No, you absolutely can and it doesn't have to sound "terrible" by comparison. I'm sorry, but this is a cope.No, you cannot mock up most of his scores. Pretty much like any other top composer who is writing even mildly complex orchestral music.
No, it has a lot to do with rich people in Hollywood.it’s nothing to do with rich people in Hollywood.
While I have nothing against them, you really are over-playing the "sophistication" of their music.A typical epic piece of music with constant fast motion, very less lyrical lines, burried in thick sounds and short flutters of brass work can be done.
However, when we speak of Danny Elfman or Thomas Newman, they are artists who deliver something deserving of the 1%.Not only is their music inventive, it is sophisticated, nuanced, complicated or simple but developed very much keeping a real orchestra in mind.They compose very differently in critical ways.
If you have recordings of all the types of articulations, ornaments/mordents, etc. that you need to mock up a given phrase, then it is possible to make a mock up which will sound good and probably fool the majority of the audience.
The question really isn't about how "good" or "real" samples can sound, it's more about what we ought to place value on. We ought to value human performances over machines'.
However, the reality is, most people watching Elfman's course (at least where the orchestra is concerned) will never get to have their music played by a full ensemble in a hall or scoring stage. At best, most will be able to hire one or two live players to overdub the samples.
I'm friends with a number of professional film composers, I've studied with and learned from them, kinda worked as an assistant etc. and I know guys who've scored successful films for 30 years, won awards, make-a-living at this etc. and have never recorded a live orchestra.
So no, Danny Eflman's advice here is out-of-touch. Using samples is totally valid.
As a final note, and some might see this as nihilistic though that's not how I see it: I don't really think it matters in most movies and video games if the music is live or not. The effects are fake, the stories are so often cookie-cutter, the characters are fake, the backgrounds are fake, the creatures are fake, the sets are fake, and so on — but the music has to be real? How many enduring films and games from the 80s and 90s using synths or primitive samplers disprove that? At the end of the time, most of these things are just consumer products meant to provide an evening's entertainment to make more Hollywood suits even richer.
The only reason I would ever shell out money for live players on these types of projects (but it's very rare you'll ever be given a budget today) is for my own artistic satisfaction and to save myself all that time spent in front a screen creating mockups