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Things That Go Boom In The Night
Thu Mar 17, 2011 18:19

Q: I know you were working on one of Danny Elfman’s projects recently and he is one of the most ‘A’ level of ‘A’ level composers so I would assume he can get a fair amount of time.

A: He probably could, but the funny thing is, it doesn’t always happen as you would think. I worked on his “The Wolfman” score that he did for Universal and that was an interesting, as well as technically challenging project for me. Danny had already completed the score when it was decided that it needed more ‘energy’. I wasn’t involved with the movie at this point so I’m only repeating what was told to me by others who were involved at the time.
It was decided that a new, more contemporary sounding score should be done by a different composer, keeping in mind that Danny gave them exactly what they asked for. But then they (Universal) thought the new composer’s score might’ve gone too far the other way, and about 8 music editors later, a music editor that I know named Jay Duerr became involved and suggested they they use Danny’s original score and maybe add some additional percussion to it. He presented a temp to the producers that he put together using Danny’s cues, but Jay added some temp percussion and low drum elements of his own, just to get the idea across and that was enough for them to say “OK, well let’s try that.”
At that point I was brought in to add some active drum-percussion programming with an emphasis on big low drums. I also added a number of eerie FX here and there, as well as some sound design in a few spots. As I mentioned earlier, Danny did exactly what they wanted him to do in the beginning. Then they changed their minds and it went through a lot of evolutions. I should also mention that at the time I was brought in, Conrad Pope was also brought in to write new compositional material to bridge together the cues where basically the music editor took bits and pieces of Danny’s score and reworked new cues to accommodate more recent picture changes, whether the music was written for these scene or not. Jay did as he saw fit and Universal was happy with the final product which included additional music by Conrad Pope as well. Conrad, Jay Duerr and myself worked as a team. We spotted a lot of the movie together and I added my elements where they felt that they were needed throughout the score.
Because most of the final score was created from editing together various parts of Danny’s original score, the most challenging part of this project was that there was written music for me, no tempos, no meter maps, no anything so what I had to do first was take the picture and guide tracks that I requested and create a Pro Tools session for each reel. I normally try and get picture and guides if possible because I find it very helpful to actually see what’s happening on the screen as I come up with my sounds and parts. This was particularly a technical challenge because I had to go through and create tempo and meter maps, beat by beat in Pro Tools for each cue of the live orchestra tracks and it really got challenging where there were tempo changes. Not to mention that there were a lot of mixed meters as well. After that process was done, I just went through each reel and did my programming, cue by cue.

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