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Modern Film Composing

Lesson 10 of 17

Communicating with the Director

Will and Brooke Blair

Modern Film Composing

Will and Brooke Blair

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Lesson Info

10. Communicating with the Director


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 The Role of a Score Duration:07:55
4 Continuing Education Duration:08:21
5 Building Your Home Studio Duration:21:35
7 Develop Your Voice Duration:04:25
8 Spot the Film Duration:52:34
9 Focus on Instrumentation Duration:38:15
12 Create Stems for Delivery Duration:02:36
14 Getting Your First Job Duration:16:28
15 Working Remotely Duration:26:41
17 The Composer's Philosophy Duration:04:17

Lesson Info

Communicating with the Director

This segment we had, you know, a lot of finishing touches plan maybe we're not at that phase that we're going to get there. Um, again, I think I mentioned we would we'd like to get omar a couple versions, I think that's important, you know, a project like this let's say, would have would have a day that we had set aside to really get it, I think there's something about presenting, you know, one idea and one approach a soon as you present a second one, especially early on in a film, you know, there's a frame of reference right there that air director can kids sort of balance the two approaches against each other? He may identify something he likes inversion a, um, not version being, we kind of have a goal of where to move forward from there. We've got omar one version. We feel pretty good about it. The elements are there. Um, the mix is not there. So that's another thing we need to focus on. Brooke is great about, um, mixing as we go. So you noticed that, uh, adding pleads cueing things...

to get the miss it in as we go along. Ultimately, we're going to do a really refined, um, premix before we deliver final stand in most cases, larger films, the the final mix will take place elsewhere, so we're just responsible for stealing all the different elements delivering those we will get to that by the end of this segment. I guess we're curious what you guys thought, where you think the score is, what does it need? Maybe we'll be able to add some more elements, maybe he will definitely address the mix don't play back again and then in a moment we're going to share it with omar. Yes, for me, I think it would be interesting. I'm sure we're going to see it how it jails with the pri, you know, ten music that he had in there. Okay with the you know, the car radio. Yeah, I know it's kind of interesting. Like whether or not it is going to flow with kind of I'm not really cnn right now. Yeah. Are they, like fighting against each other? Yeah. Yeah. That's that's part of I made a couple early decisions based on that where? Because the bed that we put in the very beginning is this track right here, the atmosphere. But, um and so all these edits right here, I just I just didn't really quickly I'm kind of dipping it in and out so it's gonna evenflo living into really subtle that's also a decision you can let the final mix or making a lot of situations you may not even want to do a lot of this pre mixing but it's an idea at least get give us an idea doesn't work with just dipping out of the way or maybe it works just everything kind of staying at full volume and kind of working against the source music so that just this attention stays all the way through um and it's it's kind of playing around and seeing what works really um so this approach is dipping it out every now and again you'll notice it probably the badges kindness think sinks into the background a little bit um and that maybe the way to address this, but something like that atmosphere track is can be tricky because I'm just simply on and off or, you know, mute and a knute that in and of itself can be distracting, right? Terry, when it completely, you know, disappears out of nowhere to make room for something else so that it looks like brooke, did you know a series of yeah, dips we called feathers like feathering and feathering house, which is gradually disappears and re enters without even noticing it, I think attract like that needs to be kind of invisible with same time constant yeah, I don't know how it's gonna work it's kind of thing if we looked if we listen back it may not be overtly obvious but if we took that shock away you then you probably noticed that something was missing yeah and we we could show that but sure that with him without atmosphere and that's maybe we'll see how it is working with the the source music in the jeep and I'm gonna bring down um bring this down a little bit ways were kind of mixing work where it might sit in the picture but we also want to hear what we're doing to bring them so it's always it's always good to have dialogue special effects and zain audible and present because that's sort of dictating what we may or may not be doing, but in this case we're going examine the musical but we're going to pull the pull the dialogue and the jeep and everything down but now we're thinking about that okay but now with things about that hey are you okay? I just created pretty long cross fade between very quiet section and kind of adding to the ramp so now just slowly coming up throughout that whole section um you know what we might add, you know, time permitting as the atmosphere begins to disappear a little bit make room for the source music and we're getting back towards, you know, building up the ramp years have taken a break from the atmosphere and then it comes back all the sudden to me right now it seems like a little monotonous in other words I think the atmosphere is great coming back in we need one more at least one more element on top toe like that's when the stakes are higher the danger is more you know apparent and immediate um and the atmosphere is kind of mid range in terms of frequency it's kind of like middle of the road where it needs to be I think we need one more high end that's screechy and obvious but just a high end uh attention exactly I think omar is ready um we're going to skype we're gonna set up scott called with omar play in the film again this is the first time um we've really we've really connected face to face and the first time he's seen what we've done I was reading or watching an interview with uh danny elfman is the composer that worked exclusive not exclusively but the majority of us careers with tim burton from you know people's big adventure and really batman stuff and so he's just like old pro right now and hey said no matter how many films he's done all of this credits and all the time you spent with tim burton the moment you get ready to share your work with the director is still for him is still like the scariest the scariest thing so uh oh here's that scary moment here is this scary moment hi hey how are you? Good, good good can you see us in the studio? Yes we can see you know you sound great too we've been having fun with the movie man um and you're pretty strict with your deadlines wade got it to a decent place that we're ready to share okay and you're able he's able to see the video screen and we're good to go okay? This is our first past you know and there's we have ideas of things we could add and there's still mixing and fine tuning um we need to address but I think it's a good time just to get your like initial thoughts and see what you think okay, but now we're thinking about that hey, you okay? We're happy here were accident or something okay should call someone getting up you're gonna be okay okay? Are you can you people are just hanging there were engaged in helping their he's gonna be okay and you know, we should let you know our focus today was the first act of the first first exterior thing and we'll approach the second act when there's time curious to hear your thoughts well, I really like I think we have we talked yesterday just a little bit but I think you understood what I was trying to say about the not doing like music just doing like accents like holding tones on but I think you did that well because I was washing last night blue ruin a court so I think in this it was the same feeling then when when he goes walking out the first of the start of the movie but it is working at the beige and all that I think is like a a similar feeling well, maybe this is a little bit darker or are really either you weren't here for it, but that's exactly the example we shared, you know, in searching for that initial just atmosphere in that tone way all agreed that that it was similar in some ways to blue ruin which we describe that more beachy the washington issue no and this is a bit more I don't know dry and vast and but still lonely especially the first opening a couple shots and we tried to address that sort of you know you mentioned the like the joker sound from the dark knight we tried to approximately version of that um that's less atmospheric in a bit more not abrasive with the field the desert is well, it's kind of gritty and uh slightly out of tune in a little bit uncomfortable but maybe still does the same thing that the joker strings can accomplish yeah, because I think that was what I was looking for more of like an ambien is like an atmosphere instead ofthe music, right? Yeah there's really not much melody we've we've literally moved a couple of notes here and there we're just focusing on the atmosphere um per your direction, which I think is a great decision um we have a short list of changes and perhaps additions again without overdoing it without making a two musical there's elements would at least like to try to experiment with just um you know, see where we can get it to go and of course kind of refining a mix on fine tuning some of the edits or anything specifically you like to hear now having seen it the first time that's not there anything that could go that should you know, um you'd like to see changed well, I don't know if I miss it, but at the beginning with the hands come up I d how about the the hit there? Because I don't know maybe I miss it no, I agree right when we played it back right here, I think relative to everything else it's a bit soft there we had to to little elements make up the the fists, start the hands, you know q we'll build it up a bit more than might be more than just turning it up maybe we'll add a third element to it and make it more apparent I mean do you want that to be you know serious ominous and doom or just just a powerful accent way to go over the top with it no, I was just waiting like take people by surprise like they have no waiting for the hand just like it's a pop well here's the the impact sold out your idea of what we'll let you hear the sound and there on the head kind of all by itself so yeah it's pretty subtle right now yeah it's very soft and rounded it could be a bit more abrasive maybe or just have more own I think take the surprise is great yeah good thing now that sounds like more low wing I don't know why I just want to be like more maybe shorter and like more like a hit sudden and shocking a little bit yeah a little bit I don't want people like take people out of the movie with that like a scary moment nothing like that just it's surprising. Okay um and in the like the sound elements you have in there we're going to sort of solo those out and hear them again is their musical note is their tone is there or is it really just the impact is really just a percussion percussion sound the element that you first had in the attempt track on the here it was like like in bag like a drum simply then yeah uh you know that required yeah let's listen to that one it's like more metallic yeah, football I didn't do it myself I just from a library I was trying to do something like that ok? It didn't come out like I want a book I think it's good for our team score did you know we could we could add something a bit more metallic like that and a bit sharper oven impact more centered oven impact and not just so deep and and why I think you said yeah but it doesn't have to be like metallic better ideas sharper yeah, it will be better okay, you wanna watch back one more time and um ok and they were going to focus on some changes and we'll see if there's anything else you see because you're kind of audio okay for you are you able to hear things clearly yes but now thinking about that hey, you okay? What happened here were accident or something? You okay? She called someone get up again the ok you ok? Are you ok? Okay, but just hanging there were engaged in helping their things gonna be okay I thought I really really like you put music when the song was playing I didn't think of that but it sounds really great it makes the when he puts on the brakes it make it more like powerful oh yeah ok the ramp up to when he's reaches the brakes yeah, we wanted it to like suggest the idea that he might that there's danger that he might collide yeah wasn't engine ok cool I think we are going tio there's still a lot of work we're going any other things we're going to focus on some changes in the share of the final final version with you a little later uh no. Well, I would I do that question yeah is not related to the to the short film I won't ask you your thing is better went off when our score is you don't notice the school always better when it's unnoticeable school yeah that's a great question and there is a debate that a lot of folks don't agree on some people say score should be invisible and should not be memorable and and um and then it's doing its part and other people say no if if you're adding music to a film, it should be there for a reason. It should be apparent and obvious. And I'm not sure where we stand on that. I think we've always agreed that it's film to film, you know, like a project a project and if the director had a vision they said, you know, I'd like um I like this score to be bells and whistles and that's what they envision and they want the whistles to be so catchy and so memorable that people leave the theater you know, whistling and that's what we would hope he would try to dio um but there is something really powerful about it, you know, invisible unnoticeable completely subliminal scoring and I think yeah wave lean towards that side a little bit I think the projects that we've worked on maybe coincidentally have called for like blue ruin, for example called for very minimal atmospheric on at times you know, almost non musical scores I think that that helps add to the realism of those type films when you're really going for to get something a very realistic feel you're not trying to put them in a different world or something fantasy or hyper realistic this is you're really trying to get something to feel almost not necessary documentary but something that feels like you're right in the middle of it and it's a very real situation I think in those moments the kind of invisible score seems to be what really sells it. Um okay, you know, I think we were on the same page with that when we spoke yesterday that yeah, you know, perhaps it's the length of the film or just the the tone of it of the subject matter self, but I think anything to musical wouldn't fit until you know a lot of weight and say wouldn't fit yeah, so we try to show to show a little restraint but we also agree with the changes you suggestion? You know, I think I think we'll address that impact at the beginning. I don't know if you hear there is we built sort of a, uh again I keep using the word rusty drone uh, kind of metallic organic tone that starts to appear a couple times when we first see the now I'm curious. Did you have a name for the character? The guy in the way we keep calling him the victim. All right, do it this way. Used to collect the somebody with islamic. Okay, we weren't sure if more sure if he was injured or if he was okay. Okay, cool is that it won't be but there's something off about him. Yeah. Okay, well, we created a little tone, a little organic tone that fits with him again. I might like to hear a version of that a little louder. I don't know if you picked up on it, but it it should stay, you know, subtle, but it supports, you know, his entrance in the film um, yeah, no, because I think right now it's a literary long and slow, maybe a little shorter I think we could we could add another element or two and start to blend things together. So so there's not as much monotony, I think that's what I'm here. And also is that that atmosphere of drone and think it's creating a little it's stretching on a little long to be out there? Yeah, we might start to introduce another atmosphere, another tone that sort of feathers in and out. And and we're going to add another element. Maybe to the to the big ramp up at the end, when the car comes to a screeching halt just to see you know how big that could get and if we need to get any bigger but we want to try something to see if it'll work and it will be a lot of mixing, just like fine tuning and balancing things out. It should sound a bit sharper later this afternoon. Okay. Thanks, omar. Well, I think, you know. Yeah. We'll reconnect a little later. Okay. Thank you. Say about that. But that's funny. He saw blue ruin last night and discuss the exact same beach atmosphere we were we were talking about.

Class Description

A film’s score is so much more than background music. It creates a mood, shapes the story, and influences the way viewers interpret the action. In Modern Film Composing, Will and Brooke Blair ("The Blair Brothers") will examine the art and illuminate the science of scoring moving media.

You can hear The Blair Brothers’ work in award-winning features (from indie films to Disney), documentaries, commercials, and television shows. 

In this class, they’ll share their expertise and help you:

  • Find the style and tone of music that best suits your film 
  • Create dynamic musical elements that fall within your budget 
  • Improve your collaboration with composers
During the class, Will and Brooke will also score two CreativeLive student films – one prepared in advance and one scored live on air – to lend an artistic insider's view to the film scoring process and results. The Blair Brothers will also discuss their professional trajectory and how they maintain careers as composers. 

Composing music for a film can be an intimidating process for both filmmakers and composers, in this class you’ll learn practical strategies for approaching your project and producing a final product that fits your artistic intention.


Will Blair

Thanks to everyone at CreativeLive for helping produce our workshop - and thanks for everyone at home for taking a look!