Thursday, September 02, 2010

Maybe this time.

About a week ago I had a meeting with the director of "The Burmese Lion" to talk about the opening theme music.  Up to that point I had done up three treatments for him to use, and he didn't think they were quite right.  All had strong melodic themes and big orchestral sound, but didn't seem to be what he wanted.  So I needed to talk to him face to face to try and understand what he was looking for.  He said he is not musically inclined so he was having a hard time articulating what he wanted to hear musically.  He brought in a few examples from other movies to show what he wanted and liked.  My three previous ideas had big openings, and immediate melodic theme, but I could tell from his examples he was looking for more mystery, a way to sneak the melodic theme in at first, just to hint at it.  Then a large fast build to the main theme played tutti.  He had the example of the 1994 Alex Baldwin film "The Shadow" and after hearing the rather 90s opening it became clear about what he was looking for.

I then went to work and now I think we have it.  I worked on the main theme again (Post to follow) more what he wants.  He cut the opening credits and title to it and I'm happy to say I think this will work. 

He had some concerns about levels and "Synthiness" of some of the instruments, which is to be expected.  I need to just remember to fully finished the mixing and midi settings before I send a "Rough Draft" especially when I know that the people I'm sending it to have very specific ideas of what they like, and are not as experienced musically.  People are so used to hearing the FULL production value of material now.  When Directors use needle drops from other movies against their own picture it is hard for a composer to compete with that.  The London Symphony orchestra is some hard competition to my little midi set up. 

But all that being said I think this will work, I'll post the results when I get home, and put some of the other ideas up that I came up with first.  

Till next time... 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Starting again, Fall

Okay gearing up for fall and the musicals and writing that will happen.  I'm going to try and blog more about the music writing process.

I'm currently writing the music for a web series that will be coming out soon from Devilish Motion Pictures "The Inspector Jimmy" series.  I'm very excited about this project, it's done in the film noir style, and I get to write some great orchestrated pieces.  So look for that soon!

I'll be adding more as I tackle different parts of the web series.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

A day off

The day off. It's been a long long week. We've just finished Tech week here in Chemainus. Many a 12 hour day the last few days. So as you can imagine I'm tired, it's been very stressful, I seem to be taking it out on my body though. My jaw feels locked, and I can't relax it. Even though it's been a long few days, the pay off is good. We had a good run yesterday, and we got a lot done. The show will be great and people will really like it. Everyone in the cast and crew is working their butts off to make this a great production. They only complaint I have... well one of the main concerns is the size of my band platform. We can barely fit a keyboard in there, and I have 5 musicians at any given time. We've had to move musician down to the floor on the stage left side. I'm so happy to just be doing nothing today, though it's raining of course. There is supposed to be a BBQ at Alex (SM) and Sam's house today, but... who knows.. as you can see.. he's not happy about pictures being taken...
So I'm off to the bank, and to get some groceries. Hope the weather clears.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The first rehearsals "Anything Goes"

On March 12th I had a one off rehearsal with the leads of Anything Goes. It was just a music rehearsal so my plan was to just sing through the solos and duets and maybe get to some harmony work. I thought it went very well and I was looking forward to starting officially on Sunday April 8th (Easter Sunday) So the Sunday and Monday came where again I was alone doing music. The first day I went through all the harmonies and solos again and I saved Monday for the real test... adding the instruments. Monday went very well considering I hadn't heard anyone play their instruments at all. I had know idea if they were beginners or advanced players. I was very thankful to hear that everyone was very competent. We managed to get though the whole show playing and working out who will be playing what where. Todd and I had to pre-block the show on paper so we would know who would be available to play at any given time. I'm so glad we did. It helped so much. After getting through a long Monday, we ended and I came back to Vancouver to see Jenn and get ready for the official meet-and-greet on Friday.

After a rough Ferry ride on that Friday to get back to the island we got in a bit later they I had hoped. Daniel Pitout who came for the ride, needed to get to his place before we could go to the rehearsal hall. We got there about 15 minutes late, and we found ourselves walking into the room in front of all the production staff of the theatre and all the cast facing them ready to start.. already waiting for us.... OOPS! Oh well it didn't matter we got right on and did a read through and sing though of the show. It was a lot of pressure, even though you know that people are not really expecting anything close to perfection, it still feels like they are expecting to be entertained. So I found myself playing like it was a show. After that, things seemed much calmer, we settled down and the production staff talked about all their business ie. Costumes, sets, sound etc. Everything looks and will be great. After the speeches we got down to blocking. We are very short on time with the rehearsals only 3 days a week we don't get as much done as we would like before we have to stop.

We've now blocked the show going into our 4th week of rehearsals. It's coming along great. This is always a crazy time for Actors and directors. It's that time where we just run the show, and it either platous or it reaches higher, and gets better all the time. I have a feeling this show is get better and sound better all the time. I can understand how some people can't see the light sometimes because it seems like such a daunting task, but I've worked in tighter situations with much less talented people and we've weaved gold. I think we'll be great.

Todd Talbot is directing, and he's doing a great job. I love to work with different people and see what kind of style they use. I think his is perfectly set to do a show like this under such a tight time frame. He's efficient and purposeful about the work. And the choreography will look beautiful.

Today is Thursday and I'm heading back for rehearsals tomorrow morning bright and early. I will update you on any new and fun developments in the near future. I hope you all can come and see the show which opens in just under a month. See you all soon


Monday, April 23, 2007

From the Big Easy to the Big Disney... Watch them Wednesday 7pm

YES as Amanda pointed out I haven't written my feelings on the game. The Canucks won the game if you haven't heard. It was a really important game for so many reasons, but one mostly: How would we pull through as a team the history of Canuck disappointments and finish a team off. The Canucks pulled out a big team effort, topped only by the highlight of Trevor Linden scoring the go-ahead goal. He's the league's 7th game clutch player, and it was a perfect moment for me to see. SO ON TO THE DUCKS, and the back story of the Duck's current and former Canuck GM Brian Burke and his protege and now Canuck GM Dave Nonis. They are going head to head in the playoffs... SO EXCITING. We get to enjoy the Canucks run for at least another 4 Games.

As for me, I have so much to tell about all the rehearsals and island life here in Chemainus, but I have been so busy doing it, I haven't had much of a chance. I'll have to collect my thoughts and put them down for you in a day or two. Look for the next chapter: "The first rehearsal" soon.

Well I'm catching the 10:30 Ferry tomorrow back to Vancouver for a couple of days until my next rehearsal on Friday.



6pm puck drop---->

It's 6pm on Monday April 23 2007 Canucks are in Game 7 of the first round series against the Dallas Stars. I know I haven't written for a little while, but if we will tonight, I will write back right after the game and let you know how I'm doing... I'm not quite sure how I'm doing right now until the end of the game.... See you soon... at about 8:30pm

Cross your fingers.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

De Wiz

Wednesday morning was another great event. We had a few friends to De Dutch again for a some food and frivolity. Jim, Pam, Randy, Helen, Jenn, Ryan, Scott, and me, had a great time chatting about theatre, golf, computers, vacations... you name it. I'm hardly old, but I've known for quite a few years now, that as I get older these moments are the ones you look back on. When I was younger you think that going out to a club, drinking and partying is how you have a good time. But now I know that waiting in line at a club is not the idea of a good time when I could be at home with some friends talking, and making memories is more fun. I'm glad I have good friends who agree with me. We all stayed and talked for a couple of hours. Jenn was having a good time so she decided to miss half and hour of her class at school to stay a bit longer. Thanks to all that attended, and we hope to get out more people next time. Hey, maybe we should turn it into a fundraiser!!.. well maybe not! but see you there.

On Thursday we went to "The Wiz" at Cap college. We had a few friends in the show, so we were excited to see it. I haven't seen a staged version of the show before, so this was a new one for me also. I had talked to Shelley the choreographer earlier in the day so I knew she would be there to watch some of the show. I'm glad she was there, I haven't seen her for a long time. Ryan and SAS joined us for the show, and we all got ticket together.

The show was... good. Now before you say anything, I actually mean it. I definitely was not my favorite show. The show itself is not that strong. Yes it's the basic story of the Wizard of Oz, but it was intended to be an all black cast, which this show was not. So there was "black" dialogue and situations written into the script that was intended for the time period in which it was written. These things get a little lost on a mostly white, Vancouver audience. If we were black living in New York in the 70s, these things might have rung more true. Now there were other elements that were GREAT! First the band was good, Kevin had a good mix of players, and the score is fun and upbeat with some perfect throw back with Wa Wa guitar and funky string lines. The balanced mix of mics covering the band was good I wished Kevin had stuck around after the show longer so I could tell him myself how much I enjoyed the band. Our friends in the show were great. Michaela Scott as the Lion was adorable, and was perfect for the role. All the dancers were great and I very much enjoyed Shelley's choreography throughout the show. But a special mention goes out to Brandyn Eddy as the Scarecrow. He had a great relaxed style that was exactly what the show needed, his voice sounded great and his movements were ideal. Good Job! And lastly the costumes were very well done also, with a program of so many students, Gillian has done a great job incorporating new parts into shows, and making the students create characters themselves. I enjoyed the "Tornado," and the "Yellow Brick Roads" The idea works and it adds some life an colour into the show.

Finally I would like to say that the biggest shame about the show was the lack of volume from the vocal mics. People often say to me as a music director, is the band to loud or are the actor's not singing clearly. Well I can say in the production of the Wiz that the band was a good level, it's a funky rock show, so the sound should be in your face, but the vocal mics were just too low. I don't know why they didn't turn them up. They didn't seem to have any problems with feedback, they weren't pushing it too much. With a show like this where the vocals for the girls is low most of the time the sound mixer needs to help them get up over the band. That's my only real criticism about the Cap show, besides the show itself, which they can't help. They students did a great job regardless. Can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Banana Boys

Saw Banana Boys on Saturday. Jenn and I went to see the show at the Firehall Theatre for the Matinee. Our friend Vince, and Rick, were both in the show so we were excited to see it. I knew going in that the show revolves around 5 men of Chinese decent, and their friendship in Canada. In case you don't get the banana boys reference it means yellow on the outside and white on the inside. I thought the show was well writen, but it had a few flaws. First of all I thought both Vince and Rick were great. Not just because they are friends of mine, but they were truly good. The same can be said for 2 of the other friends: The writer, and the friend who can't stop calling his girlfriend. The long and the short of it is, the character who is supposed to be the "lead" was a let down. The role could have been played so much better. I feel that at the end of the show, where we as an audience are supposed to be invested emotionally, we just weren't at the state of caring for him at all. The role is played up to be a very important point of the plot and helps change the other characters at the end. It just didn't happen. Please, Please... if you want to convince an audience that the character is a tough, driven business man that would do anything to succeed including taking so many uppers that he might die. PLEASE cast an actor that can play straight. I do not believe a man with a lisp, talking about having sex with multiple women. I can not suspend my disbelief enough to buy it. We live in Vancouver, and it's 2007, we know that gay people exist. As and audience member I can no longer think that he just has "feminine" qualities. We have broken down those Taboos, where we just don't talk about "it" anymore. It's not 1945 mid west America. I want to congratulate all the other actors in the show for their performances. There was some great acting moments. I wish they had shortened that show a bit though, too much manufactured anger at the end. I'm sad to say the show closed Saturday evening so people can't see it anymore. I am glad that the Firehall is putting on good Canadian content that isn't just about the prairies, and "Canadian" dialogue.