Monday Prescription: Settle Your Score (Jurassic Park special)

Hi Film Folk,

We’re back for another long overdue Monday Prescription after spending a few moons focusing on gathering up new Interviews and getting our script services orders finished!



This time, with the release of Jurassic World we draw your attention to a very important scene in the original Jurassic Park that illustrates a great point regarding sound. In an industry currently revolving around large explosions and thunderous, trumpeting scores, silence can sometimes be golden.

In Spielberg’s 1993 classic, when that T-Rex scene rears its head on the 1 hour mark we hear for 17 full minutes (with the exception of a brief cutaway sequence to Nedry and Sattler) nothing but diegetic sound. For the unfamiliar, diegetic (or actual) sounds are the ones that occur naturalistically (dialogue, sounds made by subjects or objects in the scene).

Yes the dinosaur is scary and it’s dark and the performances are great but take in the genius of the choices made in sound. In this scene, the intention is tension and we hear nothing but the creak of fences, the breath of the children, the squelch of mud, the roar of the T Rex and seventeen minutes of rain.






Here is a clip:
 

 
A score here could have made this scene (and, by extension, the film) only average. Directing, and sound designing/composing, is about choices. Williams and Spielberg made an excellent choice and the scene is thrilling, terrifying and now a classic scene in film history as a result.
 

Read our interview with Sound Designer Coll Anderson here. Read our article on sound here.
 
 

‘Monday Prescription’  No.114 – Don’t just whack a score on in post (even if it all has been pre-planned). Leave no stone unturned. Try scenes with and without music and see how they flow.

 

Want to explore more films using diegetic sound? Other great examples are the Coen Bros’ No Country For Old Men, Winding Refn’s Drive and Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

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Have a great week!
 
The Film Doctor Team
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