I was thinking about the creative connection between the director and the film composer.
Ahh… Hitchcock and Hermann, Spielberg and Williams, Tornatore and Morricone etc. Those connections are so special and as a composer it is the greatest situation to be able to build that creative bond. I have been lucky enough to work with more then a few directors who I share that bond with. Brad Furman and Alex Zamm are two directors with which I share this type of relationship. It’s really all about trust, as all great creative collaborations are about. It takes time to build that bond but when you have that it is truly special.
When a director trusts me I am much more open to creating something original or think more out of the box. I’m not composing from a point of view of “ trying not to fail” and that’s when a composer can create a truly inspired score. Stravinsky said that being a composer is more like a “ Musical Inventor”. I think he is right in that all good film composers are trying to invent something special. Music with identity that works seamlessly to the visuals and most importantly helps tell the story. The great thing about film composition is even though a composer is under the gun to make a deadline, there is time to experiment and play with different ideas. I know we all want everyone to love everything we compose the first time out. God forbid a Director or Producer doesn’t love a certain cue, or that your first ideas aren’t fully embraced.
Some composers might recoil and write “safer” music, but I think if you operate from that point of view you might be selling yourself short and not be fully realizing the music’s potential. Now, all of this is predicated on what type of gig it is, and there are times when scoring a certain type or genre of film is more about function and skill over creating something massively original, and that’s cool. It’s about recognizing what the film needs, but for the truly special projects, the ones we do for the love and artistry, the films that allow us to push our ideas to a new level we need to always remind ourselves that it is our job to challenge and inspire the Director to new levels. With the creative trust will come the ability for a composer to keep searching for the inspiration to compose the best score possible. Everyone else working on a quality film does this. All the principal creatives, the actors, cinematographers, designers, editors etc… So why should it be any different for a composer? What I think is important to remember is that the score is literally the last creative touch that a director can put on his or her film. After it’s prepped, shot, edited and all the ADR and Effects are done its time for the composer. All the time the director has spent in the editing room, living with the “temp’ score etc… it’s the last chance to add that finishing touch before the film is mixed and it’s forever documented! It’s important for a composer to understand that emotional aspect.
It is one of the greatest feelings to have a director that trusts his composer and that confidence makes me a better writer and I will no doubt be able to fully connect emotionally to the film and compose a score that everyone would be proud of.