Hardest genre of film to write music for?

Forums Film Scoring Composing Hardest genre of film to write music for?

This topic contains 13 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Charles Gaskell Charles Gaskell 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #649
    Profile photo of Travis Lohmann
    Travis Lohmann
    • Topics: 2
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    Hi all, which genre of film do you feel is the most difficult of film to score? Comedy, Drama, Action,etc. Why?

  • #652
    Profile photo of Evan Evans
    Evan Evans
    • Topics: 31
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    Ok, well, first off, I’ll say that the most unrewarding, is Comedy. Because it’s music that’s best when it’s not taken seriously. And there’s nothing you can do about that. The better you write it, the less serious it’s to be taken. However, if you write for a sleeper hit romantic comedy, you can pretty much cry boohoo all the way to the bank, because you’ll have a whole new way of liking what you do for a living. Nothing will put a bigger smile on your face than getting the checks from something like “Mr. Poppers Penguins” for the rest of your life. You’ll be able to put your grandkids through Ivy League school after that. And that certainly makes up for a lot of artistic sacrifice.

    The easiest genre to write for, is anything which touches on fantasy or the supernatural. And that’s because you pretty much cannot go wrong. Since the bounds of drama are lifted for such a film, it means even if you are overscoring or being melodramatic, you’re not wrong, since BEYOND HUMAN is essentially free game uncharted territory and there are no actual ways to relate to whether or not the music is appropriate or not. It’s not difficult to be a Film Composer for such genred films (Sci-fi, Action, Adventure, Horror).

    So, all that said, the most difficult genre to write for, is the Psychological Thriller when it’s a human drama (no supernatural/fantasy elements). It requires the most subtle touch in the inbetween moments, and the most appropriate of music during the reveals, and the most poignant thought provoking narrative style music during all the setups, and every move you make musically constructs a serious part of the fabric of the film’s strategy, like a chess game. If one cue goes the wrong way, you could completely derail the entire movie for everyone.

    🎹 Evan Evans, Film Composer & Mentor, www.evanevans.org
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  • #800
    Profile photo of Derren Étienne
    Derren Étienne
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    Interesting reply. I am currently a Student at Bournemouth University in the UK, studying towards Music and Sound for Film, with intentions of doing a further Masters degree in Sound Design, so in light of this, I have tried to get myself involved with as many student projects as I can. Now, obviously, my experience is very limited and I am an amateur at best at the moment, but I have been involved in many projects already, and I have to say that my reply mirrors Evans, The easiest and more rewarding for me have been the fantasy and horror short films, whilst thrillers have been the most difficult. I have done one comedy and really didn’t enjoy it much at all.

    • #818
      Profile photo of Travis Lohmann
      Travis Lohmann
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      Evan! thank you so much for your response, Derren too. It’s really neath how specifically “psychological thriller” was mentioned. I love the posts about comedy too. Seems to me the comedies I’ve enjoyed are the ones where the music didn’t “take itself too seriously”? Recently the music I enjoyed was for “The Change Up” with Ryan Reynolds/Bateman. I really loved that score too, it felt minimal yet effective.

  • #845
    Profile photo of Sean Staples
    Sean Staples
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    I agree. Comedy is always the most challenging for me personally, but I think most people don’t consider the score that much in a comedic film. Since typically the content is not taken seriously, I think it just becomes something rarely considered…its kind of a strange concept really. Comedy’s the hardest nut to crack all the way around IMO!

    --
    Sean Staples
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    • #1115
      Profile photo of Travis Lohmann
      Travis Lohmann
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      I think i’d agree too that people don’t really consider the score much in a comedic film. 🙂

      • #1283
        Profile photo of Tim Maurice
        Tim Maurice
        • Topics: 2
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        Mmm, this is interesting. I can’t seem to remember any specific comedy melodies/themes. Dare I say it’s usually not very memorable?

        Composer, Arranger, Pianist

  • #1063
    Profile photo of Derren Étienne
    Derren Étienne
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    Part of me feels that comedies are better suited for playlists

  • #1193
    Profile photo of Ethan Blackburn
    Ethan Blackburn
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    I think straight-comedies (comedies without any other subgenre tied to them) generally have soundtracks.
    I’ve seen some romantic comedies that have nice scores which are probably taken more seriously.

  • #1225
    Profile photo of Subhash Sajja
    Subhash Sajja
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    Comedy music has been the most difficult one for me too. As a computer based musician, it’s hard to get the articulations right (especially using typical orchestral sample libraries) and it’s too obvious even to a novice if the music doesn’t support the funny scenes well enough or if similar motifs repeat often. I’m so inspired by Scott Bradley’s work in Tom and Jerry, it’s amazing how his music flows. Easiest for me was horror because building tension with detuned stuff and time based effects can arouse such feelings and as Evan said, there are no wrong answers there.

    • #1299
      Profile photo of Travis Lohmann
      Travis Lohmann
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      love the scott bradley stuff!!!!!! There’s a great youtube vid of it!

  • #2117
    Profile photo of Nathanael P Winarto
    Nathanael P Winarto
    • Topics: 1
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    Yes.. Definitely comedy.. Especially slapstick comedies.

  • #2961
    Profile photo of Tyler J. Wilkins
    Tyler J. Wilkins
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    I will echo the consensus here, as well. In my (limited) experience, Comedies are more difficult, but it makes them equally worthwhile Since they tend to be less ‘inspiring,’ it forces you to know your craft better. For me, personally, it has required I leave my comfort zone (e.g. composing for instruments that are not part of my typical template, such as mandolin, ukulele, etc…) and dipping into elements of sound design, as well.

    Additionally, at times, it’s been a challenge for me to retain a serious attitude about something humorous. #slidewhistle #justkidding #orami

    "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'" ~ Yoda

    TJ Wilkins - TJW Sounds  Creative & Collaborative Scoring

  • #2977
    Profile photo of Charles Gaskell
    Charles Gaskell
    • Topics: 4
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    To get down to specifics, Richard Kraft recently offered the following clip up

    as an “opportunity to score a sequence in a contemporary comedy/drama with an indie film vibe.”

    So, is this easy? Hard? Why?

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