Back on 24th January 2016 I attended the world premiere of the movie Sasquatch. The first feature film with music by… me! Well things have moved forward with the film since then and tickets are now on sale for the LONDON PREMIERE.

Sasquatch London Premiere

I started working on the film back in March 2015. But I had only begun teaching myself music composition 14 months before this. And up until then, I had yet to score an actual film. So you can imagine that there was a pretty steep learning curve that came with the project. But it was an immensely valuable experience for me.

Whilst the film only contains about 30-40 minutes of my music it took me about 9 months to go from writing the very first cue for the film, to the very last. And there were several rewrites along the way. Now 9 months is a long time to work on a film like this, but seeing as my compositional skills were still very much in their infancy, and not to mention trying to wrap my head around where to begin with a 90 minute film, I’m grateful that I had this much time to work on it.

The last cue that I wrote for the film, which also happens to appear at the end, is my favourite of all the pieces that I wrote for the project.

However, I feel as though my musical abilities and understanding of the onscreen relationship between film and music, has developed much more since finishing the film. Over the past 4 months I’ve written the music for a number a projects, all with particularly tight and overlapping deadlines. This has forced me to write quickly, is an essential skill for any film composer. I now find myself able to write around 2 or 3 minutes of music a day, which is really good, considering this is said to be what professional film composers average.

If you’re in London on Saturday 16th July 2016 and are interested in going to the premiere, then you can purchase tickets here:

My First Soundtrack Release!

Whilst you can’t yet watch the film, I wanted to celebrate my first short film score with a free downloadable soundtrack.

Friend Request is a 20 minute short film that I wrote 15 minutes of music for, in just 2 weeks. This is technically my second film score, as I actually started working on a feature film before this. However, that’s still in post production, hence I’m posting this one first. For the feature, I was writing an average of 5 minutes of music a week, so I was really pushing myself with Friend Request. Professional film composers write on average, 2 to 3 minutes of music a day, which is what I always try and aim for now. Although working a full time job obviously means I can’t quite produce as much per week as they would.

It was just 18 months ago that I actually started learning how to write music, so the completion of this film has been a big milestone for me. And I was lucky enough to watch the film at the O2 Cineworld in London a couple of weeks ago, where hearing my score on the big screen was such a wonderful experience and a great way to mark this achievement in my composing career.

We’ll soon be submitting the short to film festivals, when I’ll hopefully be able to share the film with you. But until then, I hope you enjoy the music, and please do share it with your friends 🙂

Writing Music for a Play

I recently finished working on a local production of The Arrest of Ai Weiwei, a play about the arrest of the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and the first project of 2015 that I have composed for.

I read the script though several times and approached it as though I was scoring a film, however, there was one big difference, I couldn’t see the play. I started on the music very early on in the production process to give myself a head start. But since I couldn’t watch the play back, then I had no idea about how long each piece should be, or how the music should evolve to reflect the scene. Therefore, I decided to record myself performing the play. Something no one will EVER hear! I didn’t record the whole thing, just the last scene which was were I decided to start. I’ve listed the tracks below in the order they appear in the play.
This accompanies the actual arrest of Ai Weiwei at the airport and continues until he is handcuffed, with a black hood over his head and seated in the first interrogation room.

After a lengthy interrogation we change scenes to a garden near the Forbidden City, where two officials are discussing the politics behind Ai Weiwei’s arrest. This cue plays during a scene change and helps to establish the location. Originally this cue was only 30 seconds long, but after the tech rehearsal we had in the theatre it was obvious it needed to be longer, as it was impossible for the crew to change the set before the music ended. Therefore, I spent the next morning extending it, ready for the dress rehearsal in the evening.

We then have another scene change where we go to the second interrogation scene. This track is supposed to reflect the passage of time.

This is another cue which reflects the passage of time. However at this point, Ai Weiwei has been kept prisoner for so long that he no longer has any idea about how much time has passed, something which I tried to show in the music.

And here is the final track. This music accompanies a shower of bank notes falling from the sky before Ai Weiwei engages the audience with a lengthy monologue, bringing the play to an end. In the actual production my music fades out at around 1:30mins, as the monologue begins. However, I originally wrote it to accompany the whole scene, hence this extended version.

I learnt a lot from working on this production and have enjoyed the whole experience. I even got a nice bottle of wine and a card at the end from the cast and crew 🙂

Downton Abbey (Soundtrack)

Check out my soundtrack for the short film Friend Request and download your free copy – Friend Request (Original Short Film Soundtrack)

If you’ve watched the series then you’ll know that the soundtrack is amazing, and if you’ve not then you should because the series is amazing as well. It’s was one of the most viewed period dramas there is and has been commissioned for a second series later this year, so if you’ve not seen it then check it out.

Now soundtrack releases are a really common thing when it comes to feature films, they practically all have them, but television is another thing. There are a few composers that have done very well in TV when it comes to soundtrack releases with american composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, A Town Called Eureka, Human Target, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) having practically all of his music released via LaLaLand Records, who seem to want to release everything he has written. Which is great because he really is a talented composer and he’s one of my favourites which is why I’ve got all 15 of his releases, and a few additional tracks as well. Didn’t know he’d done so much actually! There are a few others like Michael Giacchino but he’s an established feature film composer as well thanks to J.J. Abrams and Pixar so it’s not quite as impressive.

Daniel Pemberton (Upstairs Downstairs, Desperate Romantics, Heroes And Villains, Prehistoric Park, Monster Moves) is about the only other TV composer who has done so well. Which is more unusual in his case because he is a british composer and british TV shows don’t often get soundtrack releases. It is becoming a bit more common now with the likes of iTunes, as some soundtracks are getting digital releases which is obviously much more cost efficient when we are talking about a genre of music that isn’t quite as popular as perhaps people like me hope it would be, as then there would be even more soundtrack releases. But thankfully they are still getting releases.

So back to Downton Abbey. The music is composed by John Lunn, who’s only other previous soundtrack release was Hotel Babylon which was co-composed by Jim Williams. I’m not sure why this soundtrack has got a release, but I’m so very thankful that it has because it is some of the best and most beautiful music I’ve heard. Every time I watched the show I got goosebumps from listening to the main title and end title music. Now I can listen to the whole score, and it is all just as exciting.

The melody’s are so elegant and beautiful with the slow and fast moving strings swooping around and the fast piano movements underneath. The main theme from the main title is brought back in about four different tracks but all are different versions and I could listen to that theme again and again anyway with just how beautiful it is. But the soundtrack also has it’s darker moments, and yet some how the melody’s remain beautiful although still with that darker feel.

I now hope that John Lunn’s music to Little Dorrit that was on the BBC in 2008 gets a soundtrack release, because the music from that was just as beautiful and is what made me realise what a talented composer he is. He’s definitely on my dream list of composers I want to write music for my films.