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Spitfire Westworld Competition SPINOFF - Composition Discussion, Advice and Examples

Michael Stibor

Senior Member
Please accept my apologies for bringing another submission to the table!
😉
I had great fun doing this, even though it was a challenge to do it without a brief or some kind of dramaturgical guidelines.
To me, due to the lack of engine sounds, the electric cars seemed slow, watching the scene without music, so my main focus was to make the chase seem faster and more exciting.
Ended up with some kind of typical action music, but tried to develop a simple theme, that was hinted throughout the scene and and not completed until the last ”acceleration” sequence.
Let me know your thoughts, and good luck to all participants!
Very good! Definitely one of my favourites. I'm not sure I understand the ending though. From when the motorcycle makes an appearance until the end. It seems triumphant and heroic and then just dissipates to silence. But I'm only mentioning that because you asked for thoughts. Otherwise its great. Very professionally done.
 

CyrilBellem

New Member
Here's my entry (yet another one :))

Any feedback are really welcome (either negative or positive, any advice is good to take!)

 

iggyigoe

New Member
May as well play along too..

Classic lurker here and very new to all this, never scored anything in my life (be kind)

Amazing entries to this, so much talent out there! Well done everyone

Thanks for looking

 

stargazer

Active Member
Very good! Definitely one of my favourites. I'm not sure I understand the ending though. From when the motorcycle makes an appearance until the end. It seems triumphant and heroic and then just dissipates to silence. But I'm only mentioning that because you asked for thoughts. Otherwise its great. Very professionally done.
Thanks a lot for your feedback!
Regarding the ending: I’m not sure either 😉, but it was a challenge to work without a brief on what’s going on.
I felt when I tried to empasize the crash with music/sound it became less powerful, so I let it speak for itself.
Also, I have no idea what is real and what is virtual reality in this scene, or what’s going on in the main character’s head.
I just liked the contrasting melancholic vibe from the strings at the end.
Trying to leave some questions to the viewer, as it seems he’s going through some further ”genre change” as the crashing vehicles lights up his face at the very end.
 

Eptesicus

Senior Member
What I do find a little odd, is that there are some fantastic "different genre" entries, but so many have it from the start, which in my opinion slightly ruins it (in scoring for picture terms)

That doesnt make a lot of sense to me story wise, because it confuses whether your intention is just to score the whole scene with a quirky/different take, or whether you are actively scoring to his drug trip/the scene.

I think its far more effective to make the genre change an actual change as the dialogue literally says "he's changing genres" and a massive big deal is made picture wise of him tripping out.
 

ReDiRoma

New Member
What I do find a little odd, is that there are some fantastic "different genre" entries, but so many have it from the start, which in my opinion slightly ruins it (in scoring for picture terms)

That doesnt make a lot of sense to me story wise, because it confuses whether your intention is just to score the whole scene with a quirky/different take, or whether you are actively scoring to his drug trip/the scene.

I think its far more effective to make the genre change an actual change as the dialogue literally says "he's changing genres" and a massive big deal is made picture wise of him tripping out.
Also, I got a feeling that if the "genre changing" concept should be reflected in the music, then maybe directing-wise it should be also reflected in the movie from that point on.
Whereas if you cut out the tripping sequence I would've never guessed.
 

Michael Stibor

Senior Member
Also, I got a feeling that if the "genre changing" concept should be reflected in the music, then maybe directing-wise it should be also reflected in the movie from that point on.
Whereas if you cut out the tripping sequence I would've never guessed.
That's my train of thought too. In the original clip, the Ride of the Valkyries piece works because its so iconic. We didn't have that luxury, and were (understandably) required to write original music for the scene, therefore, it making it much more difficult to reference a particular film genre.

At the same time, it's not like the visuals really referenced the switch either, short of Jesse making a few googly eyes and head shakes. If the guy hadn't literally said "he's switching genres" it would've been a moot point and in my opinion, still is.
 

Eptesicus

Senior Member
That's my train of thought too. In the original clip, the Ride of the Valkyries piece works because its so iconic. We didn't have that luxury, and were (understandably) required to write original music for the scene, therefore, it making it much more difficult to reference a particular film genre.

At the same time, it's not like the visuals really referenced the switch either, short of Jesse making a few googly eyes and head shakes. If the guy hadn't literally said "he's switching genres" it would've been a moot point and in my opinion, still is.

I'm surprised with this line of thinking (ie that the scene didn't make a big deal of it).

To me it was a massive moment. In the middle of a car chase, it focuses solely on Caleb and then the whole picture is just his face tripping on this drug.

I think if this were a real job and you treated that scene as a "moot point", as you have said, the director would be pretty ****** off.

Ofcourse how and whether they judge this competition as though they were the director is another story.
 

Michael Stibor

Senior Member
I'm surprised with this line of thinking (ie that the scene didn't make a big deal of it).

To me it was a massive moment. In the middle of a car chase, it focuses solely on Caleb and then the whole picture is just his face tripping on this drug.

I think if this were a real job and you treated that scene as a "moot point", as you have said, the director would be pretty ****** off.

I understand that, and agree with you. But in a way that’s my point. It’s not a real job. If it was, I probably would recommend NOT scoring the scene, and instead recommend to use pre-existing music from an iconic genre of film. Like what they did in the the original clip.

In this case, they give you the scene as a blank canvas, with intentionally no instructions. And in the context of what they’ve given us, the genre part means nothing. I’m not saying it can’t, or should’nt be used to the contest contestant’s advantage, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

My first draft went full genre. My favourite film is Amadeus, so I started writing the genre part as a tribute to the film using a more classical approach. It kinda worked. But it was taking a long time, so I went for a more 80s action style. And while I didn’t ignore the genre change, it became less of a focal point.

All this to say, that I‘ve watched a lot of submissions ( like a LOT) and I can’t say that I’ve seen one that used the genre part that I thought was extremely effective. At least, not more or less effective than those that chose not to. There were extremely good ones on both sides. That’s what I’m saying when I say it was a moot point.
 

MatthewVere

Matthew Vere


Hey friends,

I've been composing for a month; this is the second project I've worked on. However, I have made Electronic music for over a decade and drew from this experience when creating the score. My goal was to fuse the Orchestral world with the Electronic one and create something that I thought would reflect this duality.

I participated purely for the experience; you can learn much when a deadline is in place.

Please share any feedback you have both as a viewer and a composer; this is my reason for posting. No need to sugar coat it either, if you think it doesn't work, please say so. I only ask that you explain why so I can learn and improve for future projects.

A couple of other mixes:


MUSIC ONLY MIX:



LOUDER DIALOG MIX:



Thank you.
 

Karl Feuerstake

Senior Member


Hey friends,

I've been composing for a month; this is the second project I've worked on. However, I have made Electronic music for over a decade and drew from this experience when creating the score. My goal was to fuse the Orchestral world with the Electronic one and create something that I thought would reflect this duality.

I participated purely for the experience; you can learn much when a deadline is in place.

Please share any feedback you have both as a viewer and a composer; this is my reason for posting. No need to sugar coat it either, if you think it doesn't work, please say so. I only ask that you explain why so I can learn and improve for future projects.

A couple of other mixes:


MUSIC ONLY MIX:



LOUDER DIALOG MIX:



Thank you.

Your production quality is great and I think for the most part the tone you've gone after works. However I feel the music is too much in the background (and this is not related to volume); it's almost like a 'textural' / atmospheric soundtrack with a bit of a pulse to it.

I would say scrap the Low Brass "braaams". They're super-cliche and I think you can write better than that. There's nothing wrong with writing low, loud notes for the Low Brass, but when you repeat the same note over and over, or never hear another note after it, it's quite boring. It's something from the genre of "trailer music", and trailer music doesn't generally work in actual motion picture as it doesn't tell a story, it just sets up a tone and sustains that for something like only 30 seconds. In this you have 4 minutes of chase sequence with quite a bit of nuance to it, so it should be more interesting.

You also lack any clear melodic lines. There are moments where melodic fragments or even actual themes may work within the video; don't sell yourself short by never having one. They don't have to be too complicated, just some little tune in a higher-pitched voice might've helped breathe some character into the music (and I mean character as in building a relationship between the music and actual characters or motifs on screen.) Melodies are perfect for expressing an idea to the audience, while harmony and rhythm are perfect for setting up the 'tone', or in other words, providing the 'context' of said melody. Popular melodic instruments for an action scene might be French Horns, Violins, sometimes Trumpets; and there are other conventional ones depending on the sub-genre. The melody doesn't have to be elaborate or virtuousic, just something to draw a bit of attention to the music at certain moments.

I shouldn't talk too much out of my ass as I myself used only very minimal melodic writing, but I do like to think I did have one, which I mostly associated with the interior-car scenes. Also, one thing I've learned about the subject of music criticism is that it's easier to be critical then it is to actually go about writing yourself; which is fine, as it means lots of people can provide perfectly valid input without being able to realize such ends themselves. I think this is because everyone knows how to 'listen' to music, and has an understanding of what works and doesn't, but actually translating that into a written score, well, that is the real craft of the art right there.

Hopefully some of this feedback helps. I know the feedback I got about my video definitely opened my eyes up :) If you were curious about what I wrote or even wanted to be critical of mine (I'd be more than happy to get more feedback, and I don't mind the harsh criticisms) this is where I posted my entry:


Cheers and thanks for sharing, and I did actually find your entry entertaining despite my comments :)
 
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quentinkoons

New Member
This one is really different! I like the mix of orchestral/trap. What did you use for the 808/sub/kick? Sounds really good!

I wanted to make it as typical as possible so I used the DJ Spinz 808.

Lol I had trap drums in my entry for whenever the bad guys were on screen, but later removed them to focus only on the orchestra.

Haven't seen any others with them. Great entry!

Thank you! After I saw a lot of orchestral entries I regret a bit that I didn't do more trap

IMO, I suggest listening to Ludwig Göransson's Black Panther score to see how the rather metallic and in-face sound of such trap drum pattern could be smoothed out by some orchestration, and of course ketchup loads of reverb and high-end taming.

I wonder how it would've sounded to you if you solo'ed the track without the video, does it sound too heroic for an action scene? The more vocabulary you have in terms of chromatic writing and modulation the better you are able to confine your cues without getting into the extremes. Very important if you're mostly a melodic composer. Wagner or Bach can help you with that.

Cadences have rather direct emotional impacts. When the car explodes and the chase is over, why not fully resolve it? It might have worked depending on the aftermath if you were scoring the actual show, but this clip pretty much ends there. Bad guys are gone for good. No need for further suspense, we just watched 4mins of suspense didn't we.

Good job and good luck!

Wow, thank you that's really really helpful.
I see your point with the resolving. I will keep it in mind and I will also listen to Göransson, Bach and Wagner!
 

Cheezus

Active Member
I wanted to make it as typical as possible so I used the DJ Spinz 808.



Thank you! After I saw a lot of orchestral entries I regret a bit that I didn't do more trap



Wow, thank you that's really really helpful.
I see your point with the resolving. I will keep it in mind and I will also listen to Göransson, Bach and Wagner!

Check out my favorite example of orchestral trap, Göransson's Moff Gideon Theme from Mandalorian:

 

Dan Silva

New Member
I understand that, and agree with you. But in a way that’s my point. It’s not a real job. If it was, I probably would recommend NOT scoring the scene, and instead recommend to use pre-existing music from an iconic genre of film. Like what they did in the the original clip.

In this case, they give you the scene as a blank canvas, with intentionally no instructions. And in the context of what they’ve given us, the genre part means nothing. I’m not saying it can’t, or should’nt be used to the contest contestant’s advantage, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

My first draft went full genre. My favourite film is Amadeus, so I started writing the genre part as a tribute to the film using a more classical approach. It kinda worked. But it was taking a long time, so I went for a more 80s action style. And while I didn’t ignore the genre change, it became less of a focal point.

All this to say, that I‘ve watched a lot of submissions ( like a LOT) and I can’t say that I’ve seen one that used the genre part that I thought was extremely effective. At least, not more or less effective than those that chose not to. There were extremely good ones on both sides. That’s what I’m saying when I say it was a moot point.

I totally agree with you. I understand why many people chose to go the genre-switching way on their entries, but I felt I needed to focus solely on what the clip showed, so the music could help tell that small story and make sense to anyone who watches the scene, even without a broader knowledge of the show’s plot.

Going in this direction, I thought the clip didn’t even offer much information on why there’s a guy “switching genres” and what the heck does this mean. We don’t have a clue about which genre he is experiencing at the beginning of the clip (it’s noir, if I remember correctly from watching the episode). That’s why I think even the official music sounds odd when you only watch that one scene, though it makes perfect sense in the context of the whole episode.

I chose to let the music acknowledge something is happening when the genre switching occurs, but without trying to imply any meaning to it, just complementing the images. I think my entry ended up a simple attempt on an action score on a dark futuristic context.

Anyway, I already posted my track on the other thread, but here it is as well, if someone still has the patience to listen.

 

ReDiRoma

New Member
That's my train of thought too. In the original clip, the Ride of the Valkyries piece works because its so iconic. We didn't have that luxury, and were (understandably) required to write original music for the scene, therefore, it making it much more difficult to reference a particular film genre.

At the same time, it's not like the visuals really referenced the switch either, short of Jesse making a few googly eyes and head shakes. If the guy hadn't literally said "he's switching genres" it would've been a moot point and in my opinion, still is.
Also ,
not sure if they would blow the level of adrenaline and excitement of an entire massive car chase megascene , by scoring it with a music that doesn't steadily raise your heart rate.
Maybe they would, but it would be a slightly unorthodox choice.
But either way you are expected to make it work, of course.
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
Found this, made by that young prodigy who won the OT competition. Pretty mindblowing that he is only 17.

This is really impressive, even more for a 17yo guy. Probably the best take at a 80’s action

Yet, I feel it’s a bit overscored compared to what happens on the screen.
Close your eyes and listen and you’d expect a hi-energy & hi-tension action cue, not an iPad controlled futuristic golf car chase ;)
Also, the dialog track should be more in front.

This guy’s got a great future in scoring :D
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
It’s the first action scene I scored, and I did rewrite a lot of parts.
I found out that if your music lacks energy or is too static, it’s dragging the pace of movie down.
But if you put too many events and have a very rich score, it’s also dragging the movie down : the music sucks all the air in the room and is too much distracting.
Movie & music have to share the space with harmony, not aggression against eachother.

Also, dialogs are golden : the music shall never get in the way.

What I liked with this video is that the pace is not too quick and the editing leaves some moments for music development. But one might feel carried over and put loud music everywhere.

Actually, scoring to action is a lot about pushing the brake pedal.

That’s how I felt while scoring this, and also when watching a couple of entries.

My 2 cents ;)
 
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