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Creating sounds and raising the bar - an interview with Film Sound Designer Iivo Korhonen

Mundane sounds support the characters' personality and Iivo Korhonen is the one recording them. He encourages everyone to dream big, because sometimes that may become your reality.
A man in a soundproof studio waving an object to create sound
Iivo Korhonen creating foley sounds. Photo: Mortti Saarnia

Iivo Korhonen is in his last year of studies in Film Sound Design at the Department of Film, Television and Scenography. He has been busy creating foley sounds for different projects including a short film called ‘Aarre’, directed by Johanna Vapaavuori and ‘Magic Muscle Moments’, directed by himself.

What is foley sound?

Foley sound means the creation of sounds of the characters, clothes and objects in the film. Virtually the entire world of sound heard in the film has been largely recreated, with the exception of speech. By working on the sounds afterwards, we can tell a lot about the state of mind and personality of the characters through quite mundane and obvious sounds. Is the step slouchy or hasty, are the objects intact or painfully audible, does the space sound empty or cosy? The character’s personality cascades into the surrounding objects and spaces.

What is the best about your studies?

The best thing about my studies is getting to know passionate people, finding oneself and technical skills combined with artistic and creative thinking. In my experience, Department of Film, Television and Scenography teaches the collaboration of creativity and technology. Technology serves as a cornerstone for know-how, but on top of this we are given a space where it is possible to experiment, realize and create artistic content freely. This is encouraged by both teachers and fellow students. I hope that more and more students would dare to implement their own passion projects during their studies, without any actual responsibility for results. In these projects, the end result is often something greater, and artists really find their own professional identity and grow as creators.

I consciously look for very different productions, because when the job description changes, I always find something new to develop in me

Iivo Korhonen

What are you working on now?

During the last years I have been actively working with sound in documentary, fiction films and commercial productions. The latest documentary was tracing the legend of Jouni Mömmö of the occult band "Mana Mana". Currently, I am involved in working on a new production by Teemu Nikki’s "Sekasin" series. After this, we will continue to shoot our MA documentary "Kaamoksen Valossa" (directed by Niko Väistö) in Lapland, with the main character and sled dogs in the wilderness. I consciously look for very different productions, because when the job description changes, I always find something new to develop in myself.

What is your dream job?

In a way, my dreams have not kept pace with reality. I constantly find myself working with directors, actors, and authors that I admire. However, I consciously decided to say ‘yes’ to almost anything that interested me during my studies. This has led to jobs, contacts and professional success, even beyond my actual profession or major, as was the case with my first short film selected for Tampere Film Festival this year.

Iivo Korhonen's advice to all students:
 

  1. Seek out the people who inspire you. If you surround yourself with people who are a little further, a little more successful, a little more creative, you will learn everything from them.
  2. Every student selected for Aalto has gotten into this school for a reason. You should strive to see in yourself the same potential that the selectors once saw in you.
  3. Always raise your own bar when you achieve something. Getting in to school is the highest goal for many, but in reality it is just the beginning of the journey. Where would you like your journey to lead?
  4. Ask for advice, ask people to join your projects, get excited! Everyone loves enthusiastic people, and quite certainly you too, if only you dare to be active.

'Magic Muscle Moments' has been chosen to compete in the national competition at Tampere Film Festival. The film is Iivo Korhonen's directorial debut, and he is also the sound designer.

Video by Mortti Saarnia

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