Film Scoring – The Journey – Day 4 – Official Biz

Screen shot 2016-05-21 at 10.32.56 AM

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….

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 12.28.17 AM

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

Blog Photo - Lab Movie Scoring

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.

bp1

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

scadbridge

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).

IMG_6788

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)

us-017_ga-404s_sb_talmadge_br_01

Thanks for the read, I’m out.

Peace.
F!

A Mountain Christmas 2015 – The Recap

1540386_957794994270083_4988327770808175214_o

Greetings…

Thanks for stopping by. I hope your Christmas (and New Year’s Day – if you are reading this after the 1st) was great. This year was the first time I’ve spent Christmas day in neither of the usual places for the last 20 years…and this was in Swanton, MD, not too far from the West Virginia line.

This was a trip set up by my sister-in-law, Julie The Cruise Director (just kidding – she’s just been the one to plan a lot of family trips over the years), primarily for my mother-in-law to relax, as it’s been somewhat of a challenging year, health wise.

The name of the “resort” escapes me but the amenities are basically high multi-bedroom, finished basement units all overlooking the lake. So nice, that I’d recommend it to others.

So, the squad numbered a whopping 19 people….good thing the house was big enough to accommodate everyone, it didn’t feel claustrophobic at all for the three days there, as there were plenty of bedrooms on all three levels.

The afternoon of Christmas Eve, I finally got on the road to pick up my wife’s nephew, his two kids and his aunt’s step son. We left the DC metro area at 4:45 pm and arrived three hours later, shaving a slim three minutes off the Google Maps prediction. The ride was smooth and we encountered no traffic at all, though we were the last one to arrive (most of the family arrived the day before).

Screen shot 2015-12-27 at 10.56.42 PM

Since we pulled up the rear, hunger was at an all time high. After greeting everyone (and finding our we got there a half hour after my other sis-in-law (who left 90 minutes before us) I ate, and chilled out.

The remainder of the trip was really cool, hanging out, watching TV, shooting pool and eating, and eating, and eating :-). Three little ones and an infant made the trip enjoyable too.

One thing I found I need the most was…..sleep. I slept…A LOT…which I had no bones about doing. None, because I know that opportunity probably won’t happen for some time to come. Yeah, I brought my laptop, which never got booted up…but then again, I had three novels with me whose pages didnt see the light of day either. I was just super lazy.

Though I didn’t get to take as many pictures as I expected, the landscape was super scenic. The weather was quite agreeable as well, so all in all, it was a good trip.

Driving back in the day time this morning, I believe, afforded me even a quicker trip back. It was a total of four major arteries and there was no traffic at all. One of the most pleasant parts of the trip back was educational, in a way. I got schooled on the residential solar panel industry that my wife’s young nephew works in. Seeing that this is his first real careeer, it was great to hear how happy and enthusiastic he is about the field. It seems he is well on his way to become a team supervisor after a year in the job. For a three hour drive, even in the short amount of time we talked (close to an hour), I got to learn things about him I never knew….all good at that.

Got home in enough time to catch the 1pm NFL games but peeked at a few…all the teams I’d hope would win (except for the Jets) lost. Oh well…today was definitely relaxing. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Peace…have a great week.

Fresh!

A blog post about…blogging.

blogging Desk+Mac

Greetings readers. This is a blog post about…well, blogging. I, along with a few friends here on the net, did a fair amount of blogging in almost the last decade. This was when both Facebook, Twitter and the iPhone were just born. Needless to say, the instantaneous realism of social media’s ability to be constantly in your face was non-existent. It was then that many of us were blogging regularly.

Lately, (as I mentioned to my fellow blogger AND podcaster and geek brother DarrenKeith, we’re bombarded with social media notiifications and updates via our mobile devices and desktop computers that it seems blogging has gone by the wayside.

While I don’t profess to be a writer to any extent, blogging gives one a sense of ownership in a way that posting other media doesn’t (at least to me). So, once again, I think I’ll make an earnest effort to start blogging more – not with the hopes of gaining a large amount of comments (like all secretly desire on FB, Instagram, etc), but just moreso for the joy of expression and sharing via writing. Never know WHO will enjoy the read.

Peace,
Fresh.

San Francisco – A Nice Two Day Trip

LucasFilm

Greetings readers,

It’s been awhile since I posted a blog, so I thought I’d share a short summary of trip I took to San Francisco earlier this month. I accompanied my daughter on her all-expense paid trip, sponsored by the Keds/BraveLife Foundation. She was chosen by this foundation based upon an essay she submitted about her dreams and aspirations of becoming an animator. The foundation will be filming a mini-documentary of her doing a one-day mentorship with Maya (last name), an animator and illustrator employed by LucasFilms.

Day 1 – San Francisco Trip – 3:00 am

Our trip started out by leaving the house at 3am to catch our respective flights on Delta Airlines out of BWI. It wasn’t her first time flying but was her first time flying without any family and having to make her connecting flights, as well as arriving in San Fran two hours earlier than me.

8L03 am: With one carry on each, she seemed to pack a little lighter than me, but I’m carrying more reading material than her (insert pics)

Caught a little nap shortly after we took off but it already seems we’re preparing for descent to the ATL with a layover of 90 mins. My daughter should be wheels up out of Detroit.

9:08 sm: At the gate for the connecting flight to SFO…already dreading a possible two days out of the gym. Here’s hoping the hotel has a workout facility. This just in: “Hey Dad, dunno if your flight left yet, but I’m still here in Detroit, I’m on the plane but I guess their waiting for something, so we may come in close to the same time”. Turns out it was an hour delay in the ground.

She gets to SFO at 11am and me an hour later. Now, waiting for our rep to meet us and have lunch.

1:34pm – Taking our first Uber drive to the hotel. So much for the shuttle. 

2:15pm – Lunch at Sweet Woodruffs. Excellent good, quaint corner restaurant that allowed us a view of some guy with a mohawk and his female friend involved in an argument and beatdown with some other woman. A citizen was crossing the street and whipped out his phone to catch all of this on video. Next thing we know, three police cars and an SUV were on the scene. Even the SF Fire Dept. showed up (the fire department ??)

3:15 pm. Back to the hotel, the semi-swank Kensington Hotel, for a break before my daughter when to be filmed talking about this mentorship, etc with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Me? I chilled #jetlag

7:45pm. We venture out for dinner, initially heading to explore Chinatown but got confused via what Google Maps was telling us. Some more nearby exploring in Union Square brought us to a nearby. Cheesecake Factoey, in which we found that we probably wouldn’t be taking te first bites of our meal until 10pm. Our final eat stop: Jack In The Box lol. We eventually walked to the tip of Chinatown then back to the hotel. Our room is $300/night (penthouse is $400), nice amenities but I no gym, which I won’t see until Thursday…grrrr!

Day 2

6:00am – Four alarm clocks go off so we’re not late for a 7:45am meet at the front desk. My daughter, not knowing how to turn off te fancy iHOme alarm, proceeds to hit me in te head with a pillow so I can turn it off. 

8:00am – We depart the fabulous Kensington Park Hotel (with no workout facility) and pack into van with the film crew and company reps and head through downtown San Fran towards LucasFilms.

9:00am – We arrive at the campus of LucasFilms and meet our host for the day, Allison. The lobby area is pretty much all Star Wars regalia. As the film crew follows, we get our badges and proceed to the conference room on the second floor for breakfast and a small briefing as to what happens next. After snapping many pics and shooting video shorts, I’m kindly told that nothing recorded above the second floor is to be posted on social media 🙂

10:00am – The film crew is all set up and ready to start recording Danielle and Maia’s face-to-face which, in the end, went smashing! Maia let me know she really enjoyed talking with Danielle and that they shared a lot in common. Afterwords. Allison gave us a mini-your of the campus and the film crew shot more footage of Danielle around campus.

1230pm: We depart LucasFilm as head back to the hotel area where even more B-footage is shot of Danielle walking downtown, boarding a streetcar, etc.

SFS

2:30pm We head uptown to The Fly Restaurant for a great lunch, shooting the breeze with the film crew as company rep, wrapping up with a recap of all the great activities of this trip. I highly recommend this restaurant if you ever visit, the food is phenomenal.

Fly

530pm: We say goodbye to all, hop in an Uber car to the airport, with plenty of time to spare. Ironically, both our flights suffered massive delays to the point where we coincidentally ended up on the same red-eye non-stop headed back home.

11:19pm – Wheels up, Danielle is sitting next to me half asleep. I have a feeling I won’t be too far behind her. Thanks for reading.

Peace.