Animated Feature – Scheduling Stress
With this diary it was my goal to write about the process of composing the score for Silk Boy, including all the ups and downs in such musical creation.
Here’s the thing; I have not started the orchestral underscore yet.
I am still waiting on the first act to get going, and have not seen any of the other animation.
Now, I am not blaming anyone for this. Without going into details, let’s just say they had some problems and are running behind schedule.
So I have laid low and let them work things out, doing whatever work I could in the meantime: working out themes and doing some work with the rough cut of the first act. I need to be a help, not a hindrance.
The way I see it is simple; I am a member of the film making team and I am in charge of making the score an asset to the film. That means making a great score that is delivered on time and on budget.
So now, in order to deliver on time and to have the score ready for the recording date of January 18, I cannot lay low any longer. I am already behind schedule!
There is a lot of music to write and it’s all cartoon action fantasy stuff. That means lots of orchestra and lots of timings to hit!
Just to give you some perspective; Carl Stalling, the composer of most of the great Warner Brothers Cartoons, wrote the music for one 6 minute short every week for 22 years. That averages to about 1 minute of writing a day, and he already had all the timings and wrote only for piano!
I am not Carl Stalling, I do not yet have his experience and if I start this Monday (Sept. 28) I will have to do 1’30” everyday, fully orchestrated music ready for the copyist, including a mock-up for the director!
This amount of music is still something I can manage, but if things start getting much later it will be difficult to deliver a score of consistent quality.
So, as a member of the film making team, it is my duty to make sure that the rest of the team is aware of the music production schedule. I have drawn up a calendar with the important dates and a countdown, which is now in the hands of the director and production manager.
Actually, this role of “music production manager” is something I have never had to do, but animation is a different beast altogether. So it makes sense to me to do this, and I actually wish I had done this sooner. (In my defense, I was supposed to get the first act in final cut a few weeks back.)
In big Hollywood productions, films go over their production schedules consistently, which shaves time off the music side of things. But they have money for orchestrators and music editors and an army of copyists.
On this film, I am composer and orchestrator and I have one copyist. (Something I am quite proud of, actually. No Remote Control Productions here! It’s Golden Age all the way for me!)
So it’s time to kick it up to Warp 9!
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