When Art Meets Extremely High Work Ethic

When art collides with extremely high work ethic, some magic that never loses its allure is created and whatever it s that was created out of this marriage of high work ethic and artistic talent lives on forever!

While at first, I was a bit grumpy about effectively being lumped with a workload that’s beyond the scope of my job description and extra work for which I’m not getting paid extra, as it turned out being commissioned to shadow the audio guys in our team at work was quite the eye-opener. I learned a lot and I’m retrospectively thankful for the experience, but what a week shadowing the sound guys taught me most is that a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes in any area of the art industry.

There’s a reason why animation films such as a popular one we worked on for a huge client (a client which unfortunately can’t be mentioned publicly) cost millions of pounds to produce and are worthy of the multi-millions they fetch when the final edit has been cut, released and hits the Box Office among other public distribution channels. That reason is that lots and lots of man hours go into making just one aspect of the movie, let alone tallying up the man hours which go into making every aspect which comes together to make up the movie.

I mean just taking into account what the sound guys do, these guys work incredibly, incredibly hard! A huge chunk of the artistry and creativity which goes into producing certain sounds to match the picture and the script deserves recognition beyond what you see on screen as the final product of the film.

Now I’m going to change the script of the movie a bit just so that I don’t give away which movie it is (NDA, contracts and all that jazz), but here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

So in the animation film, there’s a scene in which the characters are out at sea in a ship and it starts raining fish! The sound guys’ job was to recreate the sound of fish hitting the wooden deck of a boat at varying speeds to signify how rain falls, except in this instance the “raindrops” are hand-sized fish.

Now I don’t know about you, but I have not a clue how it sounds when it rains fish and those fish hit the deck of a wooden ship, so you can imagine the challenge which was facing the sound guys – a challenge which they were definitely up for, as attested to by the final product which surprised me as to how it ultimately came out. They tried all manner of different things, including actually throwing fish from the roof onto a wooden patio, but somehow the raw sound produced didn’t quite have the required impact for an animation, so they used fruit instead and it came out beautifully.

So working the sound guys and witnessing with my own two eyes what transpires when art meets high work ethic taught me that oranges hitting the deck of a wooden ship create a sound which sounds more like fish hitting the deck of a wooden ship than the sound produced by actual fish hitting the deck of a wooden ship!

How can you not love art?

Shaun Greaves

Blogger of arts and liver of life. Singaporean at heart, but living in the UK. Life is art, appreciate it.
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