I recently spotted an advert online seeking a composer for a short film. The job was unpaid but you needed to submit some of your work, as well as list your experiences. Well most of my work is still in progress and my experience is lacking, therefore I decided to write a score for the teaser trailer that was included with the advert. I’d give myself one weekend to complete the project. If the piece ended up being good then I could submit it with my application, and if I got the job then brilliant, but if not then it would still be good practice. After all, I didn’t feel 100% ready to write to picture, so it was more of a test if I could actually do it.
I imported the video into Logic Pro X and begun exploring some of the different electronic instruments in Logic that I could use in my score. I don’t have the equipment to record live instruments or the money to buy amazing orchestral samples, so Logic’s electronic instruments seemed like a good way to go. However, problem one: the video wouldn’t play back smoothly. A pain in the ass, but… I guess I’d just have to work with it. It wasn’t long before I was stopped in my tracks again. This time Logic simply stopped working. Why? Because my MacBook Pro was sizzlingly hot! The spinning wheel of death came on screen so I couldn’t do anything. Normally the problem is solved by waiting… So I waited… In fact I even went and washed the dishes! I came back and there was no change. So it would seem my 2010 MacBook Pro isn’t cut out for scoring movies! I thought it would be me that wasn’t ready to score to picture, but it turned out it’s my computer that isn’t ready!
Unfortunate I can’t afford a new Mac at the moment, but I’ve still got plenty I can get on with in terms of writing and learning. Nevertheless, I’m going to have to solve this problem eventually, as I won’t make any progress as a film composer if I can’t even score a one minute video!
Check out my soundtrack for the short film Friend Request and download your free copy – Friend Request (Original Short Film Soundtrack)
I’ve been getting on pretty well with teaching myself piano using the series of books/cassettes that I have. But whilst I was waiting for my cassette player to arrive from the 80s, I had ago at the Learn To Play function that comes with the new GarageBand.
If you own a Mac then you’ll also have GarageBand pre-installed on it. GarageBand now comes with Learn To Play. Learn To Play will teach you the basics of how to play the Piano or the Guitar. Both come with one lesson instantly accessible, but the other lessons are easy to download and also free. Basic Piano has 9 lessons in total. Each one has two parts: Learn and Play. In the Learn part you are taken through different steps for that lesson with your teacher, Tim. It’s fun and easy to understand even for a complete beginner, so I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.
The second part is Play, here you are given the opportunity to play what you learnt in the lesson and you even have a full band backing you up to make you sound even better. You play along and practice a few times before hitting the record button where GarageBand will track your playing and tell you how well you did at the end and even where you can improve. If you find the piece too fast then that’s no problem as you can easily slow it down and have another go. Each lesson only takes about 10-15 minutes so it’s really not very time consuming. The last two lessons could take up a bit more of your time as the pieces of music you play at the end of the lessons are a bit more complex, but just keep practicing and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the next Lang Lang.
Once you’ve done the Basic Piano lessons then GarageBand has 6 Pop Piano lessons, 4 Classical Piano lessons and 8 Artist Lessons, the latter being where famous Artists will teach you to play one of their hit songs. The Pop Piano and Classical Piano lessons are all free, but you will have to pay £2.95 for each Artist lesson that you download. All in all it’s a great little addition to GarageBand that is well worth taking advantage of, so get learning and get creating.