Hearing is Believing in Joshua Giuliano’s Innovative Slasher Short ‘In Sound, We Live Forever’

Horror Director Joshua Giuliano’s In Sound, We Live Forever is one of those unique and refreshing short films that utilises the key ingredients of filmmaking to keep you guessing. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on how the film will play out Giuliano will swiftly drag you in another direction. It’s a skill that requires a particular kind of finesse and he demonstrates here with ease. At its heart, In Sound is a Slasher which, as every good Slasher should, cleverly plays with conventions and brings something new to the table. Twelve Cabins caught up with Giuliano to talk getting creative with foley, divisive audiences responses and the satisfaction of being scared.

How did you initially develop the concept for In Sound, We Live Forever?

I honestly don’t remember! What I can tell you is that I was looking to do something outdoors, because all of my previous shorts were interior-based, but I didn’t want to just shoot trees and grass, so I came up with the concept of the truck to serve as a kind of visual anchor. As far as audio concept, I really don’t know where that came from, but I do know that once the idea hit, everything immediately fell into place. 

Could talk about structuring the film and the switch it makes about halfway through?

I love the audio concept, but I felt that if we just stayed in that space then the film would’ve felt incomplete. This is just my opinion, though — the decision to reveal Meredith halfway through has proved to be a bit divisive with some audiences as it marks a shift from something new and bold to something a little more conventional. But I stand by the decision to switch to the present tense because it gives a human face to the carnage and brings more immediacy to the narrative. Also, if I’m being totally honest, I wasn’t really feeling shooting just a truck parked in a field — needed to get some movement in there! 

Did you record the audio (for the first half of the film) first and then shoot to it or was it the other way around?

It was a three-day production. First day was the second half of the film, with our actors. Second day was the audio. Third day was the truck visuals for the first half of the film. Even though we technically shot the audio first, it didn’t really affect how we shot the truck on day three. We just made sure to shoot longer than normal takes so we could cut down to the right length when pairing with the audio in post. 

Due to the nature of the film, could you talk through creating everything we hear? It must’ve been really fun to get creative with the foley.

Super fun. Our second day was spent just with the actors and field sound team. It was an incredible experience because without having to worry about the camera we were afforded more free range to explore and mold the scene. I could just work with the actors, be right next to them, and we were able to move fast and reformat blocking whenever we wanted. Felt kinda pure. In the end, we used about half of what we recorded in the field that day. The other half, including the entire attack sequence when Charlie is killed, was recreated in post from scratch, which was an entirely different experience. Usually the foley team will take the cut and make sounds based off the picture, but since we had no actors on screen for half of the film, I basically had to write an entirely new script just for our foley team, complete with a hyper specific timetable for each sound effect. It was complex, but they and my ace sound designer pulled it off incredibly well.

Director Joshua Giuliano and DP Christopher Behnen

Why do you find yourself returning to the horror genre?

I think horror is the one genre where you can explore dark themes and push the envelope cinematically yet still consistently make a commercial product that reaches, and satisfies, a sizeable audience. But really, at the end of the day, I just love scaring people, giving them that experience. To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than that.

I’ve read that you’re turning In Sound, We Live Forever into a feature, how will you be expanding this story?

We are! It’s a very loose adaptation, but there are a few similarities, namely the setting, the way that 70% of the feature will take place in one outdoor location, and the villain. There will also definitely be a moment or two where we’ll play around with the sound design in a similar way to the first half of the short.

And finally, what else will you be working on next?

Nothing concrete as of yet. I’m pitching, developing a new spec, taking meetings, the whole thing. Mostly just focused on getting this feature off the ground at the moment. Ideally would like to have my next script ready to go by the time we wrap production, but we’ll see.

If you’d like to send us your film or contribute to Twelve Cabins, contact james@twelvecabins.com for all the details.

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