I’m currently working on the DVD length cut of “JourneyQuest – Season 2″, a web-series I worked on last summer, and I was reminded of a very small moment in the series that I thought was interesting. I’ve posted a link to 3 back to back versions of the same scene. First the full mix, then just dialog, then sound effects only. The main thing I want to point out is the bells that sound at the end. These were not in the script or in the story boards. They were thought up and added in during post. So, originally, the characters turned around simply because their conversation was ending. Now they turn around because the school bells are signaling them to. That’s all. It seems extra insignificant now that I put it in writing, but I think it’s a small example of how sound can suggest a much larger and more detailed world then what can be shown on screen. There’s nothing wrong with these characters turning around without a specific reason to do so, but having the bells there suggests that these people have a reality beyond their screen time. They have duties to return to, a routine that they have and that the school has. Maybe these bells have been signaling class breaks for decades, for centuries even. Some of the other details in the backgrounds suggest a larger life for the setting as well. There are students talking in the distance somewhere. Maybe there are dormitories and the students are sent here from all over the land. You can faintly hear teachers giving lectures, and a student practicing violin in an extremely repetitive fashion. The dialog only version is perfectly functional and with perhaps just some wind noise it would have moved the plot along just fine. But with the extra details it feels less like a movie set and more like a lived in world.
If you haven’t scene JourneyQuest, you should! It’s fantastically clever and fun and has surprising depth as the story develops. In short, it’s everything a web-series should be so check it out! www.journey-quest.com