Very often when I’m complaining about the lowly position of sound in the film universe someone will agree by saying something like “Absolutely……. what would they do without sound? Try looking at the movie without any sound and see how you like it… ”
When I hear that sort of comment I always agree, of course, but I also think… Man, the bar is pretty damn low. It’s like saying to a cinematographer “Visuals are important in a film because without visuals you wouldn’t see anything.”
Yes, it’s important to “have sound,” but that is rarely an issue. Even skinflint producers understand the importance of “having sound.” The real question is WHAT sound there will be, and even more important: Will sound ideas and themes be allowed to influence creative decisions in the other crafts as full collaborators?
Sound is important because it can tell us about character, place, and time. It’s important because it informs us and moves us in ways visuals can’t, and because certain combinations of sound and visuals can evoke what neither can do alone. It’s also potentially important because it can help to determine what we see. But why be shy?…. Visuals are sometimes important because they help to determine what we HEAR.