The Trouble with Soundtracks

I awoke Saturday to a script for the 48 hour film project (DC edition) which was, at that point, 12 hours in.  After another birthday celebration, I began work.  Work, indeed.

As a musician fairly uninvolved with the film industry, I’m unfamiliar with the expectations and processes used to make a complete film.  From my perspective, I’m being told to make music “funkier”, “more aggressive”, “less funky”, and “more ambient”.  Unfortunately, writing and recording original music takes a substantial amount of time – perhaps as much as making a short film.  There are two sources of frustration for me as a musician: communication with nonmusicians and writing/scoring based on a script.

Musicians, whether they wish to, have a level of communication that only evolves in time.  Jazz is a form of musicians communicating; I ain’t there yet.  Regardless, I don’t have a “funky button” in my studio.  I wish I did, but no.  This musical language ends up being a detriment when the director tells me to make “the music” more dramatic.  Bereft of ideas, I added over-the-top crash cymbals.  That was not the answer – but, the answer was something I could have done: dramatic toms at the beginning of every measure.  Instead, the toms were added on top of my score, poorly.

The second main issue presented by scoring a film is the lack of film.  Imagine being told you have to play Pictionary without a topic.  Yeah, same thing.

The plus, though? I got to work with this guy.


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