice coming off like buttery salt mixed together. She takes a moment to bask under the starry gaze of the outsider. The person apologizes profusely and continues on their merry way.
The AD comes out in front of the camera to focus the slate. “SOUND SPEEDING”, “CAMERA SPEEDING”, “MARK”, the scene number and take number are called out. The director silences the set, then calls “ACTION” again as a burst of wind rolls through.

The sound person hears it, considers calling it out, but decides that not much dialogue was affected. Then hopes there will be at least one more take, which there usually is. So, they stay silent about the wind damage.

The director takes a moment to decide to keep going as if that wind didn’t happen. She looks around to see the boom has a dead cat on it to reduce wind sound. She remembers the talent is laved under their clothes. Even if clothing sounds are an issue, wind won’t be. She thinks the defeat of perfection thought, “we can fix it in post” and her concerns move on.

The irony of silence is that while the film industry is on hold due to the Corona Virus, planes are not flying, people are generally staying home, and less and less cars are on the streets. So this is a great time to shoot an indie film for great sound.

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