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March 29, 2012

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Discuss the Details

Academy Award-Winning Composers visit Jason E. Squire’s Lecture

By Valerie Turpin

Film is a collaborative effort requiring talented individuals to come together and make sacrifices for the greater good of the final project. One often overlooked element is the meticulous nature of sound editing and the powerful effect it can have on the viewer.  On March 27th, Academy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross visited with Professor Jason E. Squire’s class to discuss their work on the music and sound of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Professor Jason E. Squire, Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor

“Sound can play a role that’s very integral to how you experience the movie,” said Reznor. “It gives a way from it being all about melody and nice, pretty symphonies playing emotionally manipulative things.  You know, a buzzing radiator that spins a little bit loud can really unnerve you in a way that you may not put your finger on. ‘why does this make me feel so… oh, there’s this thing that’s scraping my eardrums.’ So that was really one of the overall approaches to how we composed this music.”

Professor Jason E. Squire’s Arts and Industry of the Theatrical Film course is a case study on a single film which brings in industry professionals to SCA to discuss their involvement in the project and participate in a Q&A. This year, the film was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. 

“When we first saw [The Social Network] we thought, oh, we don’t know how much better it can get. It feels really good. [But during editing] this scene is now two frames shorter, which means ten hours of us rearranging and re-recording something to fit inside this compressed time ... we met with initially “why?” You know,” continued Reznor. “Do we really need to do this? Does anyone even notice that stuff?” But seeing [that] every time it feels tighter, that scene feels better, that storyline is expressed in a way that I would have never figured out on my own. So it was a real education.”