Filmmakers today have unprecedented control over what goes into the their films. With HD cameras now costing less than $1000 (Sanyo’s HD1) and MacBooks with FinalCutPro or even iMovie – you can create films with a total kit costing less than $3000!!
With the hands-on, DIY ethic that has emerged, everything that used to be complicated and difficult about filmmaking is now enormously easier. This has also happened with music with Apple’s GarageBand, Sony’s ACID and a ton of music making software that enables the slightly talented to sound genius, or almost.
So what about scoring your film? As an indie filmmaker, you probably were your own Rebel without a Crew staffing the DP, Art Director, Gaffer, Director, Casting and Editor positions of your film. Maybe even Caterer and Location Scout and Morale Support. Why not just write your own music too using these easy to use cheap tools?
And, with the emergence of new software like Sony’s Cinescore, who needs a Composer nowadays anyway? Aren’t they just like last century’s Coopers? Who needs a barrel-maker anymore?
Well, yes, you as a filmmaker can do everything yourself.
Robert Rodriguez actually tries to do it all himself even with big budget Hollywood and the unions…for which I think his films suffer. The beauty of film is a team effort and the exponential magic that happens when great minds contribute to a whole. But that’s for another post.
Now of course, you’re thinking, cut the crap, I’ve got $5 to make this picture – who needs a Composer?
And here’s my argument. Music is a direct line to the heart. It is the “feel” of the movie. People slink down in their seats when the horrific music signals to them that they should. If you have the abilities to create that in addition to creating your film, then go ahead. It is doable. But to do it well is another thing. Try Cinescoring a soundtrack as indelible, evocative and as proprietarily mnemonic as John WIlliams’ Jaws.
And why suffer when for 5 to 10% of your production budget, you can have a dedicated, raving, film-loving music-making pro actually doing this with you?
Now the only hard part is communicating exactly what it is you want/need/desire. We’ll tackle this in a later post. And if you don’t know what you want (not unusual), no one in the world does. (please never say “I’ll know it when I hear it.”)
Here’s an interesting perspective on Sony Cinescore from Mark Northam, founder of Film Music Institute.