The Long Overdue Music Update

Things have been both busy and stagnant over the last couple weeks. Here’s an overview of the projects I’m working on. First up I was asked to write some music for Mattel. They were developing the toys for the new PIXAR Brave film. They were looking for up-beat Scottish sounding music. Unfortunately the final music was given to someone else, but I got a few good tracks out of it and the guys I worked for liked it so much, they really fought for my tracks to win. In the end it all comes down to a matter of taste by the people who made the commercial, but here they are.

 

      Brave 1


 
      Brave 2


 
      Brave 3


 

After that, I met a couple of guys through work who do some video work for Disney. Every year, Disney puts on a musical for all its employees and donates the proceeds to a charity. The musical event is coming up soon and the commercials for the ticket sales are due. I was asked to write the music for these commercials. The commercials won’t be shown on TV, but they will be shown to all Disney employees internally. That’s over 8000 people so it’s a big opportunity and a lot of exposure for me. There will be 4 commercials total and I have been given the first 2. I can only post the music right now, but I’m told that I’ll get the videos with all the copywritten material removed that I can post soon. The first commercial is supposed to build anticipation for the event and the music should help the feeling along and give the feel of ‘It’s Happening Again Soon’.

 

      Disney Anticipation Music


 

The second commercial is for the event itself and needed to be fast-paced, very Disney adventure sounding music. All the music is supposed to tie together, so you’ll notice the intro to this one is the same as the first, only much faster and with full orchestra rather than piano. This one was a lot of fun to write and I’m considering making a full piece out of it just for fun. Hope you like it.

 

      Disney Adventure Music


 

Now for some new stuff. I moved out to California to realize my dream of becoming a film composer. That hasn’t happened yet. I’m not complaining or anything, but I’m young, determined and impatient so I want to move things along. The things I need are exposure and connections. I have quite a few connections and I’m sure given enough time, one of them will pan out, but more can’t hurt. Also a bit more exposure will also help. The Pete Carpenter Fellowship through BMI has gotten a foot in the door for me, but it’s time for the other foot. ASCAP, another music representation agency is also holding a fellowship that I wish to apply for. This one is quite different and equally exciting than the Pete Carpenter.   This one is the ASCAP Film and TV scoring workshop. 12 winners are selected each year to spend 4 weeks in LA and meet with film composers, agents and sound engineers and get an original piece of theirs recorded and produced by a live orchestra and sound team. It sounds like an amazing opportunity and I have to apply for it. The requirements are for you to submit 5 pieces of music. 2 of them are wild cards. They can be anything you want less than 3 minutes in length. The other 3 must be 90 seconds or less and from a list of 5 possible genres. Those genres are Romantic Comedy, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller, Epic and Main Title. I’ve decided to do the romantic comedy, adventure and epic and pray for the best. The deadline is April 1st, so it’s time to get started. I just finished my first 90 second piece and it was the romantic comedy. I’m extremely happy with how this one came out.  My girlfriend Lauren bought me a book that had proved invaluable called the Mixing Engineers Handbook.

This book has tips on mixing and getting the most out of your mix. The biggest thing I’ve learned (so far) is the idea of putting each instrument in its own ‘space’ in terms of frequency. What that means is a piano can be played high or low, so if it’s playing high, you cut the low out of the sound and increase the high frequencies so there’s room for the bass instruments to play. You do the same for all your instruments. You accentuate the frequency range its playing in and remove the ones its not. This makes all your instruments sound clear, even when a full orchestra is playing. I’m still learning but I used this technique for the romantic comedy piece and I can hear the difference right away. Combine that with what I learned from Tim Jones, and I’m starting to get a very realistic sounding mix.

 

      Romantic Comedy


 
So that’s what I’m working on right now. I’ve got a couple other things in the wings, but this is keeping me busy for now. So I’ve got 2 months to write 4 more pieces for this new fellowship. Until then I’m still hoping to hear back from the composers I’ve contacted. I’ll be sure to post more of these pieces as I write them. Bye for now!

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