NEW MUSIC REWARDS & Spotlight on Composer Micah Dahl Anderson
Check out the new Music Rewards:
At the $18 level, we're offering the SOUNDTRACK composed by Micah Dahl Anderson as a limited DIGITAL DOWNLOAD.
Looking to be more involved? At the $2,500, you can sponsor part of the score and claim a title as MUSIC EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (including IMDB credit). Check it out on the campaign page: kck.st/1bCEI19
Let's Talk Music! With my composer and friend MICAH DAHL ANDERSON:
I first met Micah Dahl Anderson five years ago when I was doing a test screening for my film White on Rice. His brother-in-law, the awesome photographer Jonathan Canlas, took some stills for the film and they both came to check it out.
Later, I looked up his website and was completely blown away by the variety of work he had under his belt. I really liked his music and we seemed to have a similar aesthetic. A few months later, I was in a bit of a bind. Some of the music tracks I had chosen for White on Rice were unavailable due to budget or copyright reasons. Last minute, I turned to Micah and over the course of a feverish couple of days he created some great tracks which you can see in the final cut of the movie.
(Micah wrote the music for this scene when the original track proved to be unavailable for license.)
Over the years, we've become great friends and he did some sound and additional music on Surrogate Valentine and Daylight Savings--all the while composing memorable music for tons of commercials and TV shows.
I kept hoping for an opportunity to work with Micah on a full-fledge feature film score and finally Man from Reno came along. He's been a big part of my creative process, reading script drafts and watching early rough cuts. Doing music for an indie film is no easy feat--there's never enough money or time--so I feel very lucky to have a talent like Micah working with me on this.
Q&A with MICAH
I sent Micah a handful of questions to get his thoughts on the art of movie music:
DAVE: In your opinion, how does music play a role in the storytelling of a movie (or does it?)
MICAH: Music plays many roles in film. I think the two most important are: 1) helping to tell the story, and 2) helping to set the film's tone. The lack of music can do the same. For example, No Country For Old Men, or Children of Men - both used music conservatively.
When telling a story in a book, you can take as long as you like to set up a character (and his/her circumstances) for your audience. With a film you've got to get things moving. One great example of music helping with this problem is the first entrance of Darth Vader in Star Wars, A New Hope. http://youtu.be/MftSEu4vgg0?t=12s
When Darth Vader entered through the smoke in the first screenings of the film in 1977, the audience knew to "boo" him as the villain without knowing a thing about who he was. The music told the audience here is our antagonist. Now let's see how 'ol Danish Braids is gonna get out of this one!
DAVE: I'd like to hear a little bit about your creative process. What's the sequence of events from watching a raw scene in a movie to writing and recording a fully fleshed-out music cue?
MICAH: Honestly it's different almost every time. There will be times when I watch a final cut, or even an assembly cut, and get smacked with the perfect solution right away. Other times I'll have to find inspiration for days, trying a million different instruments, and tunes until the right answer turns up. I sometimes joke that I keep my muse chained to a corner in my studio. But usually the process goes:
- 1) spending time with the media creator talking over the concept while looking at the script, or, preferably, footage.
- 2) spending time to get the concept, and hash out ideas mentally. Usually while I lay awake at night, or take advantage of a boring meeting (I am an expert daydreamer).
- 3) get in the studio and either hash it out through trial and error, or do a straight translation from my head to my hard drive. Depending on what is in my head.
- 4) deliver to client, and wait to hear back as to if I have had a productive day, or wasted one!
DAVE: Do you prefer it when a director comes in with a set-in-stone approach (and perhaps a soundtrack full of temp music), or do you prefer to be let loose to do your thing?
MICAH: Obviously, I think, most people just want to be let loose. But it depends on the relationship I have with each different client. We all need to be on the same page, so temp tracks, and concept/feeler songs can be a huge help. Some of the best things I've done have come from situation where the media creator took a completely hands off approach to directing me. But that doesn't mean it's the way to go every time.
DAVE: You've done the music for numerous commercials, documentaries and narratives. In a nutshell, what have been the biggest differences in working between those three mediums?
MICAH: Not extremely much. The approach is different mostly by nature of the stage at which you start writing music. But even that can vary depending on the doc, commercial, or film. It mostly seems that the only difference is the amount of attention you pay to that project, or at least the time you spend in it. Films obviously take more time and attention than commercials, but commercials can take more time than TV shows because of how many different decision makers there are in add creation. I've worked on commercials that felt like I was doing a film because of all the options, each required to be a smash hit, and sleepless nights. It all really depends on the project, and who you are working with.
At the end of any project I might think, "Did I make something I can be proud of, or did I just pay my mortgage?" While I certainly would't say I have immense pride for everything I've done, I have been lucky to feel that pride in every medium I've worked in.
Man From Reno will most definitely be on the short list of favorite projects. I've been excited about this film ever since you pitched it to me in that little ramen place in NY, almost two years ago.
DAVE: Aww yeah... Thanks for taking the time to chat, Micah! For anyone who is curious, here's more of Micah's work.
Missed our webcast w Pepe Serna?
We had so much fun taking your calls. Here's a clip of me teaching Pepe how to Pledge on Kickstarter for the very first time!
Our webcast POST PRODUCTION MELTDOWN resumes this Tues at 11:30AM PST, and look out for a full schedule soon! Thank you all for spreading the word - just 16 Days Left! kck.st/1bCEI19