This morning I woke up at 7:30am and did my usual breakfast routine. Around 8 I started walking over. When I got there, Dave and Brandon were already there setting up. Then Mike came in and picked up this beautiful Dobro baritone guitar and just started jamming with it. Then we talked soundtracks and what music I listen to (more soundtracks) and composers. It was intimidating because when I usually talk composers and music with people, they know enough to keep up the conversation, but Mike’s actually worked with most of these people so what do I know?! But it was good and hearing what some of these composers are like in person is a really good insight into that world. Mike told me of some great films to watch so I could listen to the soundtracks and I’m excited to learn from them. Once the gear was running we recorded the last cues for the SVU episode.
Then John Yokum showed up. John Yokum is this ridiculous woodwinds player. He’s done work for Michael Giaccino (Up, Lost) and plays in the band for Family Guy, American Dad, and The Simpsons. We were working on the new main title theme to Law and Order: LA. The producers of the show weren’t completely happy with the demo that Mike sent them, so he was making some changes. We just got word yesterday that it needed work so Mike didn’t have time to write any new music for John. Instead, because these people are so crazy good, Mike would listen to the recording, then sing over the intercom to John in the recording booth what he wanted played, and John would just play it. Just like that! I was blown away. Once the recording was done, John and Mike took off and we started to mix it all together into the final draft (unless the producers want any more changes).
We broke for lunch and Andy took me over to pick up my car. I got this great little Toyota Yaris. Perfect little city car. It’s tiny, good on gas and very agile. I didn’t plan on leaving the street I’m on for the next six weeks, but thanks to Mike’s generosity, I get to explore California a bit. Lauren comes to visit me for the weekend on Friday, so maybe we’ll check out Hollywood and see what we can find.
After lunch we got a visit from Matt Janszen, who won the Pete Carpenter Fellowship in 2008. He came just to hang with Mike for a while, but I did get a chance to talk with him. Matt was going to grad school for theater when he applied for the fellowship. He applied 3 times before getting in. When he did, he moved to LA and was working as a page for CBS studios. After the fellowship, Mike gave him some contacts which mike followed up on. He interviewed with a few composers, including Chris Beck. He heard nothing for a year. Then out of the blue, he was contacted by Chris who gave him a position as a composers assistant where Matt helped work on the score to films like Red, Percy Jackson and Hangover 2. Matt said that it was all about making the contacts and following up. He said living in LA helped so he could easily get to interviews and stay where the work was, and it’s paying off. He’s not able to completely live of film composing yet, but he’s off to an unbelievable start. So his help gave me a lot to think about. I need to think about whether I need to move to the west coast, and when. And I need to make sure I have some contacts to follow up on before I leave here. It was really great to meet Matt.
Before we left for the day, Brandon gave me the quick and dirty on how to operate the equipment in the studio. Tomorrow, I’m able to come in after hours and play around. He made a template on the computer for me so I can’t screw anything up for them. Mike is gone for the rest of the week, so my job is to get to know the equipment and get comfortable. Mike wants me to make little cues and learn how their specific setup works, which is much more elaborate than anything I’m used to. If I’m comfortable by monday, then Mike will give me the episode I’m going to score. If that goes well, then we’ll see what happens next…