So this journey has finally come to and end. Today was my last day in LA until I move back out here in the summer. I went to the studio to meet Dave and set up my titles for my final review session. Mike showed up shortly after and we got started. I began by showing him my hip-hop title as I wanted to get that over with. He had asked my if any gave me trouble, and was happy to hear that one actually did. He said these styles are so vastly different from one another that if one of these didn’t trip me up a bit, I’d be some freak of nature. He listened to the first piece twice. When it was over he turned to me and said “If this is the worst you’ve got, this is going to be one heck of a review.” He loved the piece. He said it told the story of this guy’s transformation extremely well and sounded just like a traditional hip-hop piece. He was moving to the beat and everything, and was even more impressed when he found out that I didn’t use any loops for it; that I had created my own because I wasn’t happy with any loops that I had.
Moving on we listened to the French Revolution piece next. He listened to that one close to 6 or 7 times on every speaker he had. He was blown away by the writing. He even asked me to break down the chord structure of the key change going into the B section because he was so impressed. We went right along after that.
Next came the Afghanistan piece. After listening to that one he went into this speech about being different and creating a hook that people would latch on to. I thought I had really screwed up, but when he finished, he talked about how much I had nailed this one. He loved the writing, and loved how much of a risk I took starting the piece so slowly. He said the music creates a visual right away, and that’s what you want. The one piece of advice he gave me on this one was he could tell I was trying to put as much into a short bit as I could, and for a main title, sometimes you want to keep it simpler so the audience has more time to latch onto your hook. Other than that, all he could say was “killer”.
Fourth came the Leukemia piece. Again he listened a few times and talked to me about how simple music with a melody you can hum, or nearly hum is what makes you a huge player in the industry. He talked about how Jerry Goldsmith is a more complex and involved composer than John Williams, but the reason John Williams is such a bigger, more requested name than Goldsmith is because his melodies are memorable. He said that this tune is one he thinks people will want to play on repeat and is a sign that I’m ready for the bigtime.
Finally we did the whaling piece. He loved the energy and could tell that I was “flexing my composing muscles, showing everyone how big they are.” At that he said “Talent determines ‘if’ and luck determines ‘when’ and ‘how big’.” He said I have the talent to jump right in to scoring major film or TV, and now it’s just a matter of getting the luck and timing line up. He said that he’ll write a letter of recommendation to any composer I’m trying to work with, and said the trick is to be borderline annoying with them. Keep making emails and calls nil you get a definitive yes or no. He told me to keep in touch, not to be a stranger and be sure to stop by when I get back out here. For him to say all that was simply unbelievable. I’m beside myself and there was no better way to end the fellowship than on that note.
We left the studio and my time here was officially over. I can’t believe the six weeks went that fast, but that just speaks to how much I’ve learned and experienced in my time here. Dave was so nice and gave me a ride to the airport. We stopped at the In and Out Burger for a final meal. He told me that Mike doesn’t do the recommendations for just anyone and that’s a big deal, and he thinks that with my attitude, how I get along with others and my composing ability, I shouldn’t have a problem finding work. We made it to the airport, he said to keep in touch and now I’m here getting ready to head to Seattle to see Lauren for two weeks and decompress after the last 6.
This fellowship is over, but I’m not going to stop this blog. I likely won’t write every day, but I’ll keep this up, talking about what I’m working on, who I’m in contact with and things like that. I’ll be posting clips of my current projects and well as other music I’m working on, so check in from time to time. I’m sure a lot will be happening in the months to come as the effects of this fellowship help me on my road to starting my career. I’m about to board my plane, so I’ll see you on the other side.