Welcome to Doodlebug Studio Peter! It’s an exciting week, because Ganondagan’s Peter Jemison is heading to Doodlebug Music Studio this Tuesday! Of course, the first step in the film scoring process is “spotting” the film for music, deciding where music ought to be added, and not added. It’s a laborious process for producers, directors and composers to screen and re-screen the music-less film, making those musically perceptive and intuitive decisions. So starting this week, me and Peter will spot the film over a few days of screenings, and thereafter the spotting results will be placed in my lap to compose the score.
With Iroquois Creation Story, the film scoring process is slightly more complicated than usual, by incorporating traditional Iroquois singing into the orchestra music, and by additionally purposing the film to screen live-to-picture with musicians in a concert hall setting. In the normal course, I’d compose separate film “cues” or smaller bits of music that appear in various places within the film; these cues are then recorded out of order, and after recording are re-edited back into the film’s timeline in proper order. Why? Because in the pricy recording studio “time is money,” so all the larger cues requiring lots of expensive musicians are recorded first. That way, once those larger cues are completed, and the bigger ensembles are no longer needed, a fair number of musicians are let go, off the clock. The smaller cues are then recorded with fewer required musicians, and money is saved.
My process will be different for this film however. Because the film will potentially be screened with live orchestra, I will score the film as one giant piece of music, so that all those individual cues will segue from one to another without stopping. In this way, the orchestra conductor—in the recording session as well as the live screening—will listen to a click track in headphones, so what is conducted synchronizes perfectly with the film. Film scoring is not normally done this way, but for a short 16-minute film, the intrinsic studio/musician savings would be negligible anyway, and we will achieve the dual purpose: music affixed to the film, and music for live screenings. In this way, composing the score will be a different process as an all-in-one, beginning-to-end venture. I hope to blog more about the remaining game plan as the score progresses, check back for future entries!