This interview was done as part of the Vermont Media Alliance’s coverage of the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival. This interview largely discusses the creation of the trailer for the festival. To read what editor Matthew Lennon had to say please click here.
What do you do (and how do you do it?)
I am a composer in the broadest sense. I write, arrange, perform, and record instrumental music (ranging from orchestral to full band and/or a combination of the two). I work from my home studio in Ohio and I use Apple’s Logic Pro X digital audio workstation and other 3rd party software, and on occasion, I record live instruments and vocals.
When did you first get into music?
I’ve been a musician since I was a child, and am self-taught in everything I play, write, and perform.
How did you come to be involved with the MNFF and scoring their festival trailer for 2016?
In July of 2015, I stumbled across the MNFF Instagram page (I’m very active on Instagram), and I noticed they were searching for music to use for their promotional trailer for the festival that year. After an exchange of a few emails, I was offered the opportunity to audition to write music for the trailer. After a week of writing, I submitted an idea that I had hoped they would want to use; to my dismay, they chose to go another route musically. I spent the following year honing my craft. In July of this year, I contacted them again in hopes of achieving what I had failed to do the year before. For several weeks, I struggled to produce a single idea. With two days left before MNFF needed a piece of music, I had a simple idea and it blossomed into one of the best pieces of my musical career, which granted me the opportunity to score the official trailer.
Had you created music for a trailer before?
I’ve composed hundreds of pieces of music, all for different purposes, but this trailer is the first of its kind for me. It is by far the most professional project I’ve been involved with, for which I am very grateful.
Can you expand on your working relationship with Matthew Lennon on this project? Was the song completed before you began? Did he modify the edit based on his interactions with you?
The process for this trailer was a bit backward opposed to other projects I’ve been involved with. Typically, I receive the final version of the film to which I compose and arrange the music based on the feel of the story. For the MNFF project, I was given basic guidelines as to the mood, tone, dynamics, and length of the desired piece. Once I had finished the piece, Matt would then fit the film to fit the music. This was very interesting, as it allowed me to freely create without the hindrance of synchronizing the music to moments in the film.
What is next for you? Are you currently working on a new project?
Currently, I am testing the waters with new techniques and software. I am always searching for the next sound that will help my music evolve. I have no official projects scheduled, but I am always writing.
I recognize you are not Vermont-based but clearly that does not keep you from working on Vermont-based projects. Now that you are aware of the VMA what, if anything, could we be doing better to help composers like yourself?
I’ve been very fortunate to have found the directory available at The VMA, which has allowed me to find like-minded artists and will hopefully lead to doors being opened for other projects. The continued growth of the directory at The VMA will be invaluable to composers, filmmakers, etc, as we can connect with one another on a national, and potentially global, scale.