Starting to Dig…

Dave Business, Cracked Up (Blog), Creating, Music/Audio 2 Comments

Now that I’ve got my spotting notes done and I’ve got a “sound” to go with, I now have to face the fact that the spotting notes is the list that represents a huge pile o’ work for me for the next couple of weeks.

Where do you start digging?  How do you start in?

It’s in the Plan, Stan!

Well, even though it’s tempting to just dive in, heads down and start working away at the mound of unfinished music, I’ve found that a bit of careful planning goes a long way.

The documentation (composer agreement, spotting notes…) definitely helps in this respect, but some thinking about the music is also crucial.  One of the main musical elements that I try to establish and nail down is the themes I’ll be using in a project.

One Theme, Two Theme, Red Theme, Blue Theme…

Themes are those recurring melodic elements in a film that are connected with specific characters, situations or things.  The most memorable ones, at least to me, are the classic John Williams ones: Superman, Indiana Jones, Darth Vader…  Anytime you have one of those characters in a significant situation in the film, their theme gets played.

The use of themes is a very common technique used throughout film and TV production.  So, the question comes down to: “How many do you need?”

We’ve kind of settled in on a Rachel Portman”esque” style – which is melodically heavy, so it definitely fits with relying heavily on strong themes for the film.  When asked, the director indicated that he sees three of the characters in the film as the “main” ones.  I can definitely see the primary character as needing a theme, but I’m a bit torn as to whether or not the other ones should get their own focused thematic material.

The other two contribute to the plot and affect our main character, but they don’t go on the “journey of transformation” that our main character experiences.  They, for all intents and purposes, stay somewhat one-dimensional in their character traits.  One of the characters is the story’s antagonist and the other is a mentor of sorts.  They both remain relatively unchanged at the end of the film.

Decisions, Decisions…

So, I think, I’ve settled on one theme for the main character and I’m mulling over a theme or some sort of variation for the other focus of the film – the game of golf.  Being a sports film, there’s quite a few sequences where the game is being played or featured – and not always with our characters involvement.

After mulling it over a bit, I think I’ve decided on the one-main-theme-with-a-variation approach – the main character and the game.

So, now, it’s a question of developing those themes … which is actually what I focused on yesterday and today.  I tested it out by writing a draft of the opening titles and sending that off to the director.  Seemed to fit nicely … if I may say so myself.

Tomorrow is tackling some of the priority cues – I’m aiming to try and get a couple of the key ones drafted to the director by the end of the day tomorrow.


Comments 2

  1. Since you mentioned that one of the secondary characters is a mentor, I could definitely see a “mentoring theme” or leitmotif, a la Howard Shore’s place-based themes in his LOTR work.

    This is fun – thanks for taking the time to write these posts. I can’t imagine how much work you have before you just writing the music, much less taking us all along for the ride.

    1. Post

      Thanks a bunch for the comments Rob – yeah, I might end up putting something small together for the mentor. He’s a funny quirky kind of character with lots of flaws – not your typical Gandalf/Miyagi mentor types.

      Thanks for the encouragement – it’s really just a stream of consciousness with a couple of odd photos kicked in for fun. I thought it’d be cool to keep a “diary” of sorts that I thought I’d share – it’s cool that people stopping by to check it out.

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