Monday, November 1, 2010

A Modest Suggestion -Composer’s Perspective

Composing the music for “A Modest Suggestion” was an absolute joy!
My involvement began with my friend director Arnon Shorr. I had worked with Arnon in the past on a short film project, and we had kept in contact over the last few years. When he told me some months ago that he was considering doing a feature film, I immediately expressed my interest in scoring his project. Well, one day I finally got the okay from Arnon to do the score, and now I am very proud that my name and music is attached to this project.

Arnon had in mind to give the soundtrack a “Spanish feel.” I immediately sought out my friend Richard Peterson who is an extremely talented and versatile guitarist who can play Spanish style guitar with aplomb.
I used some of Richard’s improvisations as a “foundation” to work with on some of the tracks, and then I composed other tracks without the guitar based sounds. I think the results satisfied Arnon’s vision for the music, and “marries” to the film nicely.

The Composing Process:

I received the script a few weeks before the actual shoot, and began to compose some Spanish-themed material based on certain scenes from the script. This particular way of composing for film is not that unique; sometimes composers get a cut of the film to work with, or, we receive the script prior to the filming like I did, or, sometimes it’s a little of both. Besides composing themes based on the script alone as scenes were being shot and edited, I then received a 20 minute cut of a portion of the film to work with. A few days later I received the “locked picture” cut of the entire film. Naturally, I had to find the places where the pre existing music cues that I wrote would fit in, as well as write some new cues based on my receipt of the balance of the film.
This was accomplished in a very compressed time schedule because the film was shot in 9 days after 98 pages of script, and then had to be edited, sound mixed, and pressed as a DVD for entry in the Berlinale Film Festival in Germany, just a few short days after the shoot was finished!

It was definitely crunch time!

As I had completed portions of the score, I forwarded the music to Arnon for his approval. He was reassuringly complimentary and supported me all the way. When a director likes a composer’s work, there is nothing better.

The film is now in the very capable hands of Executive Producer Mark Jaffee who is in Berlin to promote our film.

I wish Mark and the rest of the production team the best of luck with this very important and timely film.

“A Modest Suggestion” will go places!

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