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The soundtrack is a cornerstone of any audiovisual production. In real image productions, the audio captures the sounds that occur when interacting with the environment: doors, environment sound, conversations. But when working with animations, there is no sound. To achieve the animation to be credible and that the audience feel it as if it were real, you have to work very well the soundtrack. You can find plenty of sound effects libraries, such as those used in the old radio dramas, with steps, door sounds, environments, laughs, cryings, applauses, and everything you can imagine for an image to be felt.

The work of adjusting the sound with the image and get the exact sound wealth is very complex and, despite what you might think, not a task that is left for the last. Since some weeks I’m working in the animatic of Roberto. The animatic is a sort of sketch of the film, and the most important result obtained during pre-production stage.

Once we have written the script and we’ve broken down into scenes as accurately descriptive as possible, the next step is to make the storyboard, a kind of comic that lets you visually define the story and see if it works. When the storyboard finally convinces you, it’s time to start to work on the animatic, in which the static images from the storyboard are edited like the film, while respecting the time duration of each scene and including all the elements that will appear in the final production: credits, sounds and music. From there we must work hard to adjust the timing of actions, check if the story is understandable, changing planes or scenes, introducing new scenes where the story fails, etc. The aim of this great work is that when you came into the production stage, you have well defined what you need to draw or model. All the work you’ve done in preproduction you’ll save in production, and also you will have the guarantee that your story works, is understandable and moves.

So that is what I’m working on, and at this point of the work the music has came on stage. Robert aims to move and therefore need to create a special atmosphere that involves the viewer with the history and the main character. And for that, music plays a vital role.

The truth is that while working with the script and the storyboard I had no idea of what kind of music would fit with Roberto, so I put off this issue until reach the animatic. I thought that when I saw the edited draft, I may listen to different songs and start to envision the kind of music I would need. Although there is still much to work with the animatic, I have very clear how Roberto begins, and that certainty has allowed me to move forward with the music.

Thanks to social networks, one day I came across this lovely short:

I loved the music, so I researched the author’s website. Bingo! One of the songs I found is just perfect for the beginning of Roberto.

Without missing a beat, I wrote to the father of this beautiful music to make him aware of the project, and ask his cooperation. Jerome from Message To Bears replied me quickly and gave the YES, I DO to me :) Thanks to this chance encounter, I have already a song for my soundtrack, and even more … The style of the music from Jerome fits so well with the story that has changed my way of looking at Roberto. The initial idea of using sombre music for the parts when Roberto shows us the stark reality is gone, and now I think a sensitive and warm music which contrast with the grotesque reality will be the leit motif of the short film.

And as you will see in future posts, new responses have appeared now about how it will sound Roberto…

Many thanks to Jerome from Message ToBears for his great contribution and enthusiasm in the project.