Post-Production : When DO you start thinking about music in your project? by Amy Balcomb

Amy Balcomb

When DO you start thinking about music in your project?

Is it an imperceivable moment early on when writing the screenplay? Is it when typing the script or fleshing out a character’s motives? When DOES a musical element appear in the consciousness of those creatively involved in a project whose role ISN’T the composer? Does it happen? For me, as a composer still learning ones craft and trying to build relationships with those whom I could potentially collaborate with, musical inspiration comes every day. And I don’t have to be working on a project to feel the spark of inspiration either. Walking the dog, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve needed to grab my phone and hum into it for a moment to try and capture what is playing in my head. I’ll probably speak the instrumentation, perhaps adding a second hummed line to represent a bass line or harmonic progression. If we’re very lucky, we’re brought into a project early and the script can start to reveal audible secrets just waiting to be told. Sometimes as whispers, a storyline or character starts a ball in motion, a process, that offers up something musical. Otherwise the visuals of a scene inspire. Initially it can be a feeling, an emotion. Other times it will be a pace and speed. But composing original music is always to me a gift from some place that I can never fathom.

Joe Compton

I usually have an idea of what direction or at least the genre or mood I want to convey right from the process of writing the script. If I am producing or directing other materials I am thinking about it as I create a shot list or stroryboard. At least where I think music might be important.

Sam Chambliss

I’m a little late to the party, but I can offer my input as a recent short film writer/director: we had a concept for the film down early (Sci-fi action), and as we got into storyboarding we were thinking of tone and pacing, and the type of music. But it wasn’t until we got to the edit that we really locked down how we wanted the score to sound. And even then we worked with our composer to adjust the way things flowed. So in the broad sense we definitely had ideas of what type of music we wanted, but it wasn’t until the edit when we really locked down our style. I hope that helps!

Amy Balcomb

Thanks for your thoughts Sam. That’s really interesting that you got some very early ideas. I guess pacing the footage at editing naturally suggests rhythm and leads to music.

Doug Nelson

When I start writing te script/story.

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