About Me

My photo

I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fruits...

Of labor.  Lots of labor. Lots of fruit.  I just came home to a shipment of wine from Naked Wines.  Joined, used the $100 voucher they reel you in with and now I have more wine than rack.  It's kind of a nice feeling.  I could get used to it.  My cup runneth over...quite literally.

So life is full and love is real.  Things that I've spent my short life on are starting to come to fruition.  But there is still work to be done.  Not now though.  Dear god.  Remember how I was saying I wouldn't have a day off for 50 days straight?  Between the rush of freelance hours at my two part time jobs, the film score and three VO gigs, I didn't stop except to take the day to go to a wedding on Long Island and a few days off to host a friend who might end up rooming with me in the fall.  But it's coming to an end a little sooner than I'd thought.  CNN wants to cover with staff before freelancers now so I end my streak early, as of this Saturday, but I'm not too terribly fussed about it. Heck, CNN has already secured me for another weekend morning in August.

But this week, not just wine but money came flowing in. Paid from a VO gig and all three jobs plus a bonus from NY1, a rather unexpected bonus that came with a raise. F*ck yeah.  Oh what a feeling.  And soon I get to take a vacation to see my family and when this film score is done in less than a week (I confidently predict), I will be getting the final payment from that.

This film score I've slaved so diligently over for the past month and a half.  I love scoring comedy, I've found.  When I can make it work.  I got thinking about process the other day while watching a video on YouTube the other day with Mark Isham, composer on such films as Crash, Point Break, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and The Mechanic.  He was talking about his process and I got thinking about how mine tends to differ with each director and their personal style.  I've worked with some directors who couldn't care less what I wrote and are tickled with anything I send them, and, while offering little direction, just let me have free reign.  Others are very particular, going so far as to ask me to emulate a rhythm they have in their head.  Others let me do my thing but only after we've discussed in detail where the music should go...then they come in and say they want me to move this note or that note or change this chord or that.  I can't decide which method I like best.  I think a huge part of me is just so damn giddy to have this work that I dive in and do whatever they tell me (within reason, of course).

Mark Isham talks in this clip about how his method works.



What stands out to me is that he asks that directors just leave him alone for 2-3 weeks.  I do enjoy that when they let me have free reign to just come up with my ideas in a vacuum.  At the same time, though, sitting down with a director and hearing what their notions about the film and each individual scene when they wrote and shot it is immensely helpful.  The director I was working with on this film, "True Love," will do that but he also will ask me what I think about certain scenes...not just what music I think should go where but things like, "did this certain emotion or plot detail come across," "did you follow this scene," "can you tell what this character's motivation is."  And he will listen to my input.  These are the moments when the director can tell me something very specific about what he needs the music to do but I can also listen for something that he may not be explicitly saying and derive an understanding of the scene that's totally my own and may take the scene to a whole new place.

I love what Isham says at about 4 minutes in about finding that one scene that "defines the overriding communication of the film" and just starting from there.  It's a brilliant idea, even just when writing a composition.  To start where you'd like the piece to peak and work up to that.  To know where it's going first.  In a way, it's a bit like rocket science.  You have to decide where you want your rocket to go first and then do the math to figure out how much fuel you need and how much acceleration you need to refine your trajectory and hit your target, be it the moon or the ISS, or low Earth orbit.  

In a short film, it's a little different because all the exposition, character development and resolution happens in such a short amount of time that you may not have enough time to really flesh out any thematic material in such a cinematic way but there is definitely still an arc.  Wow, arc = parabola, trajectory...this metaphor of rocket science and film scoring is a pretty good one.  I think I'll stick with it for a bit.

Anyway, the way I scored this film was by sitting down with the director and talking about the individual scenes and, since it's comedy, there were a lot of moments of parody where the score was highly instrumental (no pun intended) in getting the laugh.  The pivotal sort of "characters are changing" moments, were all kind of compressed into a montage scene that I scored with a techno dance beat that incorporated some distorted guitar that built in layers until the scene ended.

There was a little bit of talk about making the whole cohesive in some way between the underscore, the main title theme and all the bits of electronic dance-y pop music that sort of would take you out of the moment to get a laugh and remind you that it was a comedy.  Ultimately though, the only real cohesion was between the title theme and the underscore in a few of the scenes.  The rest of the score ended up being pop and rock influenced styles that in some other, more commercial films, may have been covered by source music or other licensed pre-recorded tracks. But it all works and I'm pretty happy with it.

Tomorrow I record a violin player friend of mine and push the final mixes through by next week. It's great to be working like this again.  And it's so great to have a vacation on the horizon.  For now, I need to, you guessed it, get some sleep.  More soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment