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VO4TA: Walla

Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


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VO4TA:  Walla


Wikipedia: “In American radio, film, television, and video games, ‘walla’ is a sound effect imitating the murmur of a crowd in the background... According to one story, walla received its name during the early days of radio, when it was discovered that having several people repeat the sound walla in the background was sufficient to mimic the indistinct chatter of a crowd. Nowadays, walla actors make use of real words and conversations, often improvised, tailored to the languages, speech patterns, and accents that might be expected of the crowd to be mimicked.”


I love jargony stuff like that.


Practical example… The Get Down on Netflix.  In the pilot episode there are party scenes in two distinctive styles.  


One is at a club full of people, in the late days of disco…  cocaine fueled, bell bottomed folks dancing in a Soul Train line.  But simultaneously a second event is a street party showing early Hip Hop.  It is in an alleyway with younger crowd, different turns of phrase, wearing Adidas and track suits and not a platform shoe in sight.  One is a subculture in decline while the other is  ascendant.  


How do the background voices dramatize those settings and dramatic ideas?


That’s Walla.


Hugh P. Klitzke blogs at


May 15th: Commercial Critique Workshop  Details here!


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