Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Running, Jumping, Standing Still

Writing music for anything is a hurry up and wait kind of thing.

You can find out you have a show to score- and it can be anything- and you wait. And wait. The edit always takes longer than you expect. Much longer. The client wants changes. More changes.

Then finally when it's YOUR turn,  You Have 1 (ONE) Day! OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but not much. Inevitably, since you are the last cog in the food chain (sorry for the mixed metaphor) you are right up against deadline. Not much time for revisions, introspection or second-guessing. Better pretty much nail it first time.

I must be an adrenaline junky, because I rather like that.

Oh and one more thing- Murphy's Law #74: If you have planned a vacation, family visit or proctologist appointment you can be assured you will finally get presented with the show to score on that day! yes you can plan that European Vacation months in advance, assured there will be a last-minute panic that will almost require you to cancel. Almost. You just learn to work fast. And that, my chickens, is the key.

A number of years ago I was offered a scoring job on a television series. There were 3 other composers who were given an episode to score- on spec. I don't generally like to to do spec work, but this case was different and I would have screwed my grandmother to get a notionally- broadcast and syndicated TV show to score. Thankfully then, as now, both my grandmothers were dead (and they still are) so I didn't have to live up to that part of the bargain. But if I had to...wait.....naaaah.

Anyway....where was I? Oh yes. I got a show to score on the Monday. I had it done by Monday afternoon. Drove it to the production office for the producers to see. They called back with some changes- which I made and delivered a new version by noon on Tuesday. You will note that this was before the era of putting Quicktime files up online for approvals- I had to copy it all to VHS and bring the hard copy to the producers. Over broken glass. During a hurricane.

Anyway, long story short, it was approved and on the air on the following Friday. I was given another one to do....and later another one....and another one. I found out that the other guys hadn't even handed anything in after 3 weeks. Come on, People, it was maybe FOUR minutes of music to write. We're not talking about emulating Mahler here. I guess they just couldn't get the "vibe", Or they couldn't decide on a snare drum sound. Or maybe they weren't as slutty with their grandmothers as I was willing to be. Whatever the case, the gig became mine.

They don't call it 'scoring' for nothing.

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