It’s Mermaid Time: DIY Short Film Scoring, Part 2: Inspiration

This is the second part in a series following my process of composing music for a short film. I’ll take you along on the creative journey with a specific real-world example, from conception through festival premiere. At the end of the series, see the finished product and listen to the full score!

This second part will take you through my process for collecting and cultivating inspiration specific to this project.

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It’s Mermaid Time: DIY Short Film Scoring, Part 1: The Project

This is the first part in a series following my process of composing music for a short film. I’ll take you along on the creative journey with a specific real-world example, from conception through festival premiere. At the end of the series, see the finished product and listen to the full score!

This first part will introduce the project specifics and lay out the details I considered before deciding to tackling it.

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New Film Project in the Works

DIY Film Composer will go on a brief hiatus for the next few weeks as I work on a new film project.

I am composing the music for a short film that is slated to get a festival premiere in the spring. As I craft the score, I plan on documenting every step along the way. Then I will share the experience here in a series of in-depth DIY posts that walk through the entire process. Hopefully you’ll be able to learn from my workflow (and my missteps).

Stay tuned, great things are coming!

DIY Instruments: The Apprehension Engine Part 2: Application

Following up on part one, this article walks through how to build and play elements of “The Apprehension Engine.” The original, as made by Mark Korven and Tony Duggan-Smith, is a work of art. It’s a single instrument with various ways of creating fear-inducing sounds. I’m not trying to duplicate their design, but instead illustrate how my favorite elements work. Building your own DIY instruments will bring a unique flavor to your film music. Using this guide will hopefully spark your creativity when working on your next film score that requires bone-chilling atmosphere.

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DIY Instruments: The Apprehension Engine Part 1: Introduction

Embracing the do-it-yourself spirit, this is the first post in a series about DIY instruments. And we’re kicking things off with a really interesting, film composer-specific instrument dubbed “The Apprehension Engine.” It combines many unique elements to produce bone-chilling sounds that are perfect for a horror movie. Let’s look at what it does and how it works. Then in future posts, we’ll look at how we can replicate its elements to create unique sounds for our own horror movie scores.

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Mark Mothersbaugh: Film Composer Profile

Aside from a select few, most film composers are not household names. You probably know their music, but not their names or the other films they’ve worked on. In this post we’ll look at one composer in particular, Mark Mothersbaugh. He has had a long and varied career, and has written a lot of fun, beloved film scores.

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Easy Film Scoring Strategy: Imitate The Masters

If you’re still learning the ins and outs of film scoring – or just need some quick inspiration – try looking at the work of film composers who have come before you as a template.  Film scoring is never truly easy, but you can help yourself out by basing some of your composition on existing music. This post will outline some ideas for implementing this, depending on what you need.

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Finding the perfect tempo for a film score

Is there a perfect tempo for a film score? Shouldn’t it be driven by the mood of the particular moment, or the style of the music? Does it even have to be constant?

At first blush, determining the perfect tempo may not seem that important when it comes to film composing. But, while there may not be one perfect tempo, there are a handful that work better than others. Read on to see what factors make one tempo better than another for a film score.

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The Top 10 Best Film Scores?

What films are on your list for the best film scores of all time? Cinefix has just released a 20-minute treatise on their favorites. Check out the video and read my analysis here.

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Female Film Composers

When you think of famous film composers, how many women are in your list? Probably not many, maybe none. That’s a shame, because there are a lot of great female film composers (both past and present). In a male-dominated industry, it’s important to call out some of the women who deserve some of the spotlight.

Who knows? Maybe your favorite film was scored by a woman and you didn’t even realize it.

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