Silk Boy Post Mortem #3
A theme can do many things in a movie.
In this animated film I had read the script and started planning the score as best I could, which meant deciding which character, places and events would have themes.
But, as always, having a script is one thing and the final film is another. I ended up needing fewer things than I had planned on.
My composition teacher would often tell me that a good composer does a lot with a little. It always made sense to me somehow, and I do understand why now: because then the elements all feel like they “belong” together for the listener.
In film scores, it’s the same idea, to make a coherent musical landscape that supports the drama, and there as well it is good to use limited musical material.
In Harry Potter, John Williams uses the Quidditch theme for the snake’s escape earlier in the film.
This was an eye-opener for me: even though a snake and Quidditch are not related story wise, the music worked in both instance, and the end result is the use of limited material, a more coherent score, and melodies that get repeated more and thus become more memorable.
So in Silk Boy, this meant that certain themes which I initially conceived as being for a single character (in Prokofiev-like fashion) became themes for relationships.
These relationships are between the protagonist, Silkboy, and some of the other characters; grandfather, Tammy and Anya.
What that meant is that I had fewer themes and that, interestingly, Silkboy doesn’t really have much of a theme, only a guitar riff that plays when he is first presented and that is it!
The bad guys in the film have themes for their character, especially Filthington, the main baddie, which has the most developed theme of all. And also the mushrooms, which represents all of them, although I thought of one specifically as I wrote it: Puffball, which is actually quite a funny character.
But I digress; the bottom line is themes in a movie should be kept to a minimum, and that a theme can be used to support story elements that they were not initially intended to support.
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