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Behind The Scenes; Soundtrack. 1

by Jayme Gutierrez

The music makes all the difference.
Ever watched a video with no sound? It’s has nowhere near the same impact as one with sound. Just think of the cinema, how dramatic is that!!?? (I like to stay until the very end, to be able to listen to the soundtrack in an acoustically treated room with a good sound system!) ;)

Anyway…
Most people hardly notice the background music at all (or at least what it’s doing), and that’s what you want to do. You want to put the emotion into the scene but without it sounding out of place. And when you do it right, people won’t notice you’ve done anything at all! So that’s why it’s so important to spend a lot of time getting it right.
It’s only when you do it wrong that it notices!

The soundtrack took quite a long time to do.
Before I could even start writing anything, I had to spend a long time just watching and thinking. I found it helpful to ask myself questions like; “What’s the mood of the characters in this scene?”, or “When and how should the music start and end?”
I think that that creativity comes from solving problems. So I like to see problems as a chance to be creative, by finding ways around them.
So I found that the more questions I asked about each scene, the easier it became to understand what to do.
And when I finally got it right, I’d listen to it and think; “of course, that’s so obvious! How come I didn’t think of doing it like that in the first place?”

The first piece of music that I wrote was a very simple sinister sounding atmosphere, for the first scene (the one with the monks in it). Then the monk pushes play on the tape recorder and soon after, the second track starts. Then the atmospheric music fades out, as the music on the tape starts changing from a radio sound into the live sound of Jayme and Joe! playing in the classroom.This wasn’t hard at all because it was just simply a matter of following what was going on in the visual.

Then it goes straight to the bar scene, with Joe! (years later) and the music starts the scene off. There the music is used as if it were playing in the bar.

After we finish playing, the next track starts at the end of the scene. I think that it really ties the scenes together and gives the whole thing more continuity, plus it complements the “9 o’clock on a Saturday morning” joke. It also gives off the feeling that something else is about to start, i.e. the next scene.
This track was the first one I worked on and it was very hard. I ended up having to dump the first song I wrote for it and write a new one because the flavour was all wrong. Getting the right flavour is so important!

It was also very hard deciding what to do with the music once it had started. “Is it O.K to just play it in the background, even though they’re in the street?” Answer; This particular piece of music isn’t in their world, so they can’t hear it! It is simply just part of the soundtrack. “O.K, but is that still O.K to just play over the scene…?”
So I simply tried it with and without the music..
I found that, due to all of the cuts and the way the scene has been filmed, there is quite a few continuity faults. So leaving the music playing over the whole scene helped to gel it all together by giving it more of a timeline and making it more like one long scene, instead of a load of cuts.

More soon…

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