Audio Archives - Blog
John Williams has scored some of the most famous films of all-time. Nominated for 41 Oscars he has won 5 times for Best Score. The five wins were for: Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. and Schindler’s List. The role of the composer is a challenging one as sometimes they write the music sight unseen before the film is shot and other times they start their work after the final edit is complete. A 1980 BBC documentary chronicled William’s experience scoring The Empire Strikes Back with George Lucas, producer Gary Kurtz, director Irvin Kershner and the London Symphonic Orchestra.
The most amazing part of the documentary is watching Williams, Lucas, Kershner and Kurtz watch the Carbonite Freezing scene where Princess Leia says “I love you” to Han Solo. Not only is it one of the most emotional moments in the Star Wars saga (with the best response a rogue like Han could ever give) but it also shows the scene with no music, temp sound, hissing compressors obscuring actors lines and the on-set dialog of David Prowse playing Darth Vader which would later be replaced.
The unfinished scene is audibly distracting, sonically jarring and although picture locked for the edit…almost indistinguishable from the final film as we know it. Williams had to block out the distractions, listen through the audio chaos and create a score that elevates this scene to show-stopping status. He understood the emotion of the scene and amplified the moment with his music…something he has done time and time again to great result.
Filtering out the noise to clearly see what the story needs is a lesson every great filmmaker has learned.
Here’s a closer look at this magic musical moment:
Self-funded, low budget, indie filmmaking is wonderful for the creative and artistic freedoms you are granted as you strive to tell the story and share it with others. You are the filmmaker, the studio, the investor and the distributor. This great power comes with great responsibility and heavy consequences. I’ve spent the last 5 years of my life working to finish a feature film entitled…THE GRIND. The literal and figurative irony does not go unnoticed…but it also drives me to complete my mission.
One of the famous unwritten rules in “Hollywood” is never invest your own money. I’ve broken that rule for 5 years as I’ve invested both a shit-ton of money and time to finish the film and release it to the world. My roles on this film are: executive producer, DP, editor, colorist, composer and sound mixer. I had been hired to do these jobs on previous feature films, but never all on one film.
Before I dive in, here’s 5 years of editing encapsulated into one image…the final timeline.
Every Filmmaker owes a debt of gratitude to the people in “The Industry” who have come before them. Every creative or technical decision you make on your film, TV show, webisode, short film or documentary has probably been made a multitude of times in the past. The “Bolt of Lightning” idea that struck you in the middle of the night has most assuredly been thought of and implemented during the last 100+ years of Filmmaking.
We stand on the shoulders of giants and I take every chance I can to learn more about the history of filmmaking. The Media History Digital Library has just launched their search platform Lantern which contains 800,000+ pages of digitized texts from publications of film, broadcasting, and recorded sound. Brew some coffee and timewarp into the past to learn more about every aspect of Filmmaking than you could possibly imagine!