In my last post I mentioned that I had some big news. Well here we go. Thanks to Brandon and Mike Post, I was asked to score my first real feature film. On the phone, Brandon made it sound as if it was a very small film, and I guess when you work on Law and Order every day, it might very well be. But to me, who’s just getting started, few things are small. On friday I was invited to their studio to talk about terms and spot the film. Remember, spotting is when you watch the film with the director and those involved in music decisions to determine where music should be in the film and what its purpose is. Their studio is located in (go figure) Studio City, which is right outside of Burbank where I did my fellowship. On my drive up it was nice to see familiar places I had been during my time with Mike, and I passed the Disney studios again which always makes me happy. Someday…
When I arrived at the studio, I was greeted by Jim, the producer who I had been speaking with on the phone, Chris the editor and Corbin, our writer/director. The studio was beautiful and it felt fantastic to be back in that environment again. Corbin had to finish up a few things before getting started so I was able to chat with Jim a bit and hear about the project. The first person to arrive was Chris and he wanted to go over terms. Here’s where I start to get surprised. The first thing he told me is that I would maintain ownership of all my music. Here’s what that means. Usually when music is written for a film, that music is then owned by the production company so only they can say when and where it can be used and make money off of it. If I own that music, it means that I can still post it wherever I’d like, and I would make a small cut every time the DVD is sold or if the film were ever to air on TV. Speaking about TV, I was now told that this film is scheduled to air on TV in november! I don’t know which network yet, but you can be sure I’ll tell everyone as soon as I do. So I’m already ecstatic. I’m wondering why did Brandon say this was low budget. He gave me a number for the budget of the film, and that number seemed too low for the scale of this project. It turned out that the number Brandon gave me for the budget of the film was the budget for the music – meaning my paycheck. Fully in shock, the meeting continued.
Corbin, the writer and director for the film was last to arrive, and he is such an amazing person. Extremely nice, easy to talk to and immediately puts you at ease as soon as you’re in the room. He asked me questions about my music style and if the proposed deadline of August 20 is something I can hit. It’s going to be tight, but I think I can handle it. I shouldn’t say think. This is my big shot, and I will blow this one away. The whole time I’m talking to Corbin, I think that he looks so familiar and I can’t put a finger on it. It wouldn’t be until the next day that I figure it out, and that’s a good thing, but I’ll get to that. From there we went into the editing room where I sat down with Corbin and Chris, the editor to watch the film and make cue notes. They had already temped the film with music that fit very well and that will help me a lot with such a tight deadline.
Corbin and Chris wanted my input as well and told me to let them know if I thought anything should be changed or if music could be different. I felt very comfortable so I was very honest about where I thought things should go and they were very respectful of my input. They were surprised by my age, but that was not a barrier for them like it can be with other people, and that was one of the best feelings I could have. After spotting, we talked for a bit to get to know each other and I went home to get started.
The next day it all got crazy. I’m on my lunch break at the Apple store where we have a bunch of computers to do whatever we’d like or watch TV. I’m in the middle of the show Psych and the dad of the main character is on the screen, and it’s my director! That’s why he looked so familiar. The Corbin that I’m working for is Corbin Bernsen, who has appeared consistently in major TV shows for the last 30 years. Here is the IMDB page for Corbin as well as the page for The 3 Day Test, the film I’m working on.
Many of the other actors in the film have pretty impressive track records as well and I’m beyond honored to even be a part of the film, let alone write all the music for it. This is a dream come true. After seeing who it is I’m actually working for, it’s a good thing I didn’t know all this going in or else nerves may have gotten the better of me! So as of today, I have just under 5 weeks to score a feature film so I’d better stop writing here and get started! But I’ll be sure to write about my progress and maybe give some inside peeks into the music.