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Thread: A film scene I scored music to for a competition

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    Default A film scene I scored music to for a competition

    Hi all,

    Perhaps this is not suitable music for this group as this is film music and it's not composed in a 'classical' manner at all. Then again I've seen posts promoting other than classical music here before, so I'll go ahead:

    My side job for some years has been scoring music for films, ads and other medias. Every now and then I take part in scoring competitions, as in them one often gets to practice scoring for big Hollywood productions one otherwise couldn't, and get feedback from peers and professionals.

    This one was made for Sptifire Audio's and HBO's Westworld Scoring Competition.

    For my submission I went after a cold, high intensity sound a bit in the vein of Brad Fiedels work in Terminator 2. To create the track, I used analogue synthesizers (mainly Moog Minitaur but a bit of Korg Poly-800 as well), 80's drum machines (Roland TR-505 & Yamaha RX7) and a tiny bit of orchestral samples (VSL).

    I don't think it will bring me the main prize but I'm fairly satisfied with the outcome. I don't have that much experience in scoring action sequences as the films I get to work in my country are of much smaller budget and mainly dramas (of which I enjoy scoring very much).

    Tell me what you think!


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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    The score is good, and I think I recognized Jesse from Breaking Bad.

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    Thanks Bulldog! Yeah, it seems to be him , Breaking bad is amazing! I never watched Westworld but will probably do that in the near future as I quite like this scene.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    That was entertaining. I feel the riff like around 2:50 is too typical of these 90's Hong Kong action thrillers I used to watch. A bit dated, and more for low budget. But for TV it works. Something a bit more onimous that comes to mind is this part of Ex Machina, around the 5:00 mark, although it's less frenetic. It was a soundtrack that really knocked me over watching the movie.

    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Thanks Phil! I'll check that ex_machina reference tomorrow! I should actually finally watch the full film, I've heard a lot of good things about it.

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    it looks like our career paths mirror each other pkoi...
    If I had one criticism of the cue - and it is only a subjective one, so not important to you really - it'd be the lack of interest due to a paucity of top lines. As you know, snippets of theme, or melodic interest can be used to spot actions, small or large and also help ramp up tension with longer phrases that build. I just felt the whole thing was flat in intensity and too much of a bed rather than aiding in the drama a little more.
    Just the odd, well chosen phrase here and there scored higher in the audio would help enormously I feel and one could develop the idea into climactic moments too. I know you are atonal at heart, so I'd suggest some outlandish (orchestral? strings?) contemporary riffs - short, but edgy and disturbing where appropriate.
    Just my subjective take on it pkoi. As you know, there are a trillion ways to do it and even more opinions on what is right and wrong, but only two matter, yours and the directors.
    Good luck with it.
    Last edited by mikeh375; May-23-2020 at 09:48.

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    Yeah, I can see what you mean with the ex machina. It's certainly more ominous than mine, and it sounds great! For the westworld-clip it would have been too dark and slow, I think. That whole Ex_machina-track is an interesting mixture of different styles. It starts off with a Jean Michael Jarre'ish late 70s synth music intro, then goes into some kind of guitar-ambient and eventually evolves into the dark synth sequencer-part you mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeh375 View Post
    it looks like our career paths mirror each other pkoi...
    If I had one criticism of the cue - and it is only a subjective one, so not important to you really - it'd be the lack of interest due to a paucity of top lines. As you know, snippets of theme, or melodic interest can be used to spot actions, small or large and also help ramp up tension with longer phrases that build. I just felt the whole thing was flat in intensity and too much of a bed rather than aiding in the drama a little more.
    Just the odd, well chosen phrase here and there scored higher in the audio would help enormously I feel and one could develop the idea into climactic moments too. I know you are atonal at heart, so I'd suggest some outlandish (orchestral? strings?) contemporary riffs - short, but edgy and disturbing where appropriate.
    Just my subjective take on it pkoi. As you know, there are a trillion ways to do it and even more opinions on what is right and wrong, but only two matter, yours and the directors.
    Good luck with it.
    Thanks for your comment Mike! It is true, I could've added more thematic material and played with tensions and high register more, the music is static full throttle pretty much the whole scene now, and it can reduce the actual sense of intensity that the actual footage has. I have sometimes problems scoring these kind of one-off scenes without the context a whole episode would give (I've never watched Westworld). When I create actual film- or TV-scores of my own, I always try to build them up incorporating a few memorable motives, which I use as leitmotifs through the whole film (along with everything else the director or sound designer requests). It gives me more control and the movie is easier to watch as well.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkoi View Post
    Yeah, I can see what you mean with the ex machina. It's certainly more ominous than mine, and it sounds great! For the westworld-clip it would have been too dark and slow, I think. That whole Ex_machina-track is an interesting mixture of different styles. It starts off with a Jean Michael Jarre'ish late 70s synth music intro, then goes into some kind of guitar-ambient and eventually evolves into the dark synth sequencer-part you mentioned.
    I suspect something that sounds more cool would work better than something more musically substantial with the audience (like with Hans Zimmer). The Ex Machina sounds cool for sure. I just put it out there if there are things you see you could do to update the sound of your riff.
    Last edited by Phil loves classical; May-23-2020 at 22:05.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    I suspect something that sounds more cool would work better than something more musically substantial with the audience. The Ex Machina sounds cool for sure. I just put it out there if there are things you see you could do to update the sound of your riff.
    Yeah, thanks for the link, it certainly gave me ideas with sounds! That kind of evolving lfo-powered sequencer stuff is easy to create with analogue synths, I actually think they might've used a moog as I did for that particular sound. With this project I doubt I'll do any changes atm as I've submitted the work for the jury already but I think I might improve the track after the competition, I'll keep you posted if I do.
    Last edited by pkoi; May-23-2020 at 22:09.

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    I actually really liked it!! Too bad the scene didn't have more sound effects

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swosh View Post
    I actually really liked it!! Too bad the scene didn't have more sound effects
    Thanks Swosh! The sound design is perhaps a bit more on the naturalistic side but I think it does its job. I think it also has been left like that to give room for whatever was the original score, It's obviously a music-dominated scene.

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    Let us know when these competitions come up.

    I created a soundtrack for a competition once . . . a short 3 minute clip, but the contest was already closed. I did the work anyway, and was pleased with it.

    I'd love to compete for real.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pianozach View Post
    Let us know when these competitions come up.

    I created a soundtrack for a competition once . . . a short 3 minute clip, but the contest was already closed. I did the work anyway, and was pleased with it.

    I'd love to compete for real.
    Just check the internet for ongoing competitions! This one is still open actually, I think up until 3rd of July, go to Spitfire Audio's webpage and download the cue, compose the music and sign up!

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