My first time scoring to picture #SpitfireWestworldCompetition

fedelecuo

New Member
Hi! This is the first time that i compose a piece for a film scene.

I will really apreaciate if you watch my entry for the Spitfire & HBO westworld competition and give me your opinion

Thank you!
if you also are participating in this competition, feel free to show me your entry, i will love to hear your music

 

José Herring

Senior Member
I think that Bernard Herrmann said it best when he said that film music is two things. I paraphrase. First there's the music working dramatically with the picture, then there's the music. You can have bad music that works dramatically and it will pass. You can have good music that works dramatically and that's really special near genius. But, you can never have good music that doesn't work dramatically.

I wish I could pinpoint the things that I think aren't working but it's too sporadic, and I guess that's part of the problem that is distracting which is another kiss of death in scoring. Music that is too distracting. Sometimes I'm digging the music, sometimes I'm digging the dramatic aspect. Then at times both are out, you miss some key turning points, then the music gets distracting and pulls the audience out of the scene.

Far, too much focus is put on the music of this or that film/tv/game composer. Not enough attention is put on how that music works.

The original composer (I won't even try and spell his name) of this series is a great example. I contemplated doing this competition so I watched season one. I ultimately decide not to the competition because I'm not interested really in the prize. Too many others are doing it, but most importantly I just didn't jive well with the show. That last part if somebody was paying me I would definitely find a way to jive with the show and it would be the best show ever in my mind, but since nobody was paying me, I just couldn't get motivated enough to find something to really like about it. But, the original composer is a great example. There's nothing in what I've heard so far that I would consider stellar. I know that he is capable of it. I loved his score to that "release the Kraken" movie remake (forget the name). And, I've heard bits and pieces of some of his other work. He's a good composer.

But, people miss the point. I hear so many people talk about how amazing his music is. I'll not debate that, what people don't talk about is how well his music actually works. HE'S A GREAT SCORE COMPOSER!!!! Same with so many that got started at RC. Lorne Balf is a great score composer. People debate endlessly about whether he is a good composer. I happen to think he is a great composer. I would hear his stuff over at RC when he was HZ right hand man and I use to quip that it sounded more like HZ than HZ. He is that good. And, he's come into his own in the 10 years hence. I new he would. He would slave over for days the same area of score until it was sounding perfect. Perfect music and perfectly working too picture. I was a fly on the wall so nobody noticed me, but I took in a lot of what some really great film composers were doing. They usually didn't have enough theoretical knowledge of music to pass music theory 101, but they had a practical sense. The music just worked. Music wasn't sacred. If it didn't work, you tossed it or worked it until it did work. No excuses.

All that to belabor a point. Pay attention to how your music is working to picture. Write your music literally one beat at a time. As soon as one note doesn't fit the scene find something else. To do this you need to find what director Sydney Lumet called "the spine" of the story. What is this show really about. I never made it past season 1 but it seems to me like the robots are becoming sentient and are fighting for their right to survive out of the rat race appropriate called The Maze (but I haven't gotten to that episode yet. There's none of that drama in your music. At first I thought you were just trying to score the action but then it doesn't really do that well either. Then I thought you were just laying down a beat and kind of hoping it worked throughout but then you abandoned that idea too.

I'm not saying this to be harsh but rather because it's your first time scoring. Some people take to scoring like a fish to water. I heard HZ first solo film score and JESUUS.... say what you want about his music but he had a dramatic sense straight from the get go. The rest of us have to work at it. It takes time to develop a dramatic sense.

Yes you have to score the action and the editing, but what is each scene and cut really about? How does it forward the story? How is each scene meaningful to the overall spine of the story. She's not just running and battling the cops, but why is she running from and battling the cops. Is she resolved? Are they frightened? What kind of music is going to hit you in the gut and pull the audience into the story, ect?

Long winded way of saying, go back through it and find what is working and what isn't working. Have no ego and be honest with yourself. Expand on the music that is working. It can be trial and error. Ditch the shit that isn't working no matter how married you are to the music (another topic of discussion). It may be the baddest ass synth sound you've ever created but if it doesn't fit the picture. Ditch it.

One thing I noticed since going online 15 years ago (yes I was late to the party) and realizing there were composers around the word who could really write music. I have yet to hear few that can actually score well. It's startling because before going online I just assumed that if you were a composer in this modern age you spent most of your time writing to picture. I was wrong. Millions of good composers in the world. Maybe only a 1000 that can really score and of that maybe 100 that are good enough to score a film and of that maybe 50 at any given time that are working. It's a bleak scene. I think I'm depressing myself. Luckily enough for the rest of us, only about 20 are really stable. The other 30 change faster than a baby changes diapers. Even the big boys are dissapearing these days. Strange times.

All this to say, that scoring to picture for some reason doesn't come naturally to most composers. Maybe it's that they are too focused on the music and not enough focused on what the music is actually doing in the picture. Probably holds true. I've worked with new composers in the past. Probably the biggest thing I've noticed is that people that compose are good enough composers to make it but they aren't good enough at scoring to even pass the first round of a trail which unfortunately is all too common these days.

Take the short string ostinato that was is so popular in scoring. It's annoying that I see composers talking endlessly about it's musical worthiness. That's not the point. The point being that IT WORKS. Then you make it as musical as possible. First time I heard it in Batman I though WOW!!!! That something so simple could work that well and yet nobody thought of it really. It's a motor that provides motion and all by itself can glue a scene together for minutes and not be that boring. It was the answer to me fighting with directors for years that just wanted a steady repeated note under a scene.

And, if you've made it this far, it probably has dawned on you around paragraph five that I'm mostly writing this for me. I'm about to head back into scoring after a few years of being absent because with this pandemic shutdown there will probably be opening as people bail and this time, I'm taking it it to the top and the above are the reasons why I haven't gotten their yet.

Best of luck to us all.
 

snattack

Senior Member
Hi! This is the first time that i compose a piece for a film scene.

I will really apreaciate if you watch my entry for the Spitfire & HBO westworld competition and give me your opinion

Thank you!
if you also are participating in this competition, feel free to show me your entry, i will love to hear your music

I'm also scoring in the competition, and I'm not a AAA-composer in any way, so there will probably be plenty of complaints of my entry :)

Anyway: I find the biggest part of the job is trying to find the natural "rhythm" of the editing, and nailing hitpoints out of that. In your version, it seems that the music is in many ways living it's own life, and doesn't really take the drama into account.

One example is 00:33 where the music goes down in dynamics too early, before they are inside the car.

I don't have time writing all feedback, but that was the first thing that came to mind.
 

Yogevs

Active Member
Feels like this should have been posted into one of the two HUGE posts dedicated to this competition instead of creating a new thread :)
 

Rasoul Morteza

Universal Scoring
I think that Bernard Herrmann said it best when he said that film music is two things. I paraphrase. First there's the music working dramatically with the picture, then there's the music. You can have bad music that works dramatically and it will pass. You can have good music that works dramatically and that's really special near genius. But, you can never have good music that doesn't work dramatically.

I wish I could pinpoint the things that I think aren't working but it's too sporadic, and I guess that's part of the problem that is distracting which is another kiss of death in scoring. Music that is too distracting. Sometimes I'm digging the music, sometimes I'm digging the dramatic aspect. Then at times both are out, you miss some key turning points, then the music gets distracting and pulls the audience out of the scene.

Far, too much focus is put on the music of this or that film/tv/game composer. Not enough attention is put on how that music works.

The original composer (I won't even try and spell his name) of this series is a great example. I contemplated doing this competition so I watched season one. I ultimately decide not to the competition because I'm not interested really in the prize. Too many others are doing it, but most importantly I just didn't jive well with the show. That last part if somebody was paying me I would definitely find a way to jive with the show and it would be the best show ever in my mind, but since nobody was paying me, I just couldn't get motivated enough to find something to really like about it. But, the original composer is a great example. There's nothing in what I've heard so far that I would consider stellar. I know that he is capable of it. I loved his score to that "release the Kraken" movie remake (forget the name). And, I've heard bits and pieces of some of his other work. He's a good composer.

But, people miss the point. I hear so many people talk about how amazing his music is. I'll not debate that, what people don't talk about is how well his music actually works. HE'S A GREAT SCORE COMPOSER!!!! Same with so many that got started at RC. Lorne Balf is a great score composer. People debate endlessly about whether he is a good composer. I happen to think he is a great composer. I would hear his stuff over at RC when he was HZ right hand man and I use to quip that it sounded more like HZ than HZ. He is that good. And, he's come into his own in the 10 years hence. I new he would. He would slave over for days the same area of score until it was sounding perfect. Perfect music and perfectly working too picture. I was a fly on the wall so nobody noticed me, but I took in a lot of what some really great film composers were doing. They usually didn't have enough theoretical knowledge of music to pass music theory 101, but they had a practical sense. The music just worked. Music wasn't sacred. If it didn't work, you tossed it or worked it until it did work. No excuses.

All that to belabor a point. Pay attention to how your music is working to picture. Write your music literally one beat at a time. As soon as one note doesn't fit the scene find something else. To do this you need to find what director Sydney Lumet called "the spine" of the story. What is this show really about. I never made it past season 1 but it seems to me like the robots are becoming sentient and are fighting for their right to survive out of the rat race appropriate called The Maze (but I haven't gotten to that episode yet. There's none of that drama in your music. At first I thought you were just trying to score the action but then it doesn't really do that well either. Then I thought you were just laying down a beat and kind of hoping it worked throughout but then you abandoned that idea too.

I'm not saying this to be harsh but rather because it's your first time scoring. Some people take to scoring like a fish to water. I heard HZ first solo film score and JESUUS.... say what you want about his music but he had a dramatic sense straight from the get go. The rest of us have to work at it. It takes time to develop a dramatic sense.

Yes you have to score the action and the editing, but what is each scene and cut really about? How does it forward the story? How is each scene meaningful to the overall spine of the story. She's not just running and battling the cops, but why is she running from and battling the cops. Is she resolved? Are they frightened? What kind of music is going to hit you in the gut and pull the audience into the story, ect?

Long winded way of saying, go back through it and find what is working and what isn't working. Have no ego and be honest with yourself. Expand on the music that is working. It can be trial and error. Ditch the shit that isn't working no matter how married you are to the music (another topic of discussion). It may be the baddest ass synth sound you've ever created but if it doesn't fit the picture. Ditch it.

One thing I noticed since going online 15 years ago (yes I was late to the party) and realizing there were composers around the word who could really write music. I have yet to hear few that can actually score well. It's startling because before going online I just assumed that if you were a composer in this modern age you spent most of your time writing to picture. I was wrong. Millions of good composers in the world. Maybe only a 1000 that can really score and of that maybe 100 that are good enough to score a film and of that maybe 50 at any given time that are working. It's a bleak scene. I think I'm depressing myself. Luckily enough for the rest of us, only about 20 are really stable. The other 30 change faster than a baby changes diapers. Even the big boys are dissapearing these days. Strange times.

All this to say, that scoring to picture for some reason doesn't come naturally to most composers. Maybe it's that they are too focused on the music and not enough focused on what the music is actually doing in the picture. Probably holds true. I've worked with new composers in the past. Probably the biggest thing I've noticed is that people that compose are good enough composers to make it but they aren't good enough at scoring to even pass the first round of a trail which unfortunately is all too common these days.

Take the short string ostinato that was is so popular in scoring. It's annoying that I see composers talking endlessly about it's musical worthiness. That's not the point. The point being that IT WORKS. Then you make it as musical as possible. First time I heard it in Batman I though WOW!!!! That something so simple could work that well and yet nobody thought of it really. It's a motor that provides motion and all by itself can glue a scene together for minutes and not be that boring. It was the answer to me fighting with directors for years that just wanted a steady repeated note under a scene.

And, if you've made it this far, it probably has dawned on you around paragraph five that I'm mostly writing this for me. I'm about to head back into scoring after a few years of being absent because with this pandemic shutdown there will probably be opening as people bail and this time, I'm taking it it to the top and the above are the reasons why I haven't gotten their yet.

Best of luck to us all.
Thank you for putting time into your feedback, interesting read, and I totally agree with the scoring philosophy upon which you expanded.

Actually if you've got time I'd like to know your opinion about my own entry, go very harsh please, shake the entire foundation for me: If it's disgusting say so.

Although I find it important to note that I scored the scene on its own, without its original story context as I haven't watched the show yet.

Cheers!
 

José Herring

Senior Member
Thank you for putting time into your feedback, interesting read, and I totally agree with the scoring philosophy upon which you expanded.

Actually if you've got time I'd like to know your opinion about my own entry, go very harsh please, shake the entire foundation for me: If it's disgusting say so.

Although I find it important to note that I scored the scene on its own, without its original story context as I haven't watched the show yet.

Cheers!
Not disgusted. Needs a lot of work imo. And, it's only my opinion.
Here are some notes that I took while watching the scene. Times are just approximate because by the time I hear it 5 seconds have usually passed:

Starts off nice mysteriouso mood.
:08 Misses hit point shooting starts no increase of intensity of music. No play to the emotion
:14 good suspense build up.
:20 Too much attention paid to temp track which wasn't working. Kind of corny melody but also kind of works. Needs to be developed into something.

:39 During change keeps up nice tension with strings while playing to the dude trippin' in car.
:55 Nice idea. Drumset Cheezy. Needs to be more modern drums electronic or processed too old school sounding. Even big drums to add dramatic weight.
1:24 Keeps beat going even after strings cut out. Distracting. Also, beat exposed. Still cheezy
1:39 Lost it. Steady on melody that doesn't work for the scene misses change at "that's not standard issue.." Nice writing too much attention paid to the notes and not enough to how they work with the scene.

1:55 Nice change
2:00 Nice build, but then goes back to cheezy drum set sound to drive the scene keeps it going forever sounds like he's got no idea what to do next to keep interest in the scene. Good string writing but killed by that drumset pattern.

2:35 score works great here right mood and good writing. Kind of suspenseful but killed by that damn drumset that hasn't gone anywhere and is headed nowhere.

3:14 Nice change, misses the bike doing a heroic act. Misses the point of the story which is these machines are sentient and fighting for their lives. It is just a motorcycle it's a person sacrificing himself so that his people can survive.

Over all there was a lot of nice stuff. Keeping the disco beat for as long as you did and not doing something with that fairly plain drumset would probably get tossed out.

Overall the music at all times needs to tell the story and every instrument plays its roll. The hit points wouldn't even be that important if the music itself is telling a story. You could miss them all practically but you have to get the right moods. The machines are feeling, thinking people. What are they thinking? It's not enough to just hit the action but what's the psychology behind the actions? When the bomb hits the car, why is that important? What victory was gained? When the bike hits the SUV, why was that sacrifice meaningful?

You're a decent enough composer. Even have some good dramatic ideas. But, you played to the surface without playing to the subtext. This show is all about subtext. These robots were brutally murder over and over and over again for decades then they start to realize the bad state that they are in, get conscious and fight back. Too bad you didn't at least see the first season. It would have changed your approach considerably.
 
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Rasoul Morteza

Universal Scoring
Not disgusted. Needs a lot of work imo. And, it's only my opinion.
Here are some notes that I took while watching the scene. Times are just approximate because by the time I hear it 5 seconds have usually passed:

Starts off nice mysteriouso mood.
:08 Misses hit point shooting starts no increase of intensity of music. No play to the emotion
:14 good suspense build up.
:20 Too much attention paid to temp track which wasn't working. Kind of corny melody but also kind of works. Needs to be developed into something.

:39 During change keeps up nice tension with strings while playing to the dude trippin' in car.
:55 Nice idea. Drumset Cheezy. Needs to be more modern drums electronic or processed too old school sounding. Even big drums to add dramatic weight.
1:24 Keeps beat going even after strings cut out. Distracting. Also, beat exposed. Still cheezy
1:39 Lost it. Steady on melody that doesn't work for the scene misses change at "that's not standard issue.." Nice writing too much attention paid to the notes and not enough to how they work with the scene.

1:55 Nice change
2:00 Nice build, but then goes back to cheezy drum set sound to drive the scene keeps it going forever sounds like he's got no idea what to do next to keep interest in the scene. Good string writing but killed by that drumset pattern.

2:35 score works great here right mood and good writing. Kind of suspenseful but killed by that damn drumset that hasn't gone anywhere and is headed nowhere.

3:14 Nice change, misses the bike doing a heroic act. Misses the point of the story which is these machines are sentient and fighting for their lives. It is just a motorcycle it's a person sacrificing himself so that his people can survive.

Over all there was a lot of nice stuff. Keeping the disco beat for as long as you did and not doing something with that fairly plain drumset would probably get tossed out.

Overall the music at all times needs to tell the story and every instrument plays its roll. The hit points wouldn't even be that important if the music itself is telling a story. You could miss them all practically but you have to get the right moods. The machines are feeling, thinking people. What are they thinking? It's not enough to just hit the action but what's the psychology behind the actions? When the bomb hits the car, why is that important? What victory was gained? When the bike hits the SUV, why was that sacrifice meaningful?

You're a decent enough composer. Even have some good dramatic ideas. But, you played to the surface without playing to the subtext. This show is all about subtext. These robots were brutally murder over and over and over again for decades then they start to realize the bad state that they are in, get conscious and fight back. Too bad you didn't at least see the first season. It would have changed your approach considerably.
Thanks very much, great read. Just sharing my thought process.

It's funny that you mentioned the drum pattern, because even after submitting the track I kinda felt that meme run through, you know what I'm talking about: snare sounds like shit.

Although I never considered the drum pattern itself to be a problem but it may be a bit oldschool as you said, maybe. I tried adding in some big modern scoring perc but the texture never sat in hence why I avoided it altogether (more or less my own lack of mixing skills I guess). Kept the disco groove to maintain some sense of movement, however, snare sounds like shit again.

I'll be honest I have little idea what that standard issue thing is all about. I should've looked into it though as it seems important. I kinda agree that my score is a bit superficial but that's mostly because I don't know what's going on storywise, obviously no excuse in a real gig. I went the orchestral route because for some weird reason I thought that's JJ's style! Don't ask why...

Cheers
 

Phil0

New Member
Hi! This is the first time that i compose a piece for a film scene.

I will really apreaciate if you watch my entry for the Spitfire & HBO westworld competition and give me your opinion

Thank you!
if you also are participating in this competition, feel free to show me your entry, i will love to hear your music

Congratulations I think that's really well done. Good tension and hit-points. I think mine is similar in approach to yours.

Rasoul, yours was also very good. My only criticism as you asked - I think it lost a bit of its intensity towards the end, particularly as the missile is fired. It started really well for me though.

This has been lots of fun. I really hope we get the chance to do another one.

Happy to hear any opinions on mine.

 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
I'll be honest I have little idea what that standard issue thing is all about. I should've looked into it though as it seems important.
There is nothing deep going on with what she says. Caleb is tripping his tits off and she is making a huge amount of fuss getting what appears to Caleb, at first, to be a standard Grenade launcher ready. He's an ex-soldier so he asks, "Is that standard issue?" She gives a confident smile and says, "No. It's not". She says that both to reply to Caleb but also tell the audience that something "special" might be in stall for them. Turns out it's a remote controlled grenade launcher. Her confident smile is a curious one. On one hand it feels like she is weirdly in control of the whole situation (she is really). On the other hand, it is showing that Delores is possibly sentient and actually just being smug like an excited human being would be when they are about to share their amazing toys... Such as a Remote Controlled Grenade Launcher. I share mine all the time and can never control my smugness. :laugh:

Of course, this is only how I read this story beat. Perhaps I'm wrong but I've watched all 3 seasons many times and it's not a reference for anything else in the show.
 

Rasoul Morteza

Universal Scoring
Thank you for the feedback everyone. I also couldn't help myself but upload a remastered version where I processed the drums more and general dialogue/music balancing, based on some of what you said.