We've all heard this thing about left-brain and right-brain thinking. Right-brain supposedly is in charge of the creative and more abstract thinking we do. Left-brain is the more logical side in charge of reasoning and facts. It's kinda like your brain works in stereo. With all of the logical, mathematical stuff panned to the Left. And all the weird, abstract, dreamy stuff panned to the Right.
Once the idea of "stereo" was brought into play, it became something tangible to filmmaking that I could toy with. I thought if there were very mechanical images on the left side of a split screen contrasted with child-like, bizarre images on the right, that it would make for an interesting piece.
Naturally, the sound was split in this way too. The obvious, logical sound design was all pushed to the left ear. The accompanying surreal version of this audio on the right side.
Here is just the left channel audio in the film:
And here's the right:
It becomes really bizarre when you just listen to the right side by itself. It's just pure nonsense. But balanced with the logical left side audio, it makes sense out of that right side surreal audio. Our brain actually wants to make sense out of it.
Also a known brain oddity is that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. So it's important to note that I drew all of the right-brain, child-like drawings with my left hand. And I did the mechanical, blueprint-style drawings with my right hand. If animators are truly actors, this is as close to method acting as it gets for an animator.
Left hand, for right brain:
Right hand, for left brain:
All these drawings are kind of whatever on their own. But juxtaposed with each other side by side made for some interesting things to happen.
This quote says it better than I just did:
"A wonderful harmony arises from joining together the seemingly unconnected." - Heraclitus
"Brain Stereo" also marks the first time I've used text in a film. The "no text" rule was hard and fast until now. I had no thread for this film other than random scenes of transportation cut against each other. So I thought title cards were a good device to thread it together...but only if they were as interesting as the rest of the film. And if the voice over was robotic or disembodied, then it would be more interesting than just a regular voice.
I think that's really the whole thing, for me. It's not like I can't EVER use text or language or words. The self-imposed rule is in place more to get me to think beyond just normal language in written or spoken word. Cinema is supposed to be pictures juxtaposed together to create a feeling or tell a story. "Sound is half the picture", said Francis Ford Coppolla (or maybe George Lucas?) So that, too, has to harmonize with the visuals. And vice versa. Much too often we see stuff that is just a picture of someone saying things. Then the picture cuts to another person who looks like they're listening and then they retort. Then cut to a two-shot of both of them in conversation. Then cut back and forth again. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Thanks for reading!