The Itching, a short film by Dianne Bellino and Adam Davies, is a 14-minute stop motion film. The film uses clay to portray the characters and set. The characters are animals so they don’t speak in the film and therefore there is no dialogue or voice over. The characters in the film communicate through their actions and the added sound effects & music suggest the tone of the interaction, actions and environment. Because this film was created using only sound effects and music, they did so in extreme detail and made sure every movement had an accompanying sound.
The film began with the main character walking through the woods and with ambient forest sounds. When the scene cut to inside the party and the characters turning on music, diegetic club music then entered the soundtrack. I was intrigued by some of the sound choices they made, where I myself may not have thought to put a sound effect there. Some of these noises include shuffling inside a purse, wind chimes in the background noise of a house, and fingers tapping paper. The sound effects were also true to the actions of the characters. The main character scratches his leg throughout the movie, but there is a change when he scratches with mittens on. This is a distinctively different sound then the first and was recorded as such.
I noticed two types of sound within the film: sounds accompanying actions on screen and sounds not in frame that implied a certain occurrence. The visible sounds are obvious such as walking and seeing feet, clinking and seeing the cheers, and phone ringing while the phone vibrates. Other sounds that imply actions off screen include someone walking out of frame getting audibly further away, shuffling through items, and waking back into frame with the item they just picked up. Because of the noise, the audience knows that the character retrieved the object in the room, it didn’t just magically appear. The sound mixer also took into account the point of view of the audience. Sounds were correctly aligned with the footage to match how far or close the character was from the camera. To keep unity within the film the sound for the most part always had the ambient forest noise in the background. Specifically in the party scene they kept some of the outside ambient noises in the background along with the club music and other club noises like walking and clinking drinks.
The music that overlaid the video enhanced the actions and emotions that the director wanted to relay to the audience. There was diegetic and non-diegetic music throughout the film. The non-diegetic music was so meticulously placed that I didn’t even notice when it would change. I was so caught up in the story that I had to go back to just listen to the music choice and transition. The music was all instrumental and complimented the scene. I also noticed the transitions were smooth because they used L and J cuts between scenes to make it less choppy.
In conclusion I thought the film used sound effects, music, actions and framing to connect with the audience effectively with the challenge of not having dialogue. I would recommend this film to someone because it was a short film and entertained me the entire time. The lack of dialogue allows the audience members to decipher for themselves what the meaning behind the story is and leaves you reflecting on the message.