Batman. Pretty much mention that word, and I want to be involved if there’s a score. As a kid, I was a Marvel reader. Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Avengers- I couldn’t get enough. I never got into DC though. I felt like I was betraying Marvel by giving money to their rival. However, as an adult, I fell in love with Batman.
Not literally. I mean, Christian Bale is hot, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not my type.
Most recently, with the advent of the New 52 at DC, I got into Red Hood & Nightwing. Which coincidentally was before I was approached to score Dark Knight Legacy. So now I can call it “research” and deduct the price of the comics on my taxes.
So when Woody Tondorf approached me about a Red Hood/Nightwing based show, I was in before he finished pitching it.
Woody, Director Brett Register and I sat down to talk about the tone of the score, and Zimmer’s Dark Knight Rises score came up almost immediately. It was such an epic, fitting score. I literally had tears in my eyes in the theater listening to the notes embedded with Chris Nolan’s visuals.
For Legacy, I wanted to take Zimmer’s dark tones and heavy synth and transform it into something that was befitting both Red Hood and Nightwing, who each have their own themes in this episode. We talked about how, if Batman is in the center of the moral compass, then Red Hood leans over into the dark side, and Nightwing into the light.
Consequently, Red Hood’s theme comprised of double basses, celli and low brass, is much angrier and darker than Nightwing, who’s theme has fuller strings (violins and violas), and a hopeful tone.
My favorite cue of the episode is “Police Presence,” which has an ethereal feel to it, but a synth pulse that gives it some urgency. I wanted to slowly let the gravity of what the cops had stumbled upon to develop musically as it developed on-screen.
The complete score is on the Music page.
If we’re lucky enough to make more episodes, I’m looking forward to merging the Red Hood and Nightwing themes into one as they battle. This score was a fan’s dream to write, it’s my favorite franchise, and musical genre, and projects like this are why I love my job.
Tomorrow, I’ve got a big meeting. Am I nervous? Yes. Will I do well? I think so. I’m good with meetings & interviews. But I thought this might be a good time to talk about meetings in the entertainment industry.
In the Film & TV world, meetings are… strange. It’s a lot like a job interview, but less about the resume and more about the personality. You’re always striving to “get a meeting,” but they’re nearly impossible unless someone else gets you in the door first, like a manager or an agent (I have an awesome one, by the way). And then, in a lot of ways, you live and die by that meeting. You have one chance to come off informative, personable, and convince them that you’re the right person for the job.
My philosophy with meetings is simple.
The most important one here is Be Yourself. In my case, as a composer, I’m going to have to work with these people intimately for several weeks or months, and you don’t want to act one way in the meeting, and then different when the gig starts. You want to be consistent with who you are and how you portray yourself. I’ve been close friends with many of the Directors and Producers I’ve worked with over the years. That’s because we get along on a personal level, and the only way that’s going to happen is if you’re yourself. Remember, the Director that likes you (and the job that you do) is going to call you again, and push for you when the studio wants someone else.
Be Confident. You’ve been invited to the meeting because something you’ve done has impressed them. If they didn’t think you could do the job, you wouldn’t be in the room. Don’t be cocky, but exude the confidence that tells them, I can do this, and I can do it well. Don’t ever say “No” to anything they ask for. Say “That’s a great question, I can definitely look into that and figure out how to make it work.” No one wants to hear “No.” It’s a defeatist attitude. There is ALWAYS a solution.
Be Funny. Obviously, if you’re not a funny person, this one will be harder to apply. Show that you have a sense of humor (when it’s appropriate. Laughing at the studio exec or music supervisor when they spill a glass of water on themselves might not get you the gig). It is rarely the best composer that gets the job – it’s the composer that’s going to be easy to work with , fast, AND good. You can be Mozart reborn, but if you’re an arrogant ass, you’re not going to get hired.
Go into the meeting with realistic expectations. Remember that, even if you don’t get the job, everyone in the room now knows who you are, and getting another meeting for a different project just got easier. Often someone will go in to pitch a script, and get turned down, but then told that they can come back and pitch other ideas anytime. It’s all about your attitude.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to be nervous, or arrive an hour before I need to. I prefer to think of that as “part of my process.”
I haven’t had time for an update in awhile, so I thought I’d catch everyone up on what I’ve been working on.
Alice and the Monster - We’re getting close to the finish line with this dramatic feature. Everything about this film is falling into place beautifully, and I’m excited to share the score with the world. We’re hoping to have the score locked sometime next month.
Love in the Time of Monsters - … is finished, we had the cast and crew screening last month. I love the way the score turned out, you can hear samples on the Music page. It’s really an action score with horror themes.
Hazard Jack – I’m scoring a new horror feature over the next 5 weeks, think Jason Vorhees with a jackhammer. There’s some great gore in this flick, and it’s ripe for some good horror music, so I’m trying to come up with some magic that will put the film over the top.
Dark Knight Legacy – I can’t tell you much about this web pilot other than it’s based in the world of Batman, which is pretty much all you have to do to get me to score your project. The footage looks AWESOME, and I’ve got some great ideas for the score. More details as I’m allowed to give them;)
PAWDcast – This new webseries, produced by my wife and voice over goddess Pilar Kuhn, is getting set to launch this summer. I created the opening theme and montage music for the episodes. If you’ve got a dog, or plan on getting one, you don’t want to miss this how-to series
I’m on the East Coast for the rest of this month, meeting with filmmakers in NYC and writing music from the Jersey shore. Right now it’s 70, sunny, and there’s a pool 20 feet from where I’m writing music.
A few weeks ago, I attended the 3rd Annual Streamy Awards. Anyone who was at the 2nd Annual Streamys back in 2010 know why they took a break between shows. There were some… issues with the way the show was produced. So they regrouped, partnered with Dick Clark Productions, and came back. There were a lot of eyes on them and how it would turn out.
They came back strong.
The show was well run, well written and well performed. They brought class back to the event, and did the community proud. Even Vanilla Ice was excellent, and I’m not a fan.
But the most important thing I took away from the show was the quality of the shows that were represented. There are some amazing webseries being produced out there – high quality, studio funded webseries – that I wasn’t aware of before the show. I came away from it with this sense that the webseries community was stronger than ever, and making strides that were closing the gap between it and television. And as a composer and a viewer, that made me happy and proud to be a part of the community.
This morning, Brooke Wiegman was kind enough to interview me about being a composer, Twitter, awards, and online relationships. If you listen all the way to the end, you’ll hear an exclusive scoop about my new book!