Score: A Film Music Documentary (2016) Movie Script

[MARCO BELTRAMI] The piano we built
for this movie "The Homesman,"
the problem with this
is that it's out in the elements,
and it disintegrates.
But I think it's a noble
death for a piano.
The wind is a big
feature in the movie
and we thought that it'd be great
to be able to tune the wind.
It sounds really amazing.
This is part of the fun
of experimenting.
You know, you figure
this stuff out.
One interesting
thing that happens
is the sound travels
through the wire
faster than it travels
through the air,
so you get this reverse
echo, which is really cool.
You don't even have to put
any effect on the sound at all.
I mean, you can hear it
all the way down in the valley.
It's more than just the concept
of doing something cool
that nobody's done before.
It's more fun.
Samurai's Death
here, on the hill.
When you hear "Rocky"
Everybody in the audience
knows what's going on.
The composer is a storyteller.
Music has the ability to shape
and in some cases alter
or even subvert what the filmmaker
is communicating.
The score is the heart
and the soul of the film.
Film music can make an exciting
scene more exciting.
We call it "emotion lotion,"
because we can make you feel
anything we want you to feel.
It's being able
to communicate on a level
that they can't
tell in pictures.
Great film music can elevate.
Getting strong now
moving on now
getting strong now
has always been
a part of the cinema-going
as far back as 1895 when
the Lumire brothers
were experimenting in Paris.
In the earliest
days, it is true,
music was thought
of as something
to cover up the noise
of the projector.
films were never silent.
There was at least a pianist
in the smallest Nickelodeons,
and sometimes the bridge
between them was a theatre organ.
[BILL FIELD] There were
many theatre organ makers,
but the one that produced
the most organs,
and is thought to be
probably the best
is the name Wurlitzer.
They showed how a person
could bring to life
the movies that were
otherwise quiet.
They either did a score
that was printed for them,
or they improvised
and created their own.
They were made part
of the moviegoing experience.
[MALTIN] A number
of people had toyed
with the idea of scores
in Hollywood.
[BURLINGAME] Max Steiner's score
for "King Kong" in 1933
was a landmark.
"King Kong" came out,
"Wait a second. Orchestra
music in a movie?"
[DAVID NEWMAN] The only reason
he was able to do it
is because the movie
wasn't scary.
It looked kitschy and stupid,
because it was so It
was kitschy and stupid.
But then he put that music in.
It completely changed the movie.
It made it frightening.
[BURLINGAME] People had
not done that before.
It was really
the first major score
that demonstrated conclusively
the power of music in film.
Alfred Newman came from
New Haven, Connecticut,
an iconic figure
in the history of film music.
A sound that favors
horns and woodwinds.
[DAVID NEWMAN] My father
was Alfred Newman.
In 1930, he came to L.A.
He was at 20th Century
Fox for 20 years.
The Fox logo arguably
the most famous logo ever written
It wasn't written for Fox, it was written
for Goldwyn and it was rejected.
And then he used it for Fox
and Darryl Zanuck loved it.
There was nothing like that orchestra.
I'm talking about rubato.
It means "slowing down and speeding
up in an expressive way."
You would never read
a line of text like,
to the market today."
"I went to the market today."
You'd have a you'd have
a structure of a phrase.
That is so uber
important in music.
They became expert
at making that musical.
That helped define what we know
as the classic Hollywood sound.
[JOHN DEBNEY] A spotting
session is the first time
we all get together,
look at the movie,
and decide where
the music's gonna go,
and what type of music
it's going to be.
All movies, the first 20 minutes
are too slow because we're
laying pipe.
So we want the music to be
something but not crazy.
The goal of a spotting session
is to have a dialogue
with the composer
that you've probably been postponing.
I've done my work,
I've done my design,
I've cast the movie,
I've shot it.
We've done all our beautiful
we've done
all our super-brilliant editing.
Now it's going through and trying
to communicate
what I've heard in my mind.
[NARRATOR ON FILM] Ah, mothers.
Mothers are our rocks.
So it says "Open Road Pictures,"
then we're going to cut
to possibly not the front door
but a shot before the front door
- that establishes the house.
- [DEBNEY] Got it.
[TREVOR RABIN] Spotting,
to me, is really important
because it gives me an idea
of what the director's looking at
and what he's looking for.
- Something that's peppy right away
- [DEBNEY] Peppy, yep.
And then we come here
and we slow down.
Kind of settle on that.
You're collaborating
with people.
I want them to feel
like a filmmaker like them
has come into the process.
I'm the one that specializes in
this one thing that they're
uncomfortable with.
You're trying to come
up with music
that supports the scene and complements
it in an unobtrusive way.
You spend as much
time as you can
immersing yourself
in the backstory.
As a film composer,
you're part
of the storytelling team.
[MAN] Do you want to spin
forward to the next cue, Garry?
- [MARSHALL] Yeah.
- [DEBNEY] This one sort of
ends when she comes
around the corner, right?
I try to get a sense
of what their insecurities are.
The more time you
spend with them,
the more you get those answers.
Most directors don't know
how to convert emotions
into musical into music.
So the composer has to kind
of act almost like a therapist
and go through all this mishmash
of what the director's saying
and get the essence of it.
What if we kind of tail
right into that?
- [WOMAN] Yeah, right, you
don't need to go -right?
- [MAN] Don't score him?
- Maybe don't score
Just put a nice
little transition, Garry,
that kind of just spills over.
- And then he comes up.
- [MARSHALL] Yeah.
Something like that maybe? Yeah.
We got the We got
the gist of it.
[HANS ZIMMER] Sort of in that first
conversation with the director
I have glimpses
of what it could be.
Every project starts
roughly the same way.
Somebody comes into the room
and says, "I've got this idea."
"It'll be fun to do. It'll be
a fun adventure," etc.
And they tell you the idea and you
get drawn in and you get excited.
And you're flattered that they're
even considering you.
"Whoa, me," you know. "I
get to go on this ride."
And then they leave the room and then
you have a moment of reflection.
You go, "I have no
idea how to do this."
Oh, my god."
And then after a while you think
should you be phoning
them and saying,
you know, "Hey, I think you
better phone John Williams."
I have no idea how to do this."
You know, the blank page
is always the blank page.
Plus, I have no idea
where music comes from.
So there's always the fear
that somebody's going to switch off the tap.
is a film called "Race."
I've been working on it for a week,
so I'm just beginning.
I'm just sort of getting
into my process with it.
Where I'm thinking it should start is
is just coming up.
And I'm going to start with it
coming in really, really quietly.
- [MAN IN FILM #2] Well, why not?
[MAN #1] You want
to win a gold medal?
- [MAN #2] Sure.
- [MAN #1] You want to do it in Berlin?
Well, I mean, unless you
were planning on waiting
[PORTMAN] There's a change
of direction in the scene.
And that's often a prompt
for where music will come in.
[MAN #1] Well, they don't
care for 'em much
here in Columbus, either.
Is that gonna be problem?
[MAN #2] No sir.
I just came here to run.
[MAN #1] Well then,
for the next 28 months,
you're either in a classroom,
or you're on that track,
every hour, every day.
[CHRISTOPHE BECK] As a composer,
when you're sitting
there watching a film,
it's not like watching
a play or real life.
There's camera
positions, there's cuts.
It's an incredibly
artificial medium in a way,
and it's really nothing
like real life.
We have to find clever ways
to introduce something familiar.
[DEBNEY] A motif
is a group of notes
that might highlight
what a film score is.
A good example would be
"Close Encounters."
Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun
Beethoven was one the first
to really take a theme or motif
and spin it out in a huge way.
Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony,"
The entire piece is based
on that ya-ta-ta-ta rhythm.
Simple hooks, just
like a pop song.
But you're then casting
them in different lights.
[HOWARD SHORE] By using motifs,
it helps you to understand
the relationships in the story.
- Dear Bilbo.
[SHORE] When you hear a certain
motif, you connect it.
And it actually helped you
follow the story.
- Nine companions.
[BECK] By the time you get
to the end of the film,
when you play that music
in its full glory,
it's already familiar
to the audience.
We're kind of building things
up to that main course.
[BELTRAMI] The director
is not a huge fan
of strictly orchestral elements,
so we're exploring.
In here, this is Buck.
He's working on a movie
now called "The Gunman"
that we're working on together.
We're a little bit
under the gun,
and that's nerve-racking.
One of the things
we were working at was
processing these kalimbas.
It's a simple
African instrument.
The next week we'll be
here quite a bit.
I'm pretty relaxed about it.
[LAUGHS] Buck's not.
There's a lot of work to do.
That's the kalimba you hear.
He's following a mystery
to find out what's happened.
The music needs to have
a bit of intrigue.
I think we cracked the puzzle
on this pretty quick.
[BURLINGAME] As film grew
up, in terms of the subject
that they were tackling
and what the filmmakers
themselves were seeking,
film music itself changed.
It became more modern in style.
It embraced jazz.
"A Streetcar Named Desire"
was Alex North's first film score.
And he comes in with a history
of having written ballets
and concert works in New York
and tackles his first
film assignment,
and writes the most revolutionary
score of all time.
[TOWNSON] The first film
score incorporating jazz
in the writing structure.
Jerry Goldsmith said when he heard
the score for the first time,
he knew that film
music had changed
and would never be the same.
Bond. James Bond.
came from his own band,
performing music that sounded
like early James Bond music.
[KRAFT] By the time
he wrote James Bond music,
he was bringing a band
sensibility to movies.
Thing about big band
music, it was cool.
And it swung.
[DAVID ARNOLD] Felt like this
was a guy who could do anything.
You will not hear any film, which is to do
with spying or secret services
without a reference to Bond.
I mean, it's become
the thing to go to,
in the same way that Morricone
was for spaghetti westerns.
[BECK] Ennio Morricone.
He's not going to hit
you with music
that makes you go, "Whoa,
what is that instrument?
Whoa, how did he make
that sound?"
But what he will do is just
kill you with a melody.
"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"
is such an iconic
piece of music.
You know, he just took
that sound of the guitar
and just put it
into that western environment.
[HOLKENBORG] That is the sound of,
you know, spaghetti westerns,
still, 50, 60 years
after the fact.
And I think that's quite
an achievement.
By the 1960s, you had
this great period,
where you had incredibly
well-trained musicians.
[BURLINGAME] Bernard Herrmann
had come out of dramatic radio.
And his ability to take a sound,
and create a specific
kind of unique orchestra
that was specific to each film
was groundbreaking.
[YOUNG] The main
title from Vertigo,
that is the textbook
perfect example
of the score that says "Mystery,
something's not right here."
Stay away, but please come.
Come running."
[KRAFT] That was different
than other writers at the time.
These are not melodic ideas.
These are little phrases
that had circular
madness to them,
that worked really well
in Alfred Hitchcock movies.
It felt like everything's driving
forward in a sick,
inevitably disastrous way.
Bernard Herrmann, he had balls.
So just to do what he did
with "Psycho" in the shower scene.
Without the music,
it's not that scary.
You notice the cuts, you
notice the process.
As soon as you put
the music there
You're stuck in the mindset
of this psychotic killer.
[BATES] Outside
of the context of that movie,
people probably just wonder,
"What the hell is the noise?
Turn it off."
But it was so effective
in that moment.
It really tricked you
into believing you saw way more
of the violent act in that scene
than really occurred.
read a book, and it says
"There is this great forest,"
everybody pictures a forest.
None of these forests
will be the same.
It's exactly
the same with music.
You can ask 15 other composers
to read that same script,
they will all have
different musical ideas.
One of the things that I find
so liberating about film music
is the fact
that any instrument is valid,
as long as it makes
the movie better.
I have about five storage areas
that are all filled
with musical equipment.
At a certain point,
I collect enough stuff
that when it starts to look
like a junk store,
then the people here do an intervention
and they take everything.
They scrape it clean, and I just
start over collecting things again.
It was a piano
something like that.
I bought it at a toy store
at the Beverly Center,
and I played the theme song
for "Rugrats,"
because I thought I'd never need
to play the toy piano again.
It was like $60 bucks.
I thought, "What a lot of money"
to spend on a toy piano."
So I bought it, brought it
to my studio, and recorded it.
Then I took it back
and got my money back.
And now I always wonder,
where is that toy piano
that I wrote the theme
song for "Rugrats" on?
Many times I start the cue from playing
other things, not the computer.
These are tuned sleigh bells.
They're very rare.
There's music in everything.
I'll be taking an elevator.
You'll be in the thing
and then all of a sudden
the door will be like [WHOOSH].
And you're just like,
"What was that, man?
That was cool, you know?" And
you come back to the studio
and try to recreate that sound.
What would that sound
like in musical form?
So I'm always trying to distill
what the world sounds like into music.
There is no such thing
as the wrong way to do something.
You just got to keep
trying, and the wrong way
is the wrong way,
until it's the right way.
It's a bit of a dinosaur
in that it went extinct
and gave birth to the violin,
and the guitar,
and a lot of other things. The
construction's pretty simple.
You have two drones, and in this
case, one melodic string.
It's kind of suggestive
looking, at least.
They sound kind of like when
a seal plays musical horns
in a circus or something.
I haven't played that for years.
Now that I've got
the groove, I can imagine
like what could be
a melody on top, right?
It's a paradise.
[HOLKENBORG] I try to find
a general rhythm in a scene.
"Mad Max," I spent at least
seven months producing the score.
Trying this, trying that.
Different types of drums.
The drums that were
uniquely recorded
for "Mad Max" just playing one.
If you combine all these
multiple tracks together,
then you can get a really,
really interesting quality
of these drums playing together
and they're pretty aggressive,
which I'm a big fan of.
That actually makes, you
know, quite a difference.
Some directors want the music
to constantly hit the shots.
Other directors want really
long pieces of music
that go over multiple, multiple
shots at the same time.
These are things that you
constantly struggle with
when you work to picture.
I don't care what music it
is, but if I make a track,
it has to give me
goosebumps, myself.
I don't say that to be arrogant,
but if it doesn't hit
me in the stomach
as being a great piece of music,
I cannot expect the audience,
anybody out there,
to have the feeling
that it hits the stomach.
If it gives me goosebumps,
it's pretty likely
it'll give someone
else goosebumps,
because I think goosebumps come
for everyone from similar places.
When we're looking at emotion,
and other kinds
of responses to music,
there are many structures
in the brain that are involved.
Music is so multifaceted,
it's so multidimensional.
Different aspects
of music are processed
by different systems
in the brain.
So when you're looking
at something,
like melody and pitch,
that's processed
by one system in the brain.
When you're looking at the time-based
aspects like tempo and rhythm,
that's processed
by another system.
We are having some sort
of a physiological response
that the body is showing,
and the goosebumps
is actually just a sign
of what's happening inside your body.
There's a system in the brain,
ventral striatum
and nucleus accumbens,
in particular,
it's our reward center.
Things like chocolate
or sex, these are reactions
that we can see involve
these structures.
So it's interesting because the same
kinds of pleasurable feelings
we get from chocolate,
dopamine release,
we could see some of the same kind
of activations in the brain to music.
It's the one art form
that technically doesn't exist.
You can touch musical
you can touch cds or cassettes
or vinyl that contain the music,
but you can never actually
put your finger on music.
It's just air moving
a little bit differently.
All music is doing is providing
some structure to these air molecules.
So if a truck goes by,
it's pushing air molecules
against our inner ear.
If someone's playing cello,
it's pushing the exact same air
molecules against our ear,
just in a different,
structured way.
And there's something odd
but really, really interesting
and powerful about that.
But they'll never
take our freedom!
[MOBY] It makes armies
march into battle.
It makes people cry.
[BATES] It can really
increase the overall emotion
in a way that will make a movie
stay with its audience
long after the last
frame of film.
We are doing something here.
We're harnessing something
from the ether.
Film music, and orchestral
music in general,
is of great interest
to neuroscientists
and to scientists because of its
great power to emote.
Film music is usually
something that
we're not paying
conscious attention to,
and yet it has such
a powerful impact on us.
[RABIN] "Remember
the Titans," the music for me
was written so
specifically for that.
It's very interesting
about using music in film,
it's providing a very specific
context for the music.
There is a permanent linkage,
so when you hear it again,
the experiences you had
in the theatre are evoked.
I never even thought about whether
it could be used elsewhere.
Thank you. God bless you
and may God bless the United
States of America.
The phone rang.
A friend of mine said,
"I'm at the convention.
'Remember the Titans' is playing
as loud as a Kiss concert."
I wasn't asked, which I'm
not happy about,
but, it's quite interesting
watching it being used
for something
completely different.
[KRAFT] We live in a world
that things are underscored.
It's actually interesting
how the music
of "Remember the Titans"
evokes what Obama wanted
to be as the man walking
out as the new president.
[LEMONE] Whatever the audience
felt in the theatre,
it was resonant again.
The power of the score
in and of itself is amazing.
[TAN] When we're watching
a 90-minute standard film,
we make about 21,000
or more eye movements.
And even though we feel
like we have full control
and freedom of where to look,
many studies on eye tracking
have shown that actually
a film audience
is usually looking at about the same
place on a screen
at about the same time.
One way that the eye can be
directed to a specific spot
on the screen is when
there's something about the music
that matches some characteristic
on the screen.
For example, a rising pitch
with something that is rising.
And a great example
of this comes from
the "married life" montage
from the film, "Up."
The first time
that we see the balloons
that are tied to Carl's cart,
that's really important
because the balloons are going
to be an important visual motif,
an important theme
for the entire film.
We see Carl, and then we see
Ellie walking out with a parrot.
And then the balloon cart
rises and comes back down.
So it's very interesting to see
that music can be part
of the choreography of the dance
of our eye movements
during a film sequence.
It used to be
representative scoring,
where everything
you see, you hear.
Walk up the steps.
Romantic kiss.
The eye's doing the same
thing the ear's doing.
There's so many decisions
to make in movies.
Hollywood was going through an odd
transition in the '60s,
especially the mid-'60s
to the early '70s.
One of the things that got
thrown out was the idea
of the old-fashioned
orchestral score.
In restless dreams
I walked alone
Now there was a movement
toward source music.
Narrow streets
of cobblestone
Folk music
Intimate types
of musical groupings
Take a load off, Annie
Take a load for free
it was just different.
The '60s were a lot
of composers who really
knew what they were doing,
who didn't want to do
it the old way.
[KRAFT] Jerry Goldsmith was absolutely
the most innovative composer
to work on mainstream
movies on a regular basis.
What's amazing
about "Planet of the Apes"
is he's using all these
modern techniques.
He reapplied it and put
it into drama.
Metal mixing bowls and rubber
balls being bounced into a bowl.
[BATES] Just kind of screwing
with the orchestra the way he did
and just being so
ballsy in his choices
and it being so on point
for that movie.
It'll always be
one of the all-time great
science fiction scores.
[JON BURLINGAME] "Chinatown"
was written in 10 days after
an earlier score had been written,
recorded, and thrown out.
And it's very interesting
that Jerry comes in
and he looks at the film,
and he immediately decides
he needs four harps, four pianos,
strings, percussion,
and a solo trumpet.
[RINGER ROSS] Why four pianos?
I mean, Jerry was just sort
of the godfather of all this, wasn't he?
It's such an interesting musical
choice, but that's Jerry.
You ask musicians, they might
think he is the best ever.
"The Reivers," I said, "My god, this guy
- "must be 80 years old." I really thought
- [WILLIAMS] Nearly!
I thought maybe here's some guy
who's 80 years old
who maybe wrote his greatest
scores of his life.
And I wanted to find
out who this guy was,
and I met this Young man named
John Williams and I was amazed.
[KRAFT] John Williams did not
start as a classical composer,
he started as a jazz pianist.
[DAVID NEWMAN] John Williams
played piano on "West Side Story."
And he played piano
on "The Apartment."
and bred in the Fox system,
him and Jerry Goldsmith,
that's where they learned.
Nobody knew that the whole
field would change.
When we saw "Jaws,"
if it didn't have
that "ba-domp ba-domp",
none of us would have
known what was happening.
Da-dun. Da-dun,
da-dun da-dun, da-dun
It was pretty brilliant.
And it was almost
like a crazy experiment.
He was an engine, "ba-dum,
ba-dum," accelerating.
Ba-dum. Ba-dum. Ba-dum.
Like a train moving forward,
this is an eating machine.
He is as simple as "I
move forward to kill."
That shark didn't need more.
He needed two notes.
The first day
with Steven, he said,
"What are you going to play
for Jaws?" I went
He said, "You're kidding."
I said, "You're crazy,
this is a serious movie!"
I thought he was going to say,
"No, I'm only kidding."
And he was about to play this
very poetic pastoral symphony.
And John said, "No, no,
you've made a very primal movie."
[SPIELBERG] Part of the genius
of John Williams
is how he spots music
and how he places
music in a movie.
John did not want music
to celebrate a red herring.
He only wanted music to signal
the actual arrival of the shark.
Everybody goes, "Oh, 'Jaws, '
it's just these two notes."
It's not. There's this amazing
orchestral symphonic piece
that takes place and it's just being
triggered by these two notes.
Just artistic imagination
is phenomenal.
We are not worthy.
I said, "Oh my god.
It's a rebirth."
Film music is back, it's alive!"
[LEO ERDODY] "Star Wars" made such
an incredible splash when it came out.
Everything about it was so
exciting and thrilling
for an 11-year-old
growing up at that time.
Here they come.
[TOWNSON] And spoke to a whole
generation of people.
[HOLKENBORG] I was, I think
12 when that thing came out.
So it had a massive
impact on my youth.
We had the theme from "Star Wars"
locked in our head as a kid,
as soon as we walked
out of that theatre.
[HOLKENBORG] Musically, yes,
it is a symphonic score.
But I mean, it's one of the greatest
scores probably ever written.
It's impossible to think of "Star
Wars" without Williams' music.
[MALTIN] The score he did
helped the audience
rediscover the classical
orchestral film score.
Spielberg and Lucas can
lay claim to many things,
and one of them is helping
to reintroduce audiences
to that kind of moviegoing
Star Wars turned this
shit upside down.
[ZIMMER] It was John
Williams that made me,
first of all, realize
that film music could be
of a quality and distinction
that is as great
as any of the classical
composers I grew up with.
There's the traditional
idea of good and bad,
and how they were
exemplified in music.
I like to always
go to "Star Wars,"
because there's those beautiful
themes, John's main theme,
and then there
is the love theme.
But then there's
the Darth Vader theme.
Dun, dun, dun, dun da dun
It's just so martial
and so broad
that you go, "Oh boy, there's
something not good here."
The right score for the right
movie at the right time.
That '70s era, that is absolutely
the era of John Williams.
Without his music, Superman's powers
are greatly diminished.
Believe me, if you try
to fly without that theme,
you go nowhere. One step,
two steps and down.
[BRIAN TYLER] Everyone
knows the Superman theme,
but the Krypton theme
that comes right before it
That overture, it's mysterious,
it's almost like avant-garde.
That sets up this really
tuneful double-chorus melody.
Almost makes it, to me,
10 times more the piece.
So it's his way of surrounding
pieces with other pieces.
Most of the world, if you
were to play the music
from "Jaws," or "Star Wars,"
or "Raiders of the Lost Ark,"
most folks would know
exactly what that was.
[BRIAN TYLER] "Raiders
of the Lost Ark."
If you hear the melody
without the rhythm,
you can recognize it.
But if you just to the rhythm,
With no melody you
recognize it either way.
Very simple
little sequence of notes.
But I spend more time on those
little bits of musical grammar
to get them just right so
that they seem inevitable.
[TYLER] There's a hooky, tuneful,
well-orchestrated theme,
but I think
that's only half of it.
There's always the bravura part
of the John Williams composition.
The first 8, 16, 32 bars. The great
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" theme.
And then comes the b part.
It's less well known, but it's so
beautifully crafted.
I always think that's the part
he writes for himself.
I think he's as brilliant
as people feel he is.
And as popular as his music is,
he's even better than that.
If it would be convenient
to go into the call.
I like that. As
a matter of fact,
it seems like a very
natural transition.
- [WILLIAMS] Up or down?
Maybe once down.
It could go down once
and then go up.
[DEBORAH LURIE] What a score
needs to do has changed,
because of how filmmaking
has changed.
Let's take John Williams,
let's take the end of "E.T."
Where are we going?
To the forest!
[LURIE] It is just a wide
open space for music.
Follow me!
When was the last time
that somebody left a space
that open and said, "I want
this to be a music moment"
where you just bring
that tune home."
I'll be right here.
We have this vast,
expansive music
with the taking
off of the spaceship.
John Williams, Steven
Spielberg decide
that we're gonna go
from big music to [WHOOSH],
reminding us who is going
into that spaceship.
We could look at what is happening
in the story as being very sad,
these are farewells.
And at the very end
we hear this coda,
this fanfare that's very
That is saying that we're looking
at this from Elliot's viewpoint.
That it's not a loss,
but it's almost like saying,
"mission accomplished.
We got E.T. Home."
[DAVID EWART] In the orchestra,
one of the things we love
is the 10-minute break.
But on tens, when you have
been inspired by the music,
there's an electricity.
On "Jurassic Park,"
you could tell by the look
in your colleague's eyes
that you were not mistaken,
that you had just played something
that was going to almost live eternally.
[STEVE ERDODY] Almost anything
we do with John Williams is
We know it's going
to be unbelievable.
We always leave
the sessions like feeling,
"Why can't all the sessions
be like this?"
[DAVID ARNOLD] A lot of the time
you'll pick a studio
because it's appropriate to the sort
of sound that you want to make.
It used to be
a church, obviously.
It's a building that's been here
for a couple hundred years.
You know, it's a church,
and I suppose everyone
thinks that all churches
are haunted somehow.
We have had engineers who've been in here
who've just seen that happen.
You know, chairs just
start spinning around.
It would be a great way to excuse
yourself, wouldn't it?
If you've made
a terrible mistake.
"It was the ghost that did
that." But no, you know,
all the terrible things that happen
here are always based on people.
Usually me.
I've sort of lived in this
building since about 1994.
- [ARNOLD] Morning.
- [WOMAN] Hi, David.
[ARNOLD] It was pretty derelict
when George Martin in the late '80s
sort of came upon it and decided
this would be the place
to convert into a studio.
If you've ever been in a small room
with a gang of people and shouted a lot,
it sort of chokes the room out.
You know, so you can't
really hear anything
because the sound has
got nowhere to go
so everything piles
in on itself?
That's the same
in an acoustic space.
If we have 110 people in a room,
we've got this
moveable roof panel.
You lift the roof up and it gives you
an extra second and a half of reverb
and so, you know, the sound
can sort of swim around
this gorgeous space with all these
amazing reflective surfaces.
We use up to 100
mics on a session.
That all gives you the choice
as to how close or how far away
you want to feel from the music.
It's a very different
acoustic to Abbey Road.
players total today.
So it's a good size orchestra.
We're here in Abbey
Road Studio Number One,
which is the big orchestral
room at Abbey Road.
Check, check, one,
two, three, test.
Check, one, two, three.
There doesn't appear to be a great deal
of absorbent material on the walls,
so it still has a bit
of a live sound to it.
When the orchestra cuts off
you get a really
great bit of reverb.
The Beatles recorded
their orchestral stuff in here,
and then in the '80s it became
frequently used for film scores,
so "Return of the Jedi"
was mostly recorded here.
[WILLIAMS] Chorus people,
thank you for coming.
Welcome to this process
of making "Star Wars."
[KRAEMER] The "Star Wars"
prequels were recorded here.
Just winds, please. 33.
One, two, three.
The first three "Lord of the Rings"
movies were recorded here.
I know when Williams did
like his films here,
he tended to set up over here
and throw this
way, the long way.
So that the choir from like "Duel
of the Fates" was up against that wall.
Our sound engineer on this film,
he asked for this layout,
because he prefers it in terms
of getting the sound that he wants.
When you're a film composer,
part of the gig is you're giving
the director and the producers
the music they want.
But at the end of the day,
if they don't like it,
it's not in the movie.
My crew in the mixing room
consists of the engineer,
who in this case is a guy
named Casey Stone.
He's sitting behind the board
and he's operating all the faders.
He's the one who set
up all the microphones in here,
laid out the plan for how we were
going to record everything.
Next to him is a gentleman
named Louis,
and Louis is operating
the pro tools,
so he's controlling the clicks
that I hear in my headphones,
and that all the musicians
hear in their headphones.
And then he's also
recording all the takes,
making sure they're
all labeled correctly.
There's a gentleman
named John Finklea,
he's the music editor.
He is the person
who will take all the takes
and assemble not only the version
that we use in the film,
but also the version that we end
up making the soundtrack album from.
Next to him is the orchestrator,
who in this film
is Matt Dunkley.
I do all my writing
in a computer.
The orchestrator takes that file
and converts it into an orchestral score,
a score that I can conduct from,
and from which parts can be generated
and given to all the musicians.
And they don't have to see
all the other parts.
Great. Really, really.
[KRAEMER] Moving on?
Yeah. Ready?
Different cities, different
influences, different rooms.
In London, usually they play
with a gentle sound.
In Los Angeles, they play
with a stronger sound.
[PEREIRA] I do work very hard.
You know, and I have a team
that also works hard with me.
It takes a lot to get
to this point.
It really
is like your life story,
using the picture as a vehicle
to show the human that you are.
That was amazing.
[BURLINGAME] Conducting a score
is something that everybody used to do.
It's not so much that the composer
doesn't have the chops
to go out there and conduct
an orchestra, many of them do.
But it's often more important
for them to be in the booth,
listening to what the orchestra
is playing,
and sitting right there
with the director
to know how the director's feeling
about what he's hearing.
Let it play.
to John Powell, or Hans Zimmer,
they'll say they prefer to be
in the control room, not conducting,
because that's where everything's fed
through, they have more control.
I mean, basically, we're
all going after the same thing.
We want the best result,
the best performance
for the film.
[DEBNEY] A lot of composers
like to be in the booth,
so that they can be
closer to the director.
But I personally feel I get
the best performance
when I'm conducting
my own music.
[CONTRACTOR] Good morning!
This is a film for Paramount.
It's lots of fun.
John has done a great,
oh my god, what a score.
So without further ado,
our composer and conductor,
John Debney.
[DEBNEY] Good morning.
We're gonna start
out with 5m1v3.
Let's make some sound.
One, two. Two.
Good read.
Good read.
[BEAR MCCREARY] Sight-reading
musicians, the studio musicians,
really are an incredible breed.
Producers or filmmakers,
they say,
"Well, how many days do
they have to rehearse this?"
And I say, "None. That was it.
They never saw it before."
And they go, "What? What?"
There's a technique to being
able to sight-read,
to being able to congeal
as a section,
as a studio sight-reading
[DEBNEY] 24, we are faster
right away.
you're writing music,
you're writing a letter
to the performers.
You're giving them a set of instructions
on what they're supposed to do.
And if you do it right, then
it should be a love letter.
And it you should show again,
"I know your instrument.
I know who you are."
You have many, many players
trying to play the same note,
but no one can.
Everyone is off by microns
of a percentage,
which gives it
that chorusing effect.
If everything was consonant
and perfect,
um music would
It would be terrible.
I mean, it would be like putting
auto-tune on Etta James.
You know, it just would take
all the soul out of it.
And honestly that's why we have
why orchestras sound beautiful.
[DEBNEY] If there's ever a time
where I'm not able to get
on a scoring stage
and work with 90 musicians,
I'll probably do something else.
Working with the live musicians,
that's what I live for.
Standing on the podium,
and giving a downbeat
to a piece of music
that you've spent
a long time crafting.
And hearing it
for the first time,
I guess it's like seeing your child
for the first time being born.
The joy, the emotion
of what that is,
it's really everything to me.
Pretty darn good take.
That's the real power
of the orchestra
and I think that's why
That's why I think
it'll never disappear.
Certainly it's been transformed
and will continue to be transformed,
but I think at the heart, um
It's kinda
the most human element
and the most emotional
element we have.
[KRAEMER] Let's go from 20
to the end of 48.
This film has a lot of music.
It's an action film,
it's a tentpole movie,
so they tend to be
more wall-to-wall.
You know, "Jack Reacher" had
about 60 minutes of music.
This has about 110.
see the billboards up
before you're finished
doing the film.
You drive past it thinking,
"But the music's not
written yet."
The scary thing is going
down to the subway in New York
and I'm halfway done and seeing
your name on the poster,
and saying, "Oh god," you know,
it's I have a long way to go
in two and a half weeks."
The more expensive
the movies get,
they do let you know this.
You know, the
the occasional, you know,
hint gets dropped by the studio
that you know, everything is riding on this
and you better, you know, whatever.
So this is not necessarily
it's just terrifying.
[MITCHELL LEIB] The complexity
of putting these things together
is immense now,
and the pressure is immense.
Our studio?
We're rolling close to a half
a billion dollar roll
every time we take
out a single movie.
Do you know how much
you have to make?
Every movie that you're making has to be
in the top 20 of all-time box office.
It's insane.
I just think the complexity
of the business overall has
Has brought a complexity
to the art form.
On the movie "Armageddon,"
which I did,
I literally got a clock
from Jerry Bruckheimer
with a countdown clock, counting
down to the day we finish,
and that was in front
of me at all times.
Deadlines can be terrifying.
[KRAEMER] The schedule on this
film is so accelerated,
it's on a whole other
level of professionality.
It's been about six hours
so far,
we've got
another three hours to go.
[MUTTERING] So guess what,
six clicks into bar 29.
Yeah, you should go
up a half step, I think.
This kind of situation
is so expensive,
and so hard to organize.
But there's always more
than one way to solve a problem.
And you can solve this problem
by changing the music at this cut,
or you can solve it by changing
the music at that cut.
[BURLINGAME] As filmmaking
styles have changed,
film music itself has changed.
And as filmmakers have realized
that, over the decades,
um, they've asked
for different things
and gotten different things.
What happened in 1978-79?
Somebody flipped
on a synthesizer.
When the synth came in,
actually, punk also happened.
And you have this incredible new
extroverted musical
intelligence going on.
From my heart
and from my hand
Why don't people understand
My intentions
ooh, weird
ooh ooh ooh ooh,
weird science
Danny Elfman. He
was a performer.
You know, Tim Burton, one day
he gets to make a movie.
Who's he going to have score it?
Hey, how about his favorite
Yeah, love oingo boingo.
Who's in oingo boingo?
Who's really the principal
Who's really doing oh,
it's this guy Danny Elfman.
- Bingo-bango!
- Weird science
I was starting to write weird
but elaborate compositions.
I wrote this thing called "The Oingo
Boingo Piano Concerto no. 1 and a half."
Without having written that, I never
would have taken "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."
[LURIE] Since he was a kid,
more or less,
just a really curious person
who's been amusing himself, you know?
At first it was, you know, just
the antics of Oingo Boingo,
and then the whole
Tim Burton, Pee Wee.
[KRAFT] There's nothing
bland about Danny.
Thanks a lot, crew.
[KRAFT] Danny is the composer
who grabs you by the collar during the main
title of the movie and says,
"I'm about to take you into a world,
and here's what's it's about."
Danny's biggest strength is
I think he comes up with the most amazing
little short musical ideas
that then become
big musical ideas.
When he fully, like,
exploded with "Batman,"
everyone's mind was blown.
"Batman," there
was only one template: John Williams,
and we didn't wanna do that.
Again, I had nothing to go on.
There was no model
of what kind of chords,
how you do, like, a darker score
that's still fun and has energy.
And I realized what I tried to learn
from Bernard Herrmann years earlier,
which is, there
is only one rule.
There are no rules.
He can broach the big,
orchestral world
with the very uber
contemporary world,
and he does it
really seamlessly.
And you can hear his sound,
his personality.
Thomas Newman
is one of those composers
that it's very difficult to sort
of describe what the sound is.
Like Danny Elfman, Thomas has
developed his own sound.
[EWART] The first score
I worked with him on
was "Shawshank Redemption."
His music is extremely edgy and unique
and he has an unmistakable mark,
it's like a watermark
on anything that he does.
That's a lasting piece
of art, "Shawshank."
is Lester Burnham.
[MALTIN] When I saw
American Beauty,
and I heard Thomas
Newman's first notes
in the first frames of the movie
I think it's a marimba that you hear.
It absolutely sets
the tone of the film,
puts you a little off balance,
lets you know that you're
in for a somewhat odd,
offbeat take on American life.
The great thing
about Thomas Newman
is he's managed to capture
a way of doing uncertainty,
so it's never
It's never too committed,
but it's musically kind of got
this great character to it.
will generally, in a cue,
he'll establish a key center.
Things will start to weave in and
out around that, around that baseline.
That creates a kind of a texture
that lives behind the orchestra.
When the orchestra comes in, it
becomes part of that texture.
Well, that particular
language just didn't exist.
It was came out of Thomas
Newman's brain.
Newman is Alfred Newman's
youngest son.
Yes, he is orchestrally trained
and he can write a great
orchestral score,
but sometimes the movies
he was working on
required something
more intimate.
A lot ot times you
can get a mood,
a prevailing mood and just
slap it onto an image
and let it sit for two minutes.
Everybody rips it off.
And they don't realize.
They don't realize.
They're thinking "This is film
music, this is how I do film music."
This is how I do that thing."
And of course
it's been imitated and copied,
but he was
He was there at that moment
to introduce something new.
It's so difficult to sit down
and do that cold emotive
solo piano thing
'cause he's perfected it.
[LEIB] MTV is going on the air.
What video are they first
gonna play?
A song called, "Video
Killed the Radio Star"?
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
If you look closely, you can see
Hans Zimmer in the background.
Video killed the radio star
Video killed the radio star
Hans brought an unconventional
rock swagger, okay,
[LAUGHS] To film scoring.
[BROUCEK] There's a brutality
about the way
that the orchestra plays.
There's a violence, if you will.
An aggression.
There's an intensity about it,
an intensity about how it's written,
an intensity
about how it's played.
The single female voice
of Lisa Gerard in that film,
on top of the visceral
power of the orchestra
Really had an impact
on the audience.
I will see you again.
But not yet. Not yet.
We had this idea. It had
to be a woman's voice.
Why do you want a woman's voice
in a gladiator movie?
The next day we came in, and there
was that hand on the wheat Field.
And that shot holds
for a minute.
If you have written
that in the script
it wouldn't have even made
it to being shot.
Why would you hold your hand
on the wheat Field?
The only way that shot can
work was because of the music,
because of Lisa's voice.
But it sort of gave license
for the rest of the movie
to be a little bit more poetic
and to be a little bit
more expansive.
[LEMONE] It really, I think,
elevated the whole experience,
and it shaped the sound
of Hollywood for years afterwards.
Now we're in the Hans
Zimmer era.
It just looms over everything.
[DEBNEY] This is why
he's a revolutionary.
Hans took the string section
and made them like a guitar.
They're playing rhythm.
And that's a really
interesting thing.
I don't think anybody
had really done that.
"Pirates." it's like Led
It's like freaking Led Zeppelin
played by an orchestra.
What Hans has certainly
done on "Dark Knight"
is obviously blur this line
between this giant symphonic
sound and electronics
and you're not quite sure where
one ends and the other begins.
The sort of light,
repetitive string ostinatos.
You hear that so often.
It's just all about
this constant pulse going on.
Terribly powerful.
Terribly exciting.
[KRAFT] Hans Zimmer is still-
he's a legend and still
becoming more legendary.
[BROUCEK] The end of "Inception,"
it's like a new morning.
When he gets home, he's going
to be reunited with his family
for real, in reality.
You're led in one direction
like it's going to be okay.
Hans Zimmer's score really
washes over you in waves.
Then the music just piles it on.
The camera pans down and you're
left with a big question.
Wow, music adds
quite a bit here.
[HOLKENBORG] We've seen
over the last five, six years
where people that are not
film composers
were asked by a director
to do something unique.
Like Trent Reznor
and Atticus Ross.
And I think these
are really good examples
where people just
really love people
that have an artist's career
in the world outside of film scoring
can bring so much authenticity
in music and sound to the picture.
[BECK] The sounds they're using
are extremely contemporary.
[KRAFT] Their score
for "The Social Network"
it's an emotional palette. It's a very
disturbing kind of lyrical piano.
It's human, but it's technical.
It's emotionally dark,
but it's got some feeling to it.
[REZNOR] When David
Fincher called,
"Hey, I want you to score
my next film." Fuck yeah.
"It's a movie about Facebook."
I would be hard-pressed to think
of something that sounded less sexy.
And we were shuffling the deck
trying things that didn't
feel intuitive.
Talking about changing
the temperature of a movie
and the emotional
response of the audience.
Radically different.
[REZNOR] The whole movie
feels different after that.
I think it feels like a much
more important film
than the kind of "Ah,
college life, tomfoolery"
that it could have been misled
into feeling with the wrong
music in there.
And ever since that point, there
are a lot more electronic
artists doing film scores.
Electronic production,
and engineering
and a whole different
way of looking at music
that is often much
more visceral.
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
for "The Social Network."
[HOLKENBORG] I think it's totally
deserved that Trent Reznor
not only got nominated but also
won an Oscar for score.
It's completely deserved.
When you have an unconventional
image with unconventional sound,
like with a lot of the things
Trent and Atticus are doing,
the results can really
be so much greater
than the sum of their parts.
What the net result
of that is, you know,
in some ways is sort
of beautiful chaos.
Film music has changed,
fairly radically.
There's far more
There's far more freedom and inviting
artists who would never have
thought of doing a film score
and nobody would have thought
of doing a film score before.
And to me that's really
Technology has made it possible
for every composer to be
a producer, as well.
At the core of it,
though, is the tune.
For this one is the only cue
that I feel
that we still need
to work a little bit.
It happens to be
the opening of the movie.
So, if we can get like this
our orchestral
ukulele, so to speak,
in a very simple Very like
plink, plink, plink,
plink, plink.
- Like that way, yup.
- Flies it by, yeah.
Very, very kinda sweet.
One, two, three and
Can we do it okay.
Can we do it so your nails
go on top of the string,
so it's kind of dirty.
So you plink, plink, plink,
yes, yes.
The cellos now.
An amazing sound.
- Happy?
- I'm more than happy, man.
I'm like hypnotized.
Yeah, yeah.
Man, this is some
powerful stuff.
I just wanna thank you again
because you are amazing,
and what a privilege
it is for a musician,
like myself, to have you
guys playing my music.
So, thank you very much.
Thank you, heitor.
Film music is essentially
a recorded art.
Once you have the recording,
then you're into mixing,
the more technological
part of the production.
[JABLONSKY] Before the music
leaves my studio,
I just give it
one last final mix
to make sure everything
that I want to be heard is heard.
Every element needs
some amount of attention
to create the overall
feel that you want.
So that's That's his main
little melody.
Very simple, because he's a big
simple, evil dude.
So there's a point where, it's a really
dramatic moment in the film.
Up until this point in the music
I didn't have any French horns,
so I introduced them.
You probably can't
even hear them.
I can hear them because I know
what they're playing, but
Okay, so, now simply
mixing them up a bit.
Every time I played that just
then, they were there.
When I turn the horns down,
I don't feel
that emotional peak.
Now there's 50 foot robots
running down the highway,
that line better
be mixed up loud,
otherwise, you're
not gonna hear it.
You want your intention
to be clear.
The horns just give it kind
of more of an emotional weight.
That's a part of mixing, is just
making sure the elements
that you want to grab
hold of the audience
are loud enough to make
a statement.
And you can't really
be wishy washy.
You have to make
bold statements.
I think, you know,
with "Furious 7,"
people really reacted
to that film
on an emotional level.
Paul and his character
say goodbye.
That's probably one of the most powerful
theater experiences
I've had watching a film
that I had worked on.
And it kind of crossed
over his real life.
You can feel when a cue
is working the audience.
That's what I love
about film music,
if it's all emotion.
I think seeing audience reaction
to films that you've worked on
is really helpful.
It doesn't help you
for the film that you just did,
because it's already
out in the theater.
But it certainly will help
you for the next film.
Seeing literally the reaction
of how people respond
to your music,
that's really cool.
Now often, I'll cruise
up to the front,
and creepily turn back
and look at the audience
watching the movie.
Very rarely am
I spotted doing that.
Every once in a while I will look
through the audience,
I'm enjoying everyone
watching it,
and then there's one head
like at the tennis match
with the one person like looking
right at you looking at them
and that's uncomfortable,
and then I leave.
You want to get a sense
of how did this work?
Especially in the scenes
that are really musical.
Did they move people?
And then I do something
that's slightly embarrassing.
I will run
into a bathroom stall,
um, and see if they're humming
or whistling the theme,
and it is amazing how many times
that's actually happened.
It's like the ultimate
pat on the back.
To me, I feel like I affected
them on a level
that they're unaware of.
It's cool to be able
to witness people
experiencing what I experienced
when I was watching
films growing up.
And to think that it lives
on beyond you is a crazy thing.
I mean, it's definitely
gonna outlive me.
You know, these movies will be
continued to be watched
and that's really cool.
One of the responsibilities
we have as film composers,
is we're the last people
on earth who on a daily basis
commission orchestral music.
Without us, the orchestras
might just disappear,
and I think
that will create a rift
in, you know, human culture.
I think it will be such
a loss to humanity.
We all have this fragility.
We can chat for hours
and in a funny way,
I'm very secure about this.
I because I hide
behind the work.
You'll never really
figure me out.
But when I play you
a piece of music,
I completely expose myself.
And that's the really
scary moment.
I love, I love,
I love what I do.
Even when I sit there
driven by paranoia, fear,
neurosis, you know,
pulling my hair out.
I still wouldn't trade
it for anything else.
Very few people can
be inspired every day
to write something brilliant.
Whether or not
you're aware of it,
music plays such
an important role
in how you respond to a film.
All your other work on a film
can come to nothing
if you don't get
the music right.
You constantly have
to reinvent yourself
and you have to adapt to very,
very difficult psyches.
It's quite a lot of weight
to carry on your shoulders,
if you're just struggling
and you have self doubts,
and sometimes, yeah, sometimes
you crash into a wall.
The satisfaction of succeeding,
yeah, it's really something.
Film music is one of the great
art forms
of the 20th and 21st century.
[TAN] There is something
about what the film composer
brings in by their intuition.
That unique ecology,
that unique combination
is what makes film music so
powerful, so mysterious,
and probably uncaptureable
to us as scientists.
When we were cutting "Titanic,"
James was sending over music
as he was 'cause
what he would do is sketch out
on synthesizer,
with his synthesist,
what he intended to do
with the orchestra.
So I was used to getting
sort of new ideas coming in.
So I was sitting there
cutting one day
and a disc came
in that said, "Sketch."
I thought, "Oh, okay, this
goes for the sketching scene."
I just kinda slid it
around until I found a place
where it seemed to sync
with the scene nicely.
So serious.
There's a kind of piano downbeat
that I just put
on Leonardo's eyes coming up
and looking directly
at the camera.
A critical moment of eye contact
between the two of them
while he's drawing her,
and then, boy, it
just really flowed.
So, I was so excited
about it, I called him up,
I said, "Listen, this
is working so well."
I put it
up to the sketching scene
and it's working fantastically.
And he said, "Oh, no, no, no,
no, that's just a sketch."
It's just a piano
sketch of a melody.
We can drop it in anywhere." And I said,
"But it works beautifully on this scene.
He said, "Really?" I said,
"Yeah, get your ass over here."
So, he came over, he said,
"Oh, that works pretty well."
He said, "All right, well,
I'll orchestrate it."
I said, "No, no, no, no.
Just the piano."
He said, "All right, I know
the best pianist in the world.
I know He's out of London."
I said, "No, it's you,
buddy, it's you."