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Old September 27th, 2020, 12:10 PM   #1
also known as Ryan Wray
 
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Should I work with this composer again?

I worked with a composer on a couple of projects so far, but I was wondering if I should work with him again, or if I should find someone else if the music was not that good?

Here are two shorts he scored for me:


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Old September 28th, 2020, 01:26 AM   #2
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

The ad is 60's cliche music of course but I guess he got the steer on that and the battle damaged using fits fine. If he composed this and recorded it I'd not find any issues with his products at all. Artistically and technically they're OK.

Why do you ask? Don't you like them?
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Old September 28th, 2020, 05:19 AM   #3
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

I like them, I was just wondering if it was good from other opinions. For the add I wanted him to do something more 80s or 90s, like what you would hear on the Batman (1989), or Darkman (1990) soundtrack. I wanted to do another project with him where I wanted similar music, but does it come off as too 60s, rather than of those two movies?
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Old September 28th, 2020, 06:47 AM   #4
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

If you want 80's then you have the era of synth pop - so loads of FM synthesis and synth strings in the popular music of the time and that filtered into movie music, but adverts would be contemporary styles of the time. The ad to me is older, but that could be that I remember the 60s being different from the 80s, either side of the 70s and real pop, with abba and the other big names with pianos and real guitars. Orchestral recordings have never swung very far, so string heavy stuff was in every decade's music.

If you don't want 60's tell the composer, otherwise he'll have to guess. The style is really from the late 70s really - the clutch of horror movies that sprung up with video tape hire shops - The Hills Have Eyes, Texas Chainsaw and other blood and guts darker movies. You can mimic these or totally disregard them. You need to be careful with chase music, as the ramp into something so different can make people hear the music, and that you want to avoid. Incidental music is emotion and mood creating, and if you remember it, or are drawn to it overtly, then it was a wrong choice. Movie themes are so different to the supporting music - Harry Potter is a good example. The recurring themes and motifs disappear when something happens. When Dumbledore dies is a good example - take that scene's music out of Harry Potter context and it's just a piece of rather nice, sad music. Most people would never connect it with the movie. In adverts, you have to forgo subtlety and hit them between the eyes, but again, the action is the key feature. The music must support what the director wants. I took loads of my stuff archived and doing nothing, and stuck them on iTunes, Spotify and Youtube. People have been downloading them totally out of context. Lots of them I don't even remember writing or what they were from. Composers need a good brief, perhaps with examples of music you feel it the sort of thing you want. Your composer seems competent, but I bet you make him do far too much guessing.
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Old September 28th, 2020, 04:27 PM   #5
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay thanks. The chase music in the commercial is mostly brass music, though, and I thought that horror movies of the 70s, usually couldn't afford brass instruments, unless I am wrong? I haven't seen a lot of them though, so maybe they could afford it?

As for making the composer guess too much, what can I do to make him guess less? I gave him tracks from the movie scores I wanted it to sound like, but should I do more?

For the next project, I was also thinking of doing more, and telling him what instruments I want exactly, if that would help too.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

The usual method is to put in temp tracks, which hint at some aspect of the music. However, in the end it comes down to you listening to the music that the composer normally writes, talking to them and then letting them go. I supplied him with a video without a music track,

With one composer I put in the temp tracks, which all the funders loved and let him listen once. He composed a few ideas for the music. I listened, drove home and half way there, i rang him with the choice. Of course. the funders still had the temp tracks in their brains, but the temps would've cost too much to clear. His music worked extremely well.

With the next film, I put in some temp music for the opening as an example and had no more music in the edit and left the composer to it.

In the end, you have to trust the composer you''ve selected.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 03:04 PM   #7
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

My best paying music track was for the music to be played at an exhibition in the UAE in a presentation for a Prince, and then played continuously for 2 days. I shot and edited the video which lasted just 3 and a half minutes. The firm commissioning the shoot wants Jean Michel Jarre - and the clearance quote I got they thought was for the full period, not just the one play. As a result it was out - firmly! I said I'd write something very similar and charge them a set price. Worked great.

All a composer needs is the feel that is needed. Simple stuff - scary, lovey dovey, tension, ease, sadness (my favourite) or anger. Even period - contemporary or historic. Worst is no steer at all.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 06:22 PM   #8
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay then, thanks. Well for temp tracks I have been using tracks from other movie soundtracks, but is that bad?

However, with temp tracks there are usually one or more instruments in that I don't want, so I will instruct him to loose those instruments, but still have a track that sounds similar, if that's a good way to collaborate with him.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 07:28 PM   #9
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

This has come up before. Be careful using temp tracks, or recording a demo for your project.

Years ago we had a budget for a 35 piece score and orchestra, but hedging our bets we recorded a 10 piece demo which I thought wasnít too bad. Unfortunately so did the client because after we presented the full orchestral version, to our horror he didnít like it, he wanted the 10 piece demo, even though he got other opinions.

The moral of this story is: be careful, by not going with the client, and letting him know ... you can lose him altogether.

But late at night I used to listen to our beautiful unused 35 piecer with a glass of Scotch, they went well together.

Cheers.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 08:51 PM   #10
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Ouch. Is there any chance you could ever repurpose the 35-piece score for another project?

Or worst case, release it into the public domain so someone else might benefit from it.
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Old September 29th, 2020, 11:00 PM   #11
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Hi Greg.

We couldnít do anything with it, because our client had to pay for it all, he owned it. This was back in the analogue days, and the 24 track master tape just sat on our library shelf, till I sold the company. I hoped the new owners used it as teaching tool for their young engineers.

Funny though, we knew our client was an agent for his client, a big advertising company, and this music project was for a huge new campaign for their new clients product. As much as I wanted to ask our guy whether he played our 35 piecer for his adv. client and what did they think, I didnít, because he would have passed the total invoice for everything on to them, and I didnít want to know how he did it.

But in a situation like this, you keep your ear to ground, in case the Ďblameí for such a large invoice comes our way through bad something or other. I wrote a full report with dates, times, names and invoices and kept it on file in case I needed it.

Iíve heard of the client falling in love with the demo before, you just have to be careful. All part of the games we played back then ... and now :)

Cheers.
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Old September 30th, 2020, 01:19 AM   #12
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Ryan - temp tracks are for feel. It's fine to say I want it like schindlers list, but I hate violins, that's a good clue, but once you start dictating instrumentation, the composer's have a hand tied behind their back and don't like it. So would replacing the inline lead with a flute be ok, or do you mean you don't actually want a featured instrument? You both need to understand each other's vocabulary. I'm doing it the other way around at the moment, I'm arranging movie themes for a live project and swapping parts around and schindlers list WILL have the violin featured live because it doesn't work on something else. However, Gabriel's Oboe will have no oboe, but will share the melody with a saxophone and a female voice. This oddly doesn't wreck the piece but enables it to grow a bit.
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Old September 30th, 2020, 02:49 PM   #13
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay. I never asked him to remove an instrument entirely from a piece, but would sometimes ask him to replace it with something else. For example, for one project, he put in an electric guitar and I wasn't feeling, it but I liked the rythym. So I told him I really liked the rythym, but if he could just replace the guitar with a viola or violin perhaps, and he did.

But is had to ask for certain instruments to be replaced?

For the next project though, I was thinking of making a list of instruments I would like him to use, but is that bad of me to do?
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Old September 30th, 2020, 04:25 PM   #14
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Unless you're a musician, I wouldn't get too detailed about the instruments, best keep it general.

After all, Hitchcock didn't want what is now regarded as one of the best pieces of film music.

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Old September 30th, 2020, 08:38 PM   #15
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay. It's just I feel that certain instruments would help with the feeling. For example one project I am currently planning I want to have a western feel, even though it's set in modern times. But I thought instruments like the harmonica, or spanish guitar, or churchbell sounds for example, would help with the western feel, and thought if I want certain feelings, then I have to tell the composer what instruments I want, unless that is too micromanaging? I'm not a musician, but I tried listening to several pieces as well as doing music research, to try to get an idea of the sounds I want.
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