Greg Smith

On Friday I had my meeting with Greg Smith up in northern California. This meeting has been in the making since last October when I was given his number from the folks at HiFi, the commercial house I freelanced for. The purpose of this meeting was to share music with each other and for him to explain how the recording at the end of the month would go.

Greg lives in a beautiful part of the state in an amazing house. His studio is part of the house, but only accessible from the outside. I think it’s a really nice little way to keep his work like and home life separate, but not far away from each other. We met in the morning and sat in his studio to talk. The first thing I noticed was he had a poster of a show that happened at the Schubert Theater in Connecticut. I asked him about it and he told me that it was the first show that he ever wrote for a live orchestra. Small world right?

Greg asked me to bring my music with me so we could have a show and tell sort of day. He asked me what I had been up to since we last spoke, so I told him about 3 Day Test. He was very impressed that in the six weeks it had been since we spoke I had completed an entire film score. He really enjoyed the music, and it turns out the work he is finishing for Disney is for the Tokyo Disney Christmas Show, so we had a lot to talk about. He said that my music for the film sounded very realistic, fit the movie very well and hit the emotional spots very well. It made me so happy to get so many compliments from a Disney composer. I told him that Corbin wants me to do more of his films and wants to try to incorporate a live orchestra, and Greg was very excited. He said he’d love to help in any way possible. He’s going to introduce me to his music mixer, as well as his Music Preparation Supervisor. The latter is the most interesting. Greg explained that his music preparation supervisor will help me find out how many players I can afford, help hire them, and book the location and the recording artists – pretty much all the things I don’t know how to do. I’m beyond excited to be making those kinds of connections.

He said I also need to get in touch with my Film and TV Relations agent at BMI (how weird is that that I need to call an agent?) to help me register all the cues I did for the film. Also he said I need to affiliate myself as my own publisher because I own the rights to the soundtrack, I’m entitled to double the residuals from any TV airings and DVD sales. Without Greg, I’d have no idea about any of this, and I’m so grateful he’s willing to be so helpful.

After that we started talking about the recording. On the 24th, we will record just the percussion, and on the 25th we will have the rest of the orchestra come in. It will be recorded in 2 parts though. There are going to be about 41 players total that day, and the brass will be overpowering in the small recording room. So, the brass will be recorded separate, and then strings and woodwinds will come in so the mixers can balance properly. Greg asked me what kind of experience I had with live orchestras and sheet music. I have next to no experience in that area, and every time I would tell him that, I expected for him to be disappointed, or tell me he wished I knew more, but instead this was his reaction: “Wow Brenton, there’s so much I can teach you.” That was his attitude! How did I meet this guy!? He told me that he wants to start throwing some work my way. Sometimes it may be for a stage show, and sometimes it may be a Disney commercial you see on TV or for the fireworks in the parks. He’s still figuring out what help means so it will be intermittent work to start, but I just got hired by a Disney composer! I am yet another step closer to my dream of writing for the films. I can’t believe all this is happening so fast.

As a funny side note, remember I tried out for the Brave toy commercials and ended up not getting picked for it? Turns out I lost to Greg. Go figure, but his music was fantastic for it. It’s just funny to know that he’s the guy I lost to. So the meeting with him was better than I ever could have hoped for. In the days since, I’ve been laying low and recovering from the intense but amazing experience of writing for 3 Day Test. I just heard Corbin’s Studio today that they want to start discussing their next film, calledĀ Barlowe Mann. So it appears that I’ll be back in the fray in no time. Now I’m just hoping Apple comes out with new iMacs in the next few weeks so I can upgrade my rig before the film starts. Until next time!

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