New Month, New Projects, & 11:11 updates

Hello, all. I’ve been trying to get this post out for 4 days and I can’t procrastinate any longer. Well, I can but I won’t. In the spirit of “everything always comes at once,” last week was a busy week. I picked up 2 new projects, and met with a director who has 3 more in the works. On top of that, I had an almost 9 hour production meeting for 11:11. But I’ll get to that later.

Last week I was commissioned to write a piece of music for a director I’ve know for over 2 years and haven’t yet had the chance to work with, Brian Spaeth. It was a great opportunity for us to finally collaborate on something, and it came out really well. The cue is for a website he’s getting ready to launch, and it works in correlation to some other media he’s producing. I can’t give you more than than right now, but as soon as it’s launched I’ll post a link to the music so you can hear what we ended up with. His direction for the music was “The Imperial March,” but slower and more menacing. Visit Brian’s blog when you have some time, you might even find comments from yours truly.

This week I’m also scoring a short film for Writer/Director Steve Royall called Haze. It will give me the chance to exercise my action-writing chops, which I’ve been dying to do for months (sadly, action music doesn’t work well in romantic comedies). This will be the second collaboration between Steve and I, and there’s a third coming up quickly after the holidays. I’ll be sure to post updates to the score here first, and if you want a play-by-play of the process, you can follow me on Twitter at I’ve been tweeting a lot lately, in part because it takes very little time to write a 140 character summary of what you’re doing. Also, come Feb and Mar, I’ll be onset for some of the 11:11 shooting dates, and I’ll be tweeting from the set, so you don’t want to miss out.

Friday, I had a lunch meeting with a director I scored a film for earlier this year to talk to him about a script he’s working on. Turns out he’s writing 2 right now, and has optioned a third, with plans to produce all three in 2009. We’re meeting up again after the holidays when I’ve had a chance to read the first script and talk score ideas. I know this sounds insanely early in the process, but it’s an huge advantage.

Which is a nice segue into my meeting for 11:11.  One perk to my relationship with the 11:11 producers, and especially Director Rocky Costanzo, is that I’ve been around from the beginning of this new chapter of the film. The first act was shot in 2004, and the same actors (now 5 years older) are being utilized for acts 2 and 3 of the film.  Back when we were finishing up the score for Amhurst (in March), Rocky and I started a dialogue about the score for 11:11, particularly the songs he needed me to create for the first act, which takes place in the 1980’s. I’m going to create 80’s-based songs to fit Act 1, a gritty, modern score for Act 2, and somehow merge the two for Act 3, which is where the characters’ worlds collide as well.

I got to the production office at noon Saturday, in time to meet the storyboard artist. He’s incredibly talented, and once I get a link from one of the producers I’ll give him a shout out here. Although I’m already working off the script for some of the themes, I’ll be utilizing the animated storyboards to “pre-score” the action sequences of the film. The end result of the headstart I’ve got is a better score, because there’s more time to get things dialed into the story and the film itself.

After a lunch of Mexican food at Mario’s in Huntington Beach, the line producer, online editor and DP all showed up to talk about the equipment and particularly the methods used to transfer dailies and back them up during the shoot. Although you’d think, as a composer, this would have been a great time for me to jump on my Blackberry or leave the room, it was incredibly informative and useful to be a part of the conversation.  We talked about ways to use the footage from the dailies in the scoring process, and I learned more about the camera work needed to get the scenes shot correctly. The film will have different shooting styles for each act, the same way the score will be stylistically different.  By the time everyone left and Rocky and I BSed for another hour, it was approaching 9pm and I headed out.

There was an energy in the room, particularly during the last meeting, that was infectious. Everyone in the room was genuinely excited about the film, and it left me energized to score the project. In the same way that one bad apple can spoil the mood in a room, enthusiasm can take everyone to another level and spark an exchange of ideas that might not otherwise occur.

And with that, my ToDo list awaits.