Fun Fridays – May 11, 2018

A little understood behind-the-scenes job in the film making industry. Would you like to have a job like this? To have your business card read “Foley Artist” as  a job description?

It is interesting to think that the novelist has to somehow convey the sound or the texture of a scene using only words. And to do it without overwriting (describing absolutely everything).

When you read a novel does your mind create the “sound” in your head? It may be odd, but when I read P.G. Wodhouse I have to “hear” the characters speaking in British accents!

7 Responses to Fun Fridays – May 11, 2018

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    Tisha Martin May 11, 2018 at 7:09 am #

    Oh wow, Steve, this is the BEST Fun Friday of the whole year! Who cares about all the rest… 😀

    Having worked backstage theater for nearly six years, I’m familiar with this technique, although I didn’t know it was called a “foley artist.” Absolutely loved all the props. Reminds me of the costume room and the prop room back in the college theater where I worked. And I can imagine that a foley artist would be exceptional at writing descriptions and conveying the sound or emotion because of the intricate details of their job.

    As for your question about being able to “hear” sounds in the books we read, it depends. If the author has done a great job conveying that sound within the scene, then yes, I can hear it clearly. If not then I have to imagine the sound as I would *think* it’s supposed to sound, and sometimes that’s hard to do if I may not be as familiar with what the author is writing about. (For instance, I know very little about the different tunes birds sing, so I would not be able to imagine what a tropical canary sounds like unless the author tells me.)

    Studying foley artistry may very well revolutionize our writing, don’t you think? In writing, is this where similes and metaphors and analogies and comparisons would be most useful?

    Hmm, this puts a very different spin on my book I’m editing. I can always add more “sound,” especially since my character is retraining retired cavalry horses and also has to work around the restraint of her leg brace (due to polio)… There would be some very particular sounds with just those two element. Oh, and I will need my Thesaurus handy too.

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    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D May 11, 2018 at 8:06 am #

    Steve, thanks for sharing this awesome guy with us. What a fun job! “I make noise all day” would be quite an introduction at a party!

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    Judith Robl May 11, 2018 at 8:39 am #


    And today’s post on Writer Unboxed is “Your Novel’s Soundtrack”.

    Some kind of collusion or coordination?

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    Tracey Dyck May 11, 2018 at 9:23 am #

    Fascinating! I’d never heard of a foley artist before. (Although I always laugh when a movie uses the good old Wilhelm scream sound effect.)

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    Mary Felkins May 11, 2018 at 11:13 am #

    So that’s what the foley guy does. New appreciation for the sounds. Wonder what my readers really hear when they read my work???

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    Robin Mason May 11, 2018 at 6:56 pm #

    that is so fun!!! and i’m the same way when reading accents – and of course, then my brain goes into accent – double fun when there are characters with different accents!!
    favorite part of the film clip – when he was “foleying” the sound of walking on the snow!

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