Pin Me

What is Mickeymousing?

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 1/7/2010

Learn about the sound editing process called mickeymousing.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Music in Film

    Music is an integral part of the film as it helps you connect emotional and, at times, logically with the events on the screen. The film needs to draw people in to an entire world and music helps usher them in seamlessly into what the auteur intends. How music is actually included in the film is the decision of the director and editor, yet there are different over arching theories as to how music may be applied. These different schools of thought will interpret how you want sound to work in your film. One common theory states that the sound and music of the film needs to only correlate to the events that are occurring in a constant and dominating fashion. This type of scoring is called mickeymousing because it was similarly used in the early days of Mickey Mouse cartoons.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Mickeymousing in Film Sound

    Mickeymousing is actually a very dominating form of music inclusion. Every physical action that takes place will then have accompanying musical sound to reinforce that action. There will be sounds in the musical score that will match the approximate sounds and impacts of the events that you are seeing. This was common in cartoons and silent films where the musical accompaniment was used to make up for the lack of associated sound. For example, a person running would have music where little flashes of sound may replicate the feet of the subject hitting the ground.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Setting Tone in Mickeymousing

    Along with the choices of specific sound increments and patterns you will have to match the appropriate tone. This will include a whole host of different elements including the types of instruments are used, the style in which they are played, and so many different musical composition principles that a filmmaker can work any situation in a number of different ways. The tone is still going to be the most important part of the choices in mickeymousing, yet true mickeymousing attempts to keep this within the directly relative framework.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Making Choices

    In mickeymousing music will be overwhelming in the film section. Dialogue and normal film sounds will not be clear and dominant when mickeymousing musical techniques are being applied. This is why it is best in alternative film styles or in brief locations in a film. Mickeymousing is often used in segments of a movie where people are intending to be quiet, such as times when they are sneaking or in heist films when a bank is being compromised. This can also be used in montage sequences, yet very short clips will be difficult to apply appropriate sounds to that will match up in the overarching score. If you are going to try mickeymousing in your own video sound project you will have to have a complete score, or section of music, in the works. Most people do not have the ability to get an entire orchestra together, so this can often be mimicked in electronically based music. It is best to create complete audio tracks before importing them for sound editing.