The story of the USS Indianapolis was the centerpiece of JAWS in Robert Shaw's unforgettable monologue aboard the Orca in the film. It was also the only story Steven Spielberg wanted to tell when asked if he'd return to direct JAWS II.
For Inside Jaws we tell the story of USS Indianapolis across 2 episodes (Eps 5 & 6)
Part 1 covers the sinking of the vessel.
Part 2 covers the shark attacks in the aftermath and eventual rescue of survivors.
I've put the segments together for the first time into a single file below.
The Inside Series has a reputation for aiming to be more than mere behind the scenes "making of" film trivia and these sequences are evidence of that. They also demonstrate how powerful and cinematic audio only story-telling can be.
They're ambitious in scope and include a personal story of one soldier that has a poignant payoff. Just as Steven might do.
Take a listen.
Some sound things to note: I love to change "camera" position with sound throughout these sequences.
Notice how the sound cuts and places you in different places: we're outside - then inside - then on the bridge - then back in the sea while the ship sinks, etc... And in the rescue sequence - starting in the sea, then on the plane, then in the sea and then back on the plane as it lands. This wasn’t done merely for effect, but to communicate scale and scope - a large event impacts many perspectives - and they all add up to give us a sense of how devastating it is
None of these shifts were specifically called for in the writing or the narration. But the writing and the narration imply them by leaving room for me to interpret these scenes and where to "put the camera". From where is the best emotional place for "us" to experience this is the question I’d ask myself.
These scenes are what I would consider a great example of "writing for sound".
For example, the narration isn’t telling us “everything”. If it did, that would reduce the sound to only an echo of the narration. Instead it was written anticipating sound would carry much of the narrative load. It leverages what we’re hearing to free itself from the burden of explaining too many details.
Lots more scenes from Inside Jaws to share and chat about in future posts!
Lemme know if there are any you’d like to learn more about.