I went in at 11 this morning to await the review. Brandon came in first to set up the file so we could compare my work to Mike’s. Once Mike came we jumped right in. We would play my cue, talk about it, then play Mike’s and compare. Right off the bat, Mike was impressed. He started by saying I nailed the feel and the tempo; two of the hardest things to do. Mike was ‘disappointed’ that I wasn’t screwing up as much as he wanted. He said “See, we’re already talking about nuance and we should be talking about how you got the feel all wrong.”
I wrote this score over the course of 3 days and Mike could see my improvement day by day. He noticed my music was very ‘cue-y’. That I wrote music that lined up with what was happening in the scene. Mike describes the sound for Law and Order as more atmospheric, so you never actually notice the music, which is what he wants. He said at first I moved around a little too much and my music was a bit too full, but the feel, sound and tempo was right there.
Mike said the music is all about counterpoint, but not the counterpoint you learn about in school. He said no composer actually thinks about line and parallel 3rds and 5ths and so on. He said real counterpoint is you write a line, then you write another line on top without giving much thought at all to what you wrote before. Then you tweak. That’s how John Williams does it. Mike’s actually good friends with John Williams and they hang out. Mike is more rock based in his music, and John is more classical/jazz but they both write the exact same way, so that was really cool.
By the end of the review things started getting crazy. He said I’m actually around week 4 or 5 even though I just started my second week. He said I came in, had to meet new people, learn new equipment, learn a new style of music and how TV music works and then score an episode. And I did it in 3 days and nailed it. He said that’s unusual. And he noticed how I got better after each day of scoring, so my last cues were very close. He said that I was so close to his, that he could submit both his music and my music to the producers. They’d still pick Mike’s, but wouldn’t have a good reason why they didn’t pick mine. If they had just submitted mine, it would have been used in a show! I’m that close.
He then described his music in the best way. He said that the SVU soundtrack is simple and dumb, but effective and that’s all it needs to be. But then he launched into this whole history of counterpoint going back to Bach and how it related to this show and it just shows how smart he is, but it’s just so natural to him.
Mike said people win this award who have PHD’s in music theory and people who are just sick musicians, and none of them got as close as I did. He said only two of his Pete Carpenters ever did as good as I did this early and they’re some of the most successful composers he’s ever taught. He said I’m special. he said the reason I won this fellowship is because he heard my music and how complex it was. Then he looked at my age and saw that I had never done any professional work, and that’s why I won. So he said that I’m ready to just jump in and thinks I could already do my own show. To compare me to his best success blew me away, but it got better.
So he said he’s advancing what his program would have been. Next week we get the newest episode of SVU. He wants me to score that one alongside him! And on his timetable too. So I’m not to come in when they’re in the studio. I can only come in at night and when he’s done with the scoring, we’ll compare. Then He’s going to throw a main title at me of some unknown show to see how I do with a blank sheet of paper. This is all insane. Then he told me to hang out a while while he called Danny and Atli Ovarsson, Hanz Zimmer’s assistant composer (the two success stories he mentioned). These two have huge careers. Danny is doing something like 6 shows at once, and Atli scores films with Hanz Zimmer. I overheard Mike talking to Danny in his office about how I nailed this score and just hit a home run so fast and that Danny needs to meet me. So I got both their personal numbers to set up meetings. It was quite intimidating to call these people up out of the blue, even though Mike had talked to them first. I called Danny first, and I’m meeting him tomorrow morning at his studio, so that should be extremely exciting. Then I called Atli. Atli heard how well I was doing and asked if I was at the end of the fellowship based on how Mike was talking about me . I told him I really only started a week ago and he was impressed. So I’m invited on Tuesday to Hanz Zimmers studio! Hanz own a city block of buildings in Santa Monica. So I have to get a security pass to get in and I have no idea how I’ll react to being there. On top of that, Atli wants me to make a demo of some of my music to give to him. No idea what that’s for but the idea of that makes me shake it’s so cool. So pretty much this day couldn’t get better.
Oh and I went out and bought a little point and shoot camera so I can take more pictures of what’s going on here. Big day tomorrow!