film scoring – the journey – day 8 – First submission & feedback

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11:00pm – Greetings readers…

Another weekend gone… 🙁 In any event, it was short, but productive. I finally submitted the rough cue music embedded in the video for the director’s review. Had a short telecon and pleasingly got the thumbs up on the title sequence music AND the scene music in Episode 1. With a slight suggested change for the title sequence track and one for the episode, I’m happy with the results, being a newcomer to all of this.

This evening was spent working on music for episode 2. As mentioned in the first post of this series, the closing scene is comprised of something I, well….never had to compose music for – let’s just leave it at 🙂 Good news is, I think I have something that fits it. I think I have one more scene I need music for and I should be ready to submit this episode as well…we’ll see.

Anyway, this is a short update. I’m anticipating a long work week ahead, and to get into bed before midnight is probably best.

Catch up soon…

peace!
Fresh

film scoring – the journey – day 7 – At the scene/in the cloud of sound.

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Greetings readers (I should say early good morning),

After what has seemed to be some creative block, so to speak, I finally got back to working on music for the first episode of this webseries. At least I have two ideas (with a third pretty much thought of) for the title sequence music . All my conceptual notes for the scenes have been down on paper for awhile but to get from my head, what I’m conceiving, to what one can actually hear has been another issue altogether. I actually started backwards, so to speak, and composed the music for the final scene of Episode 2 already. Early this morning seemed to be the time where I was able to do it (although what I’m going with is a little different than the initial concept).

So, I’ve been working with brand new ideas for the first bit of music you will hear in the first scene of the first episode. This piece of music is actually called a “cue”, as, from what I ynderstand, they are generally short pieces of music that cue a following scene. Though what I’m going to try is not conceptually the same as what I originally thought of, I think it will work nicely with some extra embellishments here and there…we;ll see.

For now it is crazy way past my bedtime. Yes, I will be suffering tomorrow at work, but this is what sometimes happens when my muse decides to show up anytime she wants, with irregard to what I need…LOL (“women”….haha). JK!!

Incidentally, my soundcloud account is set up. On the site, you’ll eventually hear demo tracks of music I’ve composed for film. When there are a few tracks up, I’ll post the link in a future blog post, Facebook, Twitter, etc….so stay tuned.

Have a great day, or afternoon, or…well, u get what I mean….

peace!
Fresh!

film scoring – the journey – day 6 – It’s Official (generally speaking)

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Greetings readers…

For the past two days, I’ve been in studio but have dont more learning and experimenting then actually getting this ideas I hear in my head out to be recorded. In the meantime, I know that when I submit initial tracks to the director and music supervisor for review, they’ll be going with what’s called a cue sheet. Part of the cue sheet has information regarding my publishing company name. Wait, I don’t have a publishing company name, until today (well, kinda). Today, after soliciting some suggestions from folk along the way, as well some considering some names I had already, I finally decided on one. The initial decision came from a friend, Tyvian Corry. Every time he hits me up on FB, he’ll usually start out by saying “‘Sup Sky Man?” So, he suggested that name after I did a post on my page about needing a name.

I thought it was really cool, so I did a Google search on it earlier today to see what results it would bring up.Ironically a few came up. I still like it a lot, but wanted something more original that would bring up the least amount of search results (at best, none at all). I thought of SkyTunes, but that was taken. After a short time, it hit me, so I did a domain search to see if this name was taken as a dotcom. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t, so that sealed the decision. I came home from work and registered the domain for two years. I also have a logo concept which I will flesh out and post soon. In any event, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my music publishing entity: SkySongs Music Publishing. The website will be at skysongsmusic.com, so stay tuned in the coming months. The business structure will be a sole proprietorship in the state I live in. Under state law I don’t have to file for taxes, but will be registering the name at some point (I think). Next stop is to register the name with my PRO (performing rights organization), BMI.

Incidentally, you may be wondering where Tyvian got the name “Sky Man”….hit me up and I’ll fill you in.

peace,
Fresh!

Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 5 – The Break/The Block

MPC1000 in The Lab
Greetings readers.
6:35am, Monday Morning. I’ve been up since 4:30 am, trying to (re) effect this early morning, “get at the day” routine by getting into bed every night at a decent time. So far, it’s a good way to kick the week off.

I’ve been in the studio for the last hour, getting some to-do tasks checked off. One of them was trying to get the right drum track feel for this third and last idea for the title sequence (theme music) for the web series I’m scoring too. I’ve done a fair amount of my own drum programming since the days of drum machines (of course, for my own tracks), but taking that approach here seems a bit daunting. I’m hearing something similar in feel to Crockett’s Theme (Miami Vice) but can’t get it out of my head to the recording part of it. My sample library is fairly large and I think I have something that may kickstart the idea quicker…we’ll see.

I spent the last few days driving back and forth to Savannah, GA (including an overnight hotel stay). Left Thursday at noon, return Friday night at 8pm – a total of 20 hours or so of driving. Needless to say, it caught up with me by Saturday afternoon. By Saturday night, I was back at it for a little while – my son sat in on one of my sessions and asked me about the totality of the project. Being not one afraid to voice his suggestions, he listened to one of the ideas and suggested I try to mute a portion of a specific track until a certain part of what the video was showing. I’d not thought of that, but tried his suggestion and it didn’t sound to bad at all. It goes to show you that one never knows that another suggestion from someone removed from what you are doing, can turn out pretty good.

As for the theme music, it’s time to concentrate translating this scene notes into actual audio ideas. Last week I finally created the cue sheets that I’ll be sending to the director once I get some initial cue and hit music for the scenes. She spied a session pic of me working on it in studio and replied “I know it’ll sound good, take your time”. You know my steelo is to stay ahead of the game, so…..

Anyway, time to hit the road….have a a good one.

Peace,
Fresh!

Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 4 – Official Biz

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Greetings….
Saturday morning about 10:28am – rainy, but expected (glad I got the front and the rear lawn mowed). It’s been a busy work week so I’m glad the weekend is here, From a scoring standpoint, it was a bust though. Wednesday night I gave it ago, but starting at 10:15pm was to no avail, especially since I’s still learning Logic Pro X and can’t yet navigate it as quickly as with Logic Pr 9. I had an idea for this third and final submission idea for the theme music but I just couldn’t find what I wanted to quickly in the software. Add to that, I was having some unusual application freezes, which slowed the process down. About 10:40pm here comes the frustration and the fact I knew I had to get up at 5pm….oh well.

Thursday was a bit different (though I didn’t actually get into the studio). The official contract came back signed from the director. Everything was agreed to, so that was cool. With that, she also sent me a private link to a demo her and the videographer/music supervisor put together. This demo was actually Episode 1 which she used for a quick presentation at her alma mater.The demo included not only some stock theme music but some cue music for a few scenes in the episode. What was cool about this was that the demo the supervisor chose as a place holder for the theme music was essentially the same idea I had recorded, so that let me know I was on the right track. In addition, cue music in for the scenes were essentially placed in the same place I chose, another sign of thinking in the same lane. All of that was encouraging, as the more you’re inline with the director’s vision for music the better.

So, this weekend I’ll continue to work on cue music for Episode 2, but mainly focus on getting more familiar with Logic Pro X and incorporating the use of various plugins I have, and will use. Speed always helps in getting this type of creative job done.

Quick shout out to a few friends who gave me some opinions (and examples) as answers to a question I had about what kind of music they would expect to hear in watching a certain scene. This type of scene I never thought about writing to because, despite seeing many “variations” of it, in TV shows and movies, I never paid attention to the music. “What kind of scene is it?”, you may ask…stay tuned to future blog posts, I’ll post and talk about the answer in the future.

For now, peace….

Fresh!

Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 3 – On and on….

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Greetings readers. 12:28am Monday morning, and yes I work today (why do I do this to myself….?). Pressed forward a lttle more last night. I’m pretty much complete with the second idea for the film’s theme music. A third idea should cap it off for now and will allow time to discuss all three with the director in the near future.

Last night it was back to going over notes on tracks for scenes in the first two episodes. As said before, I have ideas/cocepts for what I think will sound good, time to start recording this week and see how they manifest….should be interesting.

This alarm clock will be going off before I know it, needless to say, this is a short post …. (now I’m hungry…sigh).

Have a great week.

Fresh!

Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 2 – Forward Motion

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Greetings…

Hope all is well. As mentioned in my last post, I’m working with rough footage from episodes 1 and 2 of this webseries I’ve been asked to score. Watching them daily is a habit I need to adopt, as it will surely allow me to develop a “oneness” for composing the right music – something that I think is more at the forefront than any other aspect of this.

Admittedly, I am pretty much meticulous note taker, always making log entries in my studio notebook of a great deal of things that go on in here – troubleshooting, song ideas, article references, phone calls with other artists and producers, the whole nine, all logged by date and sometimes time of day. That said, I think the pages will fill up fast. (Aside: This note taking habit as been with me for decades, instilled in me by my first boos of the career, a SES (Senior Executive Service) Program Manager of the naval satellite program I worked on as young engineer. He trained all of us junior engineers to always keep daily notes of what we are working on to maintain traceability and identify key points during our project;s development lifecycle. I still have some of those government-issued green notebooks given to us 🙂 )

So, the tools, what am I using? My digital audio workstation (DAW) is Logic Pro X. I’ve been using Logic since v7 (Logic Express 7.2, to be exact) and never looked back. it wasn’t until I got Logic 9 that I started doing minor video scoring (short movie of Vine time-lapsed clips I put together for a track I composed). I need to get up to speed on Alchemy. this fantastic new synth that is now part of Logic X as I hear it has some good sounds that lend themselves to movie scoring. As for plugins, I use a number of Native Instrument products – Maschine, Massive, Komplete Select, and now Evolve Mutations 1 and 2, recently cross licensed to Native Instruments for purchase. The bundle has always been popular for movie scoring, specifically science fiction and action-type scenes, but its flexibility allows for it to exceed that. NI recently had them on sale a few months ago, so I thought it’d be a good first investment to use in the scoring arena.

To date, I have one idea complete for the series’ theme music – that track will lie over the series title sequence. It surprisingly came quicker to me than I thought, so I’m kinda amped about that. I got the nod of approval from my SRRC (Senior Resident Creative Consultant aka wife LOL). My JRCC (Junior Resident Creative Consultant aka daughter) will be home from college next month, so I’ll have to see what she says…LOL. After this second idea is done, I’ll transition back to working on the bridging music for both episodes as that music are just ideas in my head, notes in the studio log so far. I hope I can transfer what I hear in my head to a listener’s ears. We’ll see.

That’s about it for now, time to get back to it.

Thanks for the read…

peace!
Fresh.

Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 1 – The Background

Blog Photo - Lab Movie Scoring

Greetings readers, thanks for stopping by.

This is the first of many planned posts that I’m sharing with you regarding my foray in to film scoring. I ope you come along for the ride. Most of you reading this post already know me as a musician, composer, songwriter, producer and home studio owner (for those of you that don’t, check the About Me page here on my website). That said, I’ll start this debut post with some back fill as to how I took the first step on this journey…bear with me.

My first steps (or should I say crawl) took place about two years ago. My cousin asked me to score a 10 minute film that he and his friends shot. This film was to be submitted to an international film festival. I jumped at the opportunity because I had never done music-to-film before and figured, “Why not? It can’t be that hard”. After I started I found the complete opposite to be true. Couple that with the fact i was unemployed and constantly looking for a main 9-5 again, it didn’t work out.

Fast forward to last year, my current PR gal, Felicia Hodges, turned me on to her cousin, who happens to be a screenwriter that has heard my releases and work in progress tracks on my Soundcloud account. Next thing I know, I’m being asked to score the music for her webseries which is already in production. I, being in a better space than I was with my previous try, jumped on it again. Doing so made me realize that, despite getting another crack at this, found it is no more easier than it was before.

Scoring music to film is not like writing and producing music for yourself. That music for the film must be synergistic with the visuals that lie atop the music, so it helps convey the story in the way the screenwriter intends, as well as delivering the essence of what is going on at every place music is used to convey whatever is meant to be conveyed. That is no easy feat, but I have been told by mentor to “make it fun and enjoy what you’re doing: (more on him later).

Prior to writing this, I’ve received rough video for the first two episodes as well as the title sequence (the opening video for each episode). I (as I usually take this logical approach) have been reading a lot articles and spending time collecting YouTube videos for reference. So far, surprisingly, the juices are flowing 🙂

In these posts, I’ll go in to some detail about the composition tools I’m using (my music production friends will love that), as well my own feelings. I’m excited but I admit my confidence level is not where I wanted to be yet …guess I need to correlate this to learning how to ride a bile – gotta start off with training wheels.

Much thanks in advance to my mentor, various composers and music producers on Facebook that were more than glad to spend time sharing their thoughts and advice – it’s highly appreciated – more of who they are is forthcoming,

Last night I completed the first musical idea for the aforementioned title sequence and have an idea for another. My in-house creative consultant (bka wife) likes what she’s heard so far for that. As for the bridging music for the first two themes, I’ve got detailed notes written down in studio log…..let’s see if I can translate what I hear in my head to what everyone else will hear (and see) for the video. The challenge begins.

In the next post, I’ll elaborate a little more on what’s been done and how, as well as the tech side of what I’m using, tool wise.

Thanks for bearing with my “long windedness” and thanks for the read as well.

Peace,
Fresh

Remember Challenger (STS-51L): 30 Years Today

Challenger

Greetings all…

Today, marks 30 years go that we lost the Challenger crew of the STS 51L mission to an explosion of The Shuttle, 73 seconds into flight. It was, as many tragic accidents (and not just in spaceflight), a very sad day.

I remember it almost like it was yesterday. I was still in Bridgeport, CT….a fresh college graduate looking to see if I’d land my first career job in that state. While that was not the case, I took a small job while interviewing ine area. That job was working at a cable company working on cable box electronic assemblies.

That morning, we had the TV on at work, anxious to see another successful Shuttle launch. I had always had an interest in space and space exploration. While it was greater at some points in my life than others, nonetheless it still remained (like many young boys, I, too, wanted to be an astronaut at some time).

The liftoff was nominal, ascent was the same way, telemetry was downlinking with no issues as I remember, and it was a gorgeous morning. At a little over a minute in, tragedy ensued, as I watched the Shuttle explode right before my eyes. Even awhile after it happened, I still couldn’t believe what I saw, nor could I believe the sadness that over took me. I’ve never seen a space exploration accident happen before, and have never seen one since, but that day still lives within me.

When I’d heard what the cause of the mishap was, I could immediately understand it, though I no where knew about space vehicles what I currently do today. What I didn’t know, is something that learned of while listening to NPR on the way home from work today. Something that made me want to post this weblog. I have to admit that I was all over again saddened as I drove home listening to this, but in an entirely new and different way. What I listened to was the first time ever released story of Morton Thiokol engineer Bob Ebeling, who up until today, remained an anonymous source for NPR’s 1986 report on the disaster. He told NPR about he and another engineer basically begged NASA not to launch the Challenger mission that day due to temperatures being too cold to launch. He, for 30 years, carried the guilt of feeling he could have done more than just presenting the data to NASA providing they should not have launched. You can read the story and listen to Bob, who is 89 years old today, by clicking here.

I may listen to this excerpt again, but not any time soon. I can only imagine what he has carried inside of mental state for so long after this tragedy.

Another story that elaborates on report the facts of this mission and crew loss (again by NPR can be found here.

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The crew of the Challenger mission are as follows:
Commander Dick Scobee; co-pilot Michael Smith; Ellison Onizuka, the first Asian-American in space; Judith Resnik; Ronald McNair, the second African-American in space; Christa McAuliffe; and Gregory Jarvis.

Today there was a special memorial held at Kennedy Space Center. where June Scobee Rogers, the wife of then CDR Dick Scobee, addressed the crowd with words of hope.

The crew is now longer with us, but you are far from being forgotten. Ad Astra.

Thanks for reading.

Peace,
F!

A Southern Road Trip

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So…greetings readers. First off, Happy 2016 to you, wherever you maybe. I hope this post finds you well. It’s 10:13pm EST and I decided to get this post out before I turned in. I’m sitting in the studio sipping on some iced green tea, listening to the latest by The Jeff Lorber Fusion, Step It Up.

I took a road trip to Georgia this weekend to drop my daughter back at college. It was a quick one, as we left yesterday morning and got back this evening. I’m used to the drive now, but fortunately can split it between me and my wife.

The “OJ” (for those who are not familiar with that term, it’s slang for rental car, the term came from the old OJ Simpson commercials for Hertz Rent A Car. If you don’t know who OJ Simpson, I’m not the only one dating myself LOL) was a Ford Fusion Titanium, which may just be my next car. The ride is very smooth AND it’s entertainment systems fully recognizes my iPod and all music/playlists on in via a USB connection. MAJOR PLUS.

One thing about a roadtrip of this length is that there is plenty of time for napping, conversing, laughing, reading, being quiet, etc. Got a lot or organizing done, plus began reading a new novel I got for Christmas.

We stayed in a hotel (which I won’t name) that was pretty decent, but the oddest thing I found about it is that, while it was fully equipped for cable TV channels, I don’t think it was equipped for internet because it had one of THESE in there (I am still surprised and chuckling big time, and if you know what this is, you’re dating yourself AGAIN).

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Left GA this morning at 8:15pm and with minor traffic in VA, one gas two food stops, we made it back in exactly 9.5 hours to the minute. Was a good and efficient trip, we didnt seem to eat up the entire weekend (well, even though it did, it didn’t feel like it).

The bridge above is a shot I caught if it as we left Savannah, which is on the edge of South Carolina. For a non-abstract shot of it, here it is, the Eugene Talmadge Bridge in Savannah (U.S. 17)

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Thanks for the read, I’m out.

Peace.
F!