Upcoming documentary ‘Score’ explores the minds of film composers
“Score: A Film Music Documentary” has surpassed its Indiegogo fundraising goal. The film explores the power of film and TV music as an art form and delves into the creative and technical process of scoring a movie to create an emotional response in audiences.
Over 50 people — from composers to directors to film critics — have been interviewed for “Score,” which sets out to be the first feature-length documentary about film scores. Among the participants in the project are Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Danny Elfman, “Battlestar Galactica” composer Bear McCreary and “The Social Network” duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Fans of those composers gave the doc an overwhelming response in its fundraising campaign. After last year’s successful Kickstarter campaign in March, the current Indiegogo campaign that’s raising final funds for the film has taken in over $57,000, well surpassing its $30,000 goal. Film score geeks can see the movie when it’s released on DVD and streaming platforms in an expected April 2016 release.
The documentary’s director and executive producer, Matt Schrader, was inspired to make “Score” after watching DVD featurettes about film scores. “Those are such cool peeks at what happens in crafting a sound, but they always leave you wondering, ‘How did they make that weird musical sound?’” Schrader said.
HitFix told you a bit about “Score” last month when we debuted the first clip from the film. As the Indiegogo campaign wraps up (if you want those perks, you still have a chance to contribute through tomorrow, Saturday), we wanted to share with you some more of what Schrader told us about what he’s learned about film scoring while making his documentary:
Schrader on how film composers differ from other music-writers:
“Film composers are a completely different breed than a typical kind of symphony composer. The big difference is that film composers have to collaborate with people, and they have to be good at that. We aren’t seeing somebody writing some simple melody on a sheet of paper in a room by themselves. We’re seeing someone talking with his people on his team about why a certain note should go a certain way because it makes us feel something different. And that’s such an interesting dynamic that they worry about every single note that's in the score because they understand that it affects us.”
Photo credit: Epicleff Media
On Hans Zimmer:
“Hans Zimmer has risen to be arguably the most influential composer of our modern era. That doesn't come from any formal training. He told us he’s had two weeks of piano lessons in his entire life, and he hated those. That’s part of the thing with a lot of these [modern composers] — they typically don’t respond the same way to musical instruction that most people do. A lot of them have their own ideas and they say, ‘Well wait a second, why does it have to be that way?’”
On “Battlestar Galactica” composer Bear McCreary:
“He has kind of a different approach than some of the other composers we’ve talked to in that he is also extremely intellectual about the way he wants to structure music. It’s not just about refining kind of an emotional sophistication in a score. It’s not just something that’s meant to make you feel, but there’s an extra element to that too. One of the things he’s now been praised for is his theme for ‘Da Vinci's Demons.’ He wrote a theme that plays [the same melody] forwards and backwards in the same way that Da Vinci could write forwards and backwards. He told us about how much time it took him to try to get it down. He got it most of the way there, and then it took him forever to figure out the rest of it. That kind of approach is rare, but when it works, it’s just really, really cool.”
Photo credit: Epicleff Media
On a new generation of composers who aren’t classically trained — or often trained at all — in music:
“It’s very natural that each generation starts to get a grasp of how to create things with the technology of the day. Hans Zimmer told us that he views his computer as his own instrument, and he says he’s really good at playing it. There’s a generation that grew up that had access to new tools that could create music without having to hold a violin in your hands. That allows a lot of composers to teach themselves. It’s something that's really pushed forward the industry.”
For more about “Score” — including what’s up with the mysterious track of music at the end of the documentary’s trailer — check out HitFix’s earlier post about the film.