Show menu
Shooting People
By continuing to browse this website you are agreeing to allow us to use cookies

Listen Hard


LISTEN HARD from John Maloney on Vimeo.

Star Icon 391


About this film

SYNOPSIS: Will collects nature recordings and uses them like narcotics, transforming the chaos of inner-city London. With headphones he smothers ringing phones and traffic with birdsong, waves and tranquillity. But after leaving himself vulnerable in the street, he starts to suspect his sound habit is turning against him.

Some context... the idea was conceived in response to a brief by IdeasTap and The British Library, asking for films that used recordings of rare wildlife sounds in unusual, non-literal ways. Listen Hard was one of 10 shorts commissioned in early 2013 (for more info about the project check this British Library article: ). It was shot in 2 days in February and stars James Capel (

*** NOTE: as the title suggests, there's a lot of work in the sound, so wear good headphones to get the most out of it! ***




You can embed this film into your blog / social network page / website. All you need to do is cut and paste the simple HTML code above.


  • John Maloney (Filmmaker!)
    5 years ago
    Thanks Matt :)
  • Matt Jamie
    5 years ago
    very well produced and cut and filmed and sound edited... (though I felt the -albeit rare -dialogue was actually a bit low in the mix...perhaps deliberate?). It felt like it was heading somewhere interesting, as Jane has commented already, so it felt unresolved at the end. Well done though.
  • Jane Hamer
    5 years ago
  • John Maloney (Filmmaker!)
    5 years ago
    Don't be silly Jane I took your comment as a compliment - you definitely haven't rained on my parade - constructive crit is what I asked for! Thanks for taking the time :)
  • Jane Hamer
    5 years ago
    Hi John, well I really hope my comments haven't rained on your parade, and I think your film speaks for itself in the position it's in anyway; It's really good regardless of how anyone sees the end.
    I totally understand all you're saying, I've been there, thought the same way. I think you're right in that there are hints if you listen and watch closely and I'd imagine that's enough for most people - sorry, I'm just a pain for spotting if someone's holding back in the script emotionally or otherwise, and in the case of your film, it drew me in so well and the tone coupled with the Isolated skilled cinematography led me down this path where I just couldn't help but think, 'Ah what was it he was really trying to tell me or get across.' - but hey, that's just me, so take from it what you will. It's damn good in every other aspect for me :)
  • John Maloney (Filmmaker!)
    5 years ago
    Thanks for the kind words Jane - very much appreciate it. You're perceptive: indeed, there was another ending planned, and was filmed in fact, but didn't work when it was put together. If I'm honest I think the problem was due to me not nailing down the screenplay hard enough. I deliberately didn't really write many scenes, partially so that Jamie and I could just shoot and go based on ideas I had for scenes, and partially because I just didn't have time to concentrate on the screenplay as we had sooooo little time and I was stressing about the other production elements. BUT I think this way of working - although productive in a lot of ways - meant that I didn't ever check to see whether the story really resolved itself in a convincing way. I had an idea that I was going to try and construct the narrative in post, using sound to drive the narrative, but perhaps predictably you can only do so much at that point, you can't really impose a new story on what you've shot. So, we decided to cut the unconvincing ending and leave it a little more open-ended. It's my least favourite part. Although there are some hints as to what might have happened if you listen hard enough :)

    Lesson: KNOW YOUR STORY INSIDE OUT BEFORE YOU SHOOT! Even for really experimental stuff I think the process of writing a really conventional screenplay, even if you don't use it so much, really forces you to engage with the structure in a serious way and work out whether it just works from a narrative point of view. It was a little idealistic of me to think that the sound concept for the film meant that it didn't need a conventional screenplay. Next time - next time!

    Thanks for watching Jane
  • Jane Hamer
    5 years ago
    I enjoyed it and found it intriguing. It was shot well, actor was great and the sound was superb. I liked the tone to it, and that led me to believe it was going somewhere deep, but it didn't. It just left me a bit unemotional at the end. I wondered if there was an area you could have gone further towards? Was there another ending planned? Otherwise it was really great though.
  • John Maloney (Filmmaker!)
    5 years ago
    Thanks for watching this guys. Really interested to hear any constructive criticism on this - I am very much an (enthusiastic) amateur and it's very useful hearing what you think works and what doesn't!

Log in to comment on this film.