On Music in Film from A Filmmaker’s Handbook

No other art form is as closely related to memory as music
is for me. Music is heard, the new sound is played over and over.
It collects all that is going on at the time. Years later when heard,
it brings along the memory that was recorded. The sense of the
memory is so strong that I have to stop and exist fully in the other
time, let it play out before I can return. I like music to exist as
a character in a film. The actor acknowledges the sound, brings it
into the story. She walks to the counter. Dreamin’ Man is playing.
She sings along as she hands the money to the waitress. Or she pays,
leaves the diner, later we see her in a bookstore singing “I’m a dreamin’
man. Yes, that’s my problem.” Another character overhears and speaks.

I also like music to exist as setting. The music is not acknowledged
by the characters but by the landscape. The music is picked for the
apple orchard, the 1950s Formica kitchen table or for the lamp’s low
light hitting the tools in the garage. For the shadows they cast,
music is played so that they might tell their story.





Stefania Irene Marthakis received her BA in Poetry & Theater from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA in Poetry & Poetics from Naropa University. From 2005-2007, she interned at The Poetry Project in NYC. Some of her poems can be found in Columbia Poetry Review, New American Writing, Bombay Gin and The Recluse.

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