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From Screenwriting for Sound to film sound maps: the evolution of live tone's creative alliance with Bong Joon-ho

Lee, Nikki J. Y.; Stringer, Julian


Nikki J. Y. Lee


In Screenwriting for Sound, Randy Thom makes a persuasive case that sound designers should be involved in film production ‘as early as the screenplay…early participation of sound can make a big difference’. Drawing on a critically neglected yet internationally significant example of a creative alliance between a director and post-production team, this article demonstrates that early participation happens in innovative ways in today's globally competitive South Korean film industry.

This key argument is presented through close analysis of the ongoing collaboration between Live Tone – the leading audio post-production studio in South Korea – and internationally acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho, who has worked with the company on all six of his feature films to date. Their creative alliance has recently ventured into new and ambitious territory as audio studio and director have risen to the challenge of designing the sound for the two biggest films in Korean movie history, Snowpiercer and Okja. Both of these large-scale multi-language movies were planned at the screenplay stage via coordinated use of Live Tone's singular development of ‘film sound maps’. It is this close and efficient interaction between audio company and client that has helped Bong and Live Tone bring to maturity their plans for the two films' highly challenging soundscapes.

Through practitioner interviews with Live Tone staff as well as the results of original empirical research into both English and Korean-language sources, we explain what a Live Tone ‘film sound map’ is, consider how it functions as an early blueprint for the design of ambitious soundscapes, and illustrate how it facilitates ongoing creative interaction among key personnel on Okja as well as Snowpiercer.


Lee, N. J. Y., & Stringer, J. (2018). From Screenwriting for Sound to film sound maps: the evolution of live tone's creative alliance with Bong Joon-ho. New Soundtrack, 8(2), 145-159.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 22, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 16, 2018
Publication Date Sep 16, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2018
Publicly Available Date Dec 21, 2018
Journal The New Soundtrack
Print ISSN 2042-8855
Electronic ISSN 2042-8863
Publisher Edinburgh University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 145-159
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Edinburgh University Press in The New Soundtrack. The Version of Record is available online at:


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