Animated Feature – Dec 11. 2009
An action scene is not just an action scene. It is a part of the story. It is a story.
Like Jackie Chan says about his fight scenes, each one has a character and he approaches it as a story, with a beginning and an end.
Well, I am at the point of the climactic action scene and it’s important I get it right, so here’s what I did.
I knew this action scene was many things and I wanted that to be in the music.
- The action here is serious because the fate of the world depends on a successful outcome. So I need to play it serious otherwise it will just be horseplay.
- However, this is an animated film and even with all the seriousness, the fate of the world in the balance and all that, it would be just wrong to play it like a serious action piece in another film. So there’s a fine line to walk here.
- Furthermore, there is a lot of levity peppered throughout this sequence, it is filled with fanciful characters and really crazy things happen.
So yesterday and today I spent some time relaxing and listening to some music that would lead me in the right direction.
I could not find anything that fit, which is great because otherwise why hire me, right?
But just before lunch today, I found the materials I needed that pushed all the right buttons. Having a clear idea of what I needed to achieve with the music (serious and light) it eventually hit me to write octatonic lines supported by major harmony.
I have my “key” now that unlocks the door, and I will spend the rest of the afternoon writing out the theme and fishing for other materials, then tomorrow I will go ahead and write the cues.
Yesterday and today were very important and I have learned to consider this type of preparation as part of the composition process:
I spent time understanding the architecture of the film and what role the music would play. This means I know where I am going and will not just be feeling my way around blindly, note by note without a sense of the big picture. And knowing where you are going is the first step in actually getting there!
I spent time understanding the tone and finding the new musical materials I needed for that. So now that I know where I am going, I have the tools to get there.
My plan is to complete the score by Christmas, the 23rd to be exact, so 12 days to go!
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