About this project
Thanks for visiting our Kickstarter campaign! Last summer we set out to create a first-of-its-kind, definitive documentary about the power of film scores and the creativity that goes into them. As Emmy Award-winning journalists, we quickly knew we’d uncovered something magical: a privileged look at the lives of the world’s greatest living virtuosos.
Because Hollywood films are released around the world, film scores are the world’s most international music genre. Billions of people from Hong Kong to Brazil can hum the Star Wars theme as well as any American. And perhaps it’s no wonder. The combination of music and image is the world's most expressive medium, opening up a deep, emotional connection that inspires us, gives us goosebumps, and can make even the manliest men cry like a baby.
Our film will explore the power of film music as an art form, and why it’s famously been used to score graduation ceremonies, weddings, and even the President of the United States.
Writing a symphony is hard, but few musicians can craft symphonies around visuals, weaving new ideas and feelings into a film. Composers must be psychologists, able to identify and manipulate the emotions that make for powerful moments — much like a great writer uses words to communicate a brilliant idea.
Our film will explain the tricks composers use to make a powerful moment stick in our hearts — and how well-timed melodies and unconventional sounds turn heroes into villains and tension into triumph.
Never before has a documentary delved into the musical structure of the sounds that provoke and inspire us, despite film music's role as the symphonic music of today. Aside from the occasional DVD extra, film composers’ stories are too often ignored or simply forgotten, such as:
- Why Disney’s Frozen originally had a darker, more determined sound.
- The last-minute frenzy to re-score Pirates of the Caribbean after its original pirate score was thrown out.
- How World War Z's original score bumped it to an R rating from PG-13.
- What Steven Spielberg changed about E.T.'s famous across-the-moon shot so John Williams could write music for it.
We’ve uncovered part of music’s history, and are well on our way to crafting what we believe will be the definitive film on the subject. We need your support to finish SCORE, and simply put, this film cannot be made without you.
Taking a peek at how composers developed some of the most iconic scores in history, SCORE follows the creative struggles of designing a modern soundtrack from scratch, interviewing some of cinema’s most recognized names in film music. The film will feature:
- Hans Zimmer, composer (The Lion King, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar)
- Danny Elfman, composer (Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Spider-Man, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland)
- John Powell, composer (The Bourne Trilogy, Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon)
- Harry Gregson-Williams, composer (Shrek, Chronicles of Narnia, Man On Fire)
- Brian Tyler, composer (Fast and Furious, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3)
- Howard Shore, composer (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Departed)
- Bear McCreary, composer (Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, Agents of Shield)
- John Debney, composer (The Passion of the Christ, Princess Diaries, Elf, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Marco Beltrami, composer (The Hurt Locker, 3:10 to Yuma, Scream, Resident Evil)
- Patrick Doyle, composer (Sense and Sensibility, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Brave)
Tyler Bates, composer (Guardians of the Galaxy, Watchmen, 300)
- Henry Jackman, composer (X-Men: First Class, Wreck-It Ralph, Captain Phillips, Big Hero 6)
- Steve Jablonsky, composer (Transformers series, Desperate Housewives, Ender's Game)
- Christophe Beck, composer (Frozen, The Muppets, The Hangover)
- David Newman, composer (The Mighty Ducks, Anastasia, Ice Age)
- Heitor Pereira, composer (Despicable Me, The Smurfs, Minions)
- Richard Sherman, composer (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, The Aristocats)
- Garry Marshall, producer/director/actor (Happy Days, The Odd Couple, Pretty Woman)
- Leonard Maltin, film critic and historian
- Mark Mothersbaugh, member of Devo and composer (Rugrats, Happy Gilmore, The Lego Movie)
- Christopher Lennertz, composer (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief, Supernatural)
- Joseph Trapanese, composer (Tron: Legacy, Earth to Echo, Insurgent)
- Jon Burlingame, film music historian
- Antonio Sanchez, composer (Birdman)
- Christopher Young, composer (Drag Me To Hell, Swordfish, Rounders)
- Conrad Pope, composer and orchestrator (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones)
- Buck Sanders, composer (World War Z, The Hurt Locker)
- Deborah Lurie, composer (Footloose, Dear John, Never Say Never)
- Penka Kouneva, composer/orchestrator (Elysium, Transformers, Sherlock Holmes)
- Dave Ewart, Hollywood "A-orchestra" violinist (Titanic, Avatar, Shawshank Redemption)
- Robert Kraft, Kraftbox Entertainment
- Amos Newman, film music agent
- Richard Kraft, film music agent
- Shawn LeMone, Vice President, Film & TV, ASCAP
- Patrick Russ, President, Film Music Foundation
- Daniel Schweiger, journalist, Film Music Magazine
- More to come, with your support!
Tracking the progress of modern-day film score development, SCORE will illustrate how the first few notes on a piano keyboard end up in the most dramatic moments of a film's emotional climax.
Turning the spotlight on the creative struggles that make up a major motion picture score, this documentary will also showcase the way the world’s top soundsmiths solve musical challenges — like scores being so effective that a film is rated R instead of PG-13.
SCORE will break down scores for their memorable constructions, and explore the anatomy of a compelling score and what it takes to write a score that echoes in moviegoers' heads for decades.
We're a team of Emmy Award-winning journalists, producers and photographers who started a company specifically to produce this documentary. Now called Epicleff Media, we're composed of six people:
- Matt Schrader is an Emmy Award-winning producer and a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Formerly a special projects producer for CBS News, his investigative reports aired in cities across the nation. Prior to CBS, Matt developed major investigations for NBC in Los Angeles and helped found the Southern California Business Film Festival. Matt can be reached at email@example.com.
- Trevor Thompson is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and a graduate of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Thornton School of Music. The son of BMI Award-winning composer Tim Thompson, Trevor’s creative journalism and powerful human interest pieces have broadcast on stations across the country as well as CNN. Trevor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Kenny Holmes is a national award-winning news and entertainment photographer at NBC Los Angeles. His photography has won six major regional awards, including three Emmys for his videography, an LA Press Club Award for Outstanding Personality Profile, and a National Press Club Award.
- Nate Gold is a director of photography and producer having worked on commercials, music videos, and features internationally. He is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. In 2010, he founded and now operates SoundBite Studios, a music studio facility in Los Angeles specializing in helping high-profile artists and creatives refine and realize their craft.
- Jonathan Willbanks is a producer, entrepreneur and technologist who has consulted and spearheaded distribution for more than a dozen independent films. A graduate of USC's Business and Cinematic Arts joint program, his experience includes marketing and distribution for Disney Channel and The Moving Picture Institute, and technology-driven roles with GE, Apple and Verizon. Jon can be reached at email@example.com.
- Crystal Chavarria's work has appeared in productions for Disney, NBC, CBS, The CW and Showtime. She is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she graduated cum laude with a degree in film production and production designed and costume designed award-winning student films.
Together our team has won five Emmy Awards, four SoCal Journalism Awards, two RTNDA Awards and the prestigious National Press Club Award for videography. You can email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org — we'll be sure to respond!
We’ve been working for months planning, writing and are far along in the shooting process. It's incredibly expensive to shoot in Los Angeles — but it's the only place we can finish this film. And with permits, taxes, travel costs and operating expenses, we've already spent $11K out of pocket.
To finish shooting this film we must reach our $40K Kickstarter goal. This money will cover our essential operating expenses, the last of our equipment needs, and some finishing costs.
We can't do it without you!
Risks and challenges
Simply put, we cannot make this film happen without your contribution. Our crew is passionate about making the best film that can be made, and it's crucial that we stay afloat as costs stack up.
We want the world to see the raw talent of film composers as they build a masterpiece. That's why we started shooting interviews and studio sessions this summer, and that's why we need your help. This project is unique in that anyone who gives as little as $18 will have a permanent place in the film's credits and history. We know we need your help, and we want to thank you as best as we can to help make this dream come true.
Help us fund what will be the definitive documentary about film scores. Thank you for your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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