Thoughts on Writing Music for Film

I love the collaboration of scoring music to picture. It's fun and challenging. Each film is a new puzzle that needs solving. The answer is always there, but not always obvious. I've learned with patience and listening, it will reveal itself.

Continues below ...

Music for Film/TV

Music for Film/TV

Music for Film/TV
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Thoughts on Writing Music for Film

(cont'd)

My process is a constant dialog between the macro and the details. I begin in the big picture world: Who are the characters and what do they sound like? What is the story about? Does it need a heavy-handed score or something more subtle? I get a sense of the world the music needs to inhabit. Then I sketch out big ideas, themes, motifs—maybe they are used, maybe they're a springboard. I talk with the filmmaker to better understand their vision and we make decisions around language, texture, color and pacing. This early phase is probably the most challenging, because getting it wrong here means a lot of wasted time later.

Next comes the micro phase where decisions come down to when to let the music flourish or when to barely have it audible. Maybe a dramatic crescendo, maybe a playful counterpoint. Whatever the scene needs. I always think to songwriting when I'm scoring to film. In writing a song the goal is to create music that does not impede or obscure the singer and the lyrics. In the same way film music must seamlessly flow with the scene it's set against. It is an accompaniment; when it's done well the scene can sing freely.

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