(Ch.5) Response Post & Final Project Intro Section

Final Project Notes: Due October 3- Turn in draft (for grading) of the introduction section for final project and email it to me at ntmanning@gardner-webb.edu for a response-post grade.

 View one (1) of your select films by October 6 (and make detailed notes).

Due October 3 – Read all materials for chapter 5 and listen to at least one of the interviews with a featured film composer on this page. Address the following after listening the interview and respond at the bottom of this post:

  1. Address which interview you listened to.
  2. Name at least 2 films of the composer.
  3. What did you learn about film composing from this individual, or what fascinated you about the filmmaker’s approach to composing (either in general or for a specific film)?

The above interview is with composer Ryan Amon from the film Elysium

The above interview is with Oscar-winner Steven Price. Price has been connected to greats like Trevor Jones and Hans Zimmer, and with work on such films as “Lord of the Rings” and “Batman Begins”

Film composer Mark McKenzie (above) has worked with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith and Danny Elfman. His influences have been heard on Dances with Wolves, Good Will Hunting, Sleepless in Seattle and more. On this episode of Cinemascene, McKenzie talks with Noel T. Manning II about his life, his passion for music and his latest film “The Ultimate Life.”

John Ottman (above) is editor and composer for X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The first 15 minutes of the above interview is with Junkie XL, composer for Mad Max: Fury Road

Long-time film composer Mark Isham (above) shares his view of music and cinema.

**Listen to one of these and share your thoughts below.**

 

Advertisements

21 Comments Add yours

  1. jguberman242 says:

    1) I listened to Steven Price.
    2) He composed the music for Gravity and Lord of the Rings.
    3) Something in his interview that really stood out to me was how, when composing for Gravity, he had to take into account the fact that space doesn’t really have sound, so he couldn’t approach the music from the traditional sense or it wouldn’t fit the feel of the movie. Instead, he focused on vibration type sounds, like what Sandra Bullock’s character would have heard in her spacesuit. He talked about having to be very experimental in his approach, and I never even considered how challenging certain movies could be to compose for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      As a composer -he also approached the film as a sound designer too. Check out the other readings in Chapter 5 to explore sound and silence. Thanks Jen.

      Like

  2. Mallory Moore says:

    I listened to the Mark Isham interview. Two of his composing credits are 42 and Crash.
    I really liked what he said about the genre of film music. In his eyes (or ears, I suppose,) film music isn’t really even it’s own genre. Instead, film music is about manipulating emotions to help tell the story. I think that this statement reflects how far film composing has come. The other chapter 5 readings and videos showed me that some of the first music for films was either orchestral or done on a piano, and it was also used to help the audience understand the story, especially in silent films. But now, a composer can go far beyond a typical orchestral piece in order to fit the themes and moods of the film. I also liked Isham’s example of this from his own work. He said that when he composed the music for 42, the music needed to one with the main character. When you look at it this way, music is not just a background element in a movie, but a vital part of the storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      “manipulating emotions to help tell the story” and “music is… a vital part of the storytelling.” – I completely agree

      Like

  3. 1. I listened to the Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL) interview.
    2. Holkenborg has scored films such as “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Divergent.”
    3. I was fascinated by the difference in spending lots of time working on a film versus being rushed to finish up the music. Holkenborg mentioned that he spent eighteen months on “Mad Max,” and could carefully deliberate every decision he made, and try out many different possibilities for scoring. He could think about his decisions and correct any mistakes he made. With the film “300,” he only had five weeks to score the film, and was spending 20 hours a day writing music so he could finish in time. He said this time crunch is “extremely thrilling,” because he has to try and make all the correct choices, but in a very limited time span. As an aspiring film composer myself, I can see advantages to both methods. Having lots of time to write music is always nice, but the rush of meeting a quick deadline can often produce some exquisite compositions, simply because a composer must work in overdrive and give the film 110%. I appreciated hearing Holkenborg’s perspective on the difference in these two methods, and I thought it perfectly embodied part of his moniker, eXpanding Limits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I too was fascinated by someone who is able to work as productively under pressure as they are able when given plenty of time

      Like

  4. alicebyrd20 says:

    I listened to the interview with Tom Holkenborg, also known as Junkie XL. He has worked on Divergent, Mad Max, Paranoia, 300: Rise of an Empire, and the new Batman/Superman film that came out recently. What was most interesting to me was the difference in length of time given to the composer to create a soundtrack for the film. Holkenborg said that he had five or six weeks for Rise of an Empire, and 18 months. He said that Mad Max was “18 months of careful, deliberating,” trying to figure out what the score was going to be based on trying different things – “you have time, you can think about it and correct mistakes, there’s all the time in the world.” He described his five weeks working on 300 as an “adrenaline rush,” where you’re just thrown into a project and working alongside the crew to finish something that sounds good. “It’s like 18, 20 hours a day and everything needs to be right on the spot, which is extremely thrilling,” he recalls. You have to be come incredibly decisive and sure of your decisions; because your choices will ultimately be part of the final product and the goal is for everything to be cohesive. I can only imagine that that kind of rush during a film score project would be 10x more intense than anything I’ve experienced! It’s also interesting that, at least for Holkenborg, it seems like he was just kind of thrown into these projects. For Mad Max, the VP of Music just called him up and asked him to come to Sydney for a screening of what they’d shot before. He said that he spent two hours talking to the director about his vision for the score, and when he was finished, he was asked to be the composer. It seems really informal, like there should be an audition process or an application, but I guess it’s so much like the rest of the film industry where you just need your work to be good and your connections to be strong so that someone, somewhere, working on a new project thinks of your skills and brings you on board. “It all comes down to working with people,” he says, which seems to be true with many aspects of the film industry. “Every film is unique for a certain purpose,” and certainly that calls for a unique sound to accompany it. “You cannot really compare the process together,” he continues, making the point that each experience with each score on each different film he works on is going to be unique to that film – no one experience will match up to another. That was interesting to me as well, in the sense that composers like Holkenborg view each of their projects as their own unique entity (which they are) and approach them differently, and then create something beautiful and fitting for that specific project. Listening to his interview really made me appreciate the work that goes into the score of a film, which is something that I often take for granted in the background.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks Alice – I really loved his story about meeting with Miller (Mad Max) and then being told “basically the job is yours.” That is crazy! Goes to show that one should always be prepared for what is to come

      Like

  5. Kathryn Manning says:

    I listened to the interview with film composer, Mark McKenzie. I was drawn into this interview, because he has worked on movies such as “The Ultimate Gift,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” and “Good Will Hunting,” all of which are movies that I’ve seen and enjoyed. He brought up some really interesting points about composing in general and more specifically – his composing process on specific movies. During the time that this interview was conducted, he had just wrapped up a project working on the movie “The Ultimate Life.” He didn’t write any music for this film until he had seen an edited version of the film. In fact, he never even read the script. I knew hardly anything about film composing before this, but I assumed that all composers at least read the script. So, needless to say, I was surprised that he had not. Mckenzie talked about how reading the script and watching the movie typically give you two different ideas, so for certain films, he chooses to only watch the film.
    I also appreciate his unique approaches to composing. He said that in order for him to write music, it has to write his personal emotion test. He cannot write music that he feels good about, unless it touches him emotionally. I think that’s really neat, because it allows him to make his mark on the music, and give it his stamp of approval.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I loved the fact that he wanted to “be connected to his music.” Thanks Kathryn

      Like

  6. thoyle1 says:

    1) I listened to the Junkie XL Interview
    2) Black Mass and Deadpool
    3) One think that I found interesting about the interview was when he talked about Mad Max and his experiences with getting the job, his idea to make it into a rock opera, and the people he got to work with. I can’t imagine how amazing it must be to have the opportunity to work on such an iconic film that so many people will be watching and remember the old versions. I also didn’t realize that he played instruments as well as composed. I’m sure this would help a composer a lot to better understand the mechanics of the instrument he is writing for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Absolutely -understanding what to play and how to play it helps this process.

      Like

  7. ssevert says:

    1. I listened to the interview with Steven Price

    2.Gravity and Lord of the Rings

    3.In regards to “Gravity”, I thought it was very interesting to hear him say that the soundtrack would be very important in “Gravity” but was not going to be traditional because there is no sound in space. He states that the first meeting to discuss this movie left him with a very broad spectrum of how to develop the score. He realized he didn’t have to follow the specific conventions of composing for films. It was a lot of trial and error and brainstorming those unconventional ways to create the emotion soundtracks normally create in conventional movies. He says “everyday was a real eye-opener”. I thought this was really cool and he went on to add that this undertaking was not only daunting but “terrifying”. This was a completely new concept for the entire crew. They were starting from scratch and had to figure out how the soundtrack fit into the world of “Gravity”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Thanks -His “no sound in space” concept was pretty amazing

      Like

  8. brittany parker says:

    Steven Price is an Oscar-Winning composer for three well known films, Gravity, Batman Begins and the very popular Lord of the Rings.
    I thought his interview was quite interesting. He stated, “I grew up playing music. I love not having a proper job, and I get to play with instruments all day.” I think a composer’s job is pretty cool! You get to do what you love, and make a career out of it. One thing he said that I never really thought about, was how songs make the movie experience. Songs change the pacing and set the mood. He stated it’s like psychology and storytelling combined. That’s an interesting way to think about it. But it’s true. Music is what controls how you perceive the storyline. Without music, you don’t have a mood set, so composers are vital to the film industry. 

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      Brittany – Music without a doubt has an impact -but so can silence. If you haven’t already, make sure you read Chapter 5 (https://gwufilmcritic.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/ch-5-sound-advice/)

      Like

  9. I listened to the interview with John Ottman, who worked on “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “The Usual Suspects.” One thing that surprised me about Ottman’s approach to composing was his comment that he does not always necessarily feel motivated to create the next great score. It is interesting to find out that someone that has been so successful still has writer’s block and has to go through a writing process. This may be partly because I do not know much about music, and I think sometimes non-musical people tend to assume that music comes together more easily if one has an “ear” for it. Meanwhile, it was relatable to hear him say that it can be easier to develop the rest of a score once the theme is done, as many projects do seem to flow better once the foundation is present.
    I was also interested to learn that Ottman enjoys composing for animated films so much, and even considers them some of his best work. It almost seems like scores for animated films would be less serious or intense, and therefore require less effort and planning. However, perhaps their sillier nature is what makes them more fun and involves more passion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. noeltmanning says:

      I think Ottman’s work as a film editor also adds to his understanding of the “music’s need”

      Like

  10. 1. Steven Price
    2. Gravity, Lord of the Rings
    While listening to Price’s Interview i was particularly struck by the closeness that the sound crew has. Working for hours at a time and having to work together in such close proximity is fascinating. Especially with the creative elements needed for each film. The learning that he took from each other film he has worked on or worked with was interesting as well. Each experience builds on the foundation left by the last one and each piece of sound or music is catered to the film for which it is produced. Even if there is no real music that fits the movie (Gravity) there are still sounds that can be used to bring the movie to life. How the movie feels and what emotions it plays on all come down to the music and the sound design. I was interested in how Price seems to focus on the sounds that would actually be available in the world of the film, and then using those sounds to produce a score. The score has a personality that meets with, and completes the film that it is paired with. one is not complete without the other.

    Like

  11. noeltmanning says:

    Great takeaways Benjamin

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s