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Writing the Short Film, 3rd Edition by Ken Dancyger, Patricia Cooper

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3

Using Sound to Tell the Story

Besides conveying what (as we have noted) philosopher Susanne Langer calls “the feeling-tone” of a film or tape, aural images can expand the frame in terms of offscreen space and extend the meaning of what is being shown, by using sound as metaphor.1 When these images are an integral part of the story, they usually originate in the script.

The great French director Robert Bresson, whose films are known for the quality of their visual images, is a master at extending the frame through sound. In his chapbook, Notes on the Cinematographer, he states that sound always evokes an image, although an image does not always evoke a sound.2 He applies this principle to great effect in a scene from his film Pickpocket, in ...

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