Danny Elfman Masterclass

Sovereign

Senior Member
Two points. Elfman is not unmockupable (is that a word? :laugh:). Second, reading this thread I still don't have a clue if this course is actually worthwhile. Anyone take it yet?
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I purchased a couple of classes when they first started - Hans Zimmer and Aaron Sorkin. Both were outstanding. Hans is providing guidance at least one layer up from what I expected, but I found it both interesting and valuable. What it lacked in mechanics (how to get this sound, how to write a melody, etc) it more than made up for when it came to approaching a project, and writing to the story.

Mr. Sorkin's class was even better (and I'm not a writer). Ok, maybe I like it because I am not a writer?

I've toyed with the subscription or maybe just purchasing a couple other classes, specifically Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, and Tom Morello. And as I am involved in theatre, a number of the writing and acting workshops are also interesting, or could be.

Along comes Danny Elfman... I think I very well may get the subscription after the holidays and binge on musicians. They really do have a fantastic spectrum of presenters.
 

Land of Missing Parts

flibbertigibbet
Two points. Elfman is not unmockupable (is that a word? :laugh:). Second, reading this thread I still don't have a clue if this course is actually worthwhile. Anyone take it yet?
Love your Spiderman mockup.

And @whitewasteland 's Goosebumps

:)

Regarding the masterclass--If the price is ~$90, I'll probably instead opt to buy the Batman Returns Full Orchestral Score from Omni Music Publishing for that price.

I've recently been spending time with the original Batman score from Omni and getting a lot out of it. If the price is closer to $20, I'll check out the video though.
 
Last edited:

jneebz

Senior Member
Are samples preferred over the best live orchestras? Probably not. Are samples preferred over a mediocre/bad live orchestra? Probably.

If you don't have much money and you want an orchestral sound you're probably better off with samples.

Regarding the value of the class, I'd say temper your expectations. These kinds of things tend to be interesting but not really informative. I've watched a bunch of the Masterclass series and I've not gotten anything that's of tremendous value. But they're interesting insights into the minds of the instructors.

So think of them less as a class and more as an extended interview or documentary.

rgames
Well said, I couldn’t agree more. “Masterclass” is the wrong description for these.
 

KallumS

Active Member
Two points. Elfman is not unmockupable (is that a word? :laugh:). Second, reading this thread I still don't have a clue if this course is actually worthwhile. Anyone take it yet?
I'm on the 4th video and have learned a few things - definitely worth it for the £19.99 monthly fee. Not sure yet if it's worth the £99 perpetual cost.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
No, you will have to buy the pro membership. The John Powell masterclass is excellent. It is very on point and I think he structured it all really well, showing just one sequence, instead of just talking about most things. I felt that it was a fantastic way to spend 90 minutes of my time.

I hope that you will find it interesting and inspiring as well.
John Powell Masterclass? Where is that then? On Masterclass.com? Amazing if so!
 

NoamL

Winter <3
I'm sorry but I really don't get this "you can't mockup his scores" thing. A mockup is a mockup, and the real thing is the real thing. So what ? In that case, are there anybody's scores out there you CAN mockup ?
I agree. There's two things that would make a piece of music difficult to mockup:

1. The composer is using lots of completely original sounds created by synthesis, or extended/novel instrument techniques, or unique custommade/altered acoustic instruments, or passing recordings through highly custom audio processing. Some examples that immediately spring to mind are Thomas Newman, Johann Johannsson, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Mick Gordon, and somewhat Hans Zimmer. Some of the scores by these composers are quite difficult to imitate much less replicate because you would have to rebuild their instrumental/sound palette from the ground up.

2. The composer is giving the orchestra a true workout and pushing his music far beyond the "legatos and shorts" / "copy regions" paradigm of sampling. This not only risks exposing all the flaws in samples, no matter how good your samples are, but it also just creates more sheer work to perform a sample-based copy of the music as every measure is unique. Any composer who comes from conservatory training or a classical orientation such as John Williams, John Powell, Patrick Doyle, Henry Jackman, Alexandre Desplat (I don't mean to offend anyone by omissions - this list could go on for a while) often writes this sort of music, and this also includes an enormous amount of the music from composers of the "classical canon".
 
Last edited:

Mike Fox

Senior Member
I've never done a mockup. How do you guys do it? By ear? By sheet music? Both?

What do you guys recommend for a first Elfman mockup? I was thinking Tales from the Crypt.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
Both. There are various places to get scores legally but of course not all cues are published so that's where transcription comes in. But mocking up a piece from a score is much more educational, you get to see what instructions & guidance the composer decided to put in their score.

The overture (& suite?) from DE's Spider-Man scores is published, you might try that! @Sovereign did a nice mockup of it here - https://vi-control.net/community/threads/spiderman-elfman-mockup.81122/
 

KallumS

Active Member
One thing that struck me while watching the Masterclass is that Danny mentioned that a small movie music budget is $10 million and under. Yes, he advocates for using an orchestra at all times, but of course you would go with this at that price point.

Personally I wouldn't feel bad about providing a score made from sample libraries for films with a budget of a few hundred to a few thousand $s.
 

ka00

Senior Member
One thing that struck me while watching the Masterclass is that Danny mentioned that a small movie music budget is $10 million and under.
I haven’t gotten to that part yet. Do you think he meant the “small movie” itself had a $10M or under budget?
 

KallumS

Active Member
I haven’t gotten to that part yet. Do you think he meant the “small movie” itself had a $10M or under budget?

I'll have to watch the part again but from memory his wording was something along the lines of "if a movie has a small budget, which is a budget of $10 million or less"
 

hbjdk

New Member
In the end where he says "I'm Danny Elfman and this is my master class", I felt like I was watching Jack Nicholson in The Shining :)

There's just something creepy about the way he looks into the camera and the way he speaks there!
 

Greg

Senior Member
Great class! Just be aware that its more like an interview / lecture. Not any daw or composing action like Junkie xl does. I wish they would go that route but I understand that it would be a lot more involved and probably more expensive.

I still think there is a big market for that hands on content. I would pay a lot more to be able to see over his shoulder while making mockups and exploring ideas for 12 hours. Mix with the Masters does that with the mixing guys like Alan Meyerson. Most of their stuff is screem sharing and hands on mixing.
 
Danny's class really hit me hard as an inspiration - that's partly because of where I am in my life and career, at kind of a crossroads. At times when he was speaking about his skillset (playing by ear, not being classically trained, etc) I felt like it could be me he's describing. 20 years after writing music for student films in college, lamenting the fact that I didn't keep it up, instead pursing a job as a sound editor in LA.

For those of you who are already getting paid gigs as a composer, it's probably less inspirational and lacking some of the practical stuff you see in JunkieXL's vids. But for someone like me, this class really spoke to me and has inspired me to get out there and find some stuff to score so that maybe someone other than my wife can hear my stuff.