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Saffron & Twopop Attend Hollywood Music Conference
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:45 pm   Post subject: Saffron & Twopop Attend Hollywood Music Conference Reply with quote


Hollywood, Nov. 14-15, 2006



Twopop and Saffron had the honor of representing StreamingSoundtracks.com at the fifth annual Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.


Saffron and Twopop outside the Beverly Hilton Hotel Ballroom with the Day 1 schedule.

The two-day event featured Q&A interviews and panel presentations with some of Hollywood’s most influential composers, performers, decision-makers, and musical trendsetters. Each of the 13 one-hour sessions was followed by time for questions from the audience. When the speakers left the stage, audience members could go up and talk to them, take pictures, get autographs, etc.

This year’s all-star line up included Oliver Stone, Craig Armstrong, Olivia Newton-John, Melissa Etheridge, Henry Krieger, Terence Blanchard, Tom Tykwer, Danny Elfman, and John Powell.

The schedule also had several roundtable sessions and a music supervisor workshop, where attendees sat down with top experts and music supervisors in the fields of video games, commercials, mobile, and film/TV music.
Saffron
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:00 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


What an awesome experience!! I hope that we can give all of you an idea of how rich and full this conference was. For me, it was only one day but I walked away energized and excited to be a part of this business. I want to share with all of you the more of the philosophy of TV and Film scoring that I received from the presenters. I hope you enjoy.

Heart Honesty Humility – 3 Keys to Unlocking the Doors to Success

Music that speaks to the soul comes from the soul. This is what I learned from all those that took part in this year’s Hollywood Reporter Billboard Film & TV Music Conference in Beverly Hills. From the first emotional Keynote Q&A session with Craig Armstrong and Oliver Stone to the energizing interview with Terence Blanchard there was an overall theme of humility, honesty, and heart. These are concepts we all can take with us at the end of the day, not just those who are aspiring to be the next John Williams.

I did not expect to have to summon all of my willpower in order to keep from crying at a music conference but I did. All it took was a two minute clip of the movie World Trade Center and Craig Armstrong’s score to have tears well in my eyes. The music was so powerful. What is IT that makes his music go beneath the surface of ourselves and connect with our hearts? Is it his ability to empathize with the characters? His own past experiences? Natural talent? Luck? Most likely all play a part. Oliver Stone said that one thing that struck him about Craig Armstrong was his humility. In my opinion, this is a huge key in becoming successful in whatever you profess. We are no greater than anyone else. Humility keeps us honest and real, more able to put ourselves in the shoes of others. This is keenly felt when trying to tell a story, and that is what composers do…they tell a story with music.

Who gets chosen to tell a musical story? Well, according to a panel of hugely successful and talented women (including Olivia Newton-John), it is people who have heart. What I mean by heart, is those who are in the business because the love it and would be in it even if it only meant failure. You have to really want and love creating music. When you have that much emotion and faith in what you can create, it doesn’t matter if you become “successful”. All you want to do is make music that tells a story and gives life that sense of wonder. Just do what you love and success will find you.

Of course, for those whom success has already found, sometimes it can be difficult to find the right voice for the musical story you are asked to tell. Melissa Etheridge found this to be true when Al Gore asked her to write a song for his “slideshow” An Inconvenient Truth. She struggled with how to make a song that would make the harsh reality of the effects of global warming into something that was urgent but yet entertaining. She is right when she says that the public is not going to run out and listen to a song about polar bears dying. After days of struggling, she finally came to realize that she needed to write about how this affected her personally. She had to write from her perspective and make it personal. In the end, it worked. Her song, “I Need To Wake Up” is personal and it speaks that much more powerfully and intimately to us because it is based from her perspective and not some distant and disconnected concept she tried to piece together.

Being able to put your music to someone’s story is a gift. Once bestowed you are obligated to put forth all things in your power that will make it become more than just background noise. It makes a flat story on a page become three dimensional. My one day journey into the Film and TV music world surprised me. I guess I had thought it was going to only be a superficial day of promoting one’s music and talents but it was something far more valuable to me. It is in all aspects of life, no matter where your dreams and hopes lie that you must be true to your beliefs, trust in your talents, and look at the world with a grateful spirit. Only then will you be truly successful, not because someone says you are but because you know you are.
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I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music. - George Elliot
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:11 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Tuesday, Nov. 14th

On a typically warm and sunny LA morning, Saffron and I arrived at the hotel a little early so we could enjoy a casual breakfast in the dining room before registering for the Conference at 8:30AM. The Beverly Hilton Hotel is located on Wilshire Blvd. in the heart of that famous zip code 90210. Afterwards we went up to the Ballroom Foyer where the roomful of first arrivals was already beginning to buzz with anticipation of the day’s events. (We also saw that The Hollywood Report/Billboard staff had provided a full buffet of fruit, pastries, breads, coffee and tea!)

We wore our SST t-shirts and each carried an SST canvas tote bag. As guests of Ray Costa (Costa Communications) we checked in, donned our Press badges, and got our complimentary bags full of goodies provided by the show sponsors. Items included were promo music CDs (no not soundtrack promo CDs), magazines, brochures, pens, and a couple DVDs. This was a business conference primarily for exchanging ideas, networking (“schmoozing”), and getting your name out there not only to the public, but to the movers-and-shakers in the industry itself.


The sponsors of the conference.

Just before 9AM we entered the softly-lit chandeliered grand Ballroom where velvet chairs had been set up for the 500+ attendees. The beautiful, sad strains of the score to “World Trade Center” played softly throughout the room. In the back was a long table of audio-visual equipment manned by technicians, and a row of professional photographers, both video and photo-journalists. At the front of the room was a very large platform stage with a podium and several comfortable swivel chairs for the guest speakers. Dominating the entire room was a huge movie screen behind the stage.

After a brief welcome by John Kilcullen (Pres. & Publisher of Billboard & The Hollywood Reporter), Tamara Conniff (Assoc. Publisher & Exec. Editor) took the stage to introduce the first panel and keynote speakers of the day.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:13 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


KEYNOTE Q&A: OLIVER STONE, CRAIG ARMSTRONG, & BUDD CARR

As you undoubtedly know, Oscar winning director Oliver Stone, Grammy winning composer Craig Armstrong, and renowned music supervisor Budd Carr teamed to create the emotionally riveting film “World Trade Center”. Moderator Tamara Conniff skillfully guided the trio’s discussion about the process of bringing this true tragedy to life and the role film and music played in the remembrance. Their comments were interspersed with clips from the film.

There is simply no way that I provide a transcript of what they said. Saffy has covered the essence of what we saw and heard. However, here are a few paraphrased quotes from my notes that I hope you soundtrack lovers will enjoy reading:

a) In his delightful Scottish brogue, Craig Armstrong praised Stone and talked about the great working relationship they have. He was given the script early on in the project, and said he prefers to work from the script rather than come in after filming is done.

b) The score for “World Trade Center” is influenced by his music for “Romeo and Juliet".

c) Armstrong’s favorite cue is for the scene where John McLoughlin (Nicholas Cage) sees his wife as a ghost.

d) With thousands of stories to tell, it was a daunting task to write a screenplay that could encompass them all. The same is true of the music. Armstrong finally settled on 3 main themes. He chose a piano along with a solo cello. He feels there is no other instrument that can convey human emotion better than a cello.

e) The “site” music and the “family scenes” music are the same, but with slight variations.

f) The score was recorded in its entirety in the US. However, after listening to it, Armstrong felt it was too “over-the-top” so he returned to Scotland, found a new cellist, and re-recorded the entire score in Scotland.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:15 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


MASTER CLASS: WOMEN IN MUSIC

The second hour was a panel of 8 women who are among the top film & television music executives and artists in the industry. This was about the business side of music. They talked about everything from selecting the right artists and negotiating deals, to writing and performing songs. The most famous of the eight was Olivia Newton-John. Others are probably more familiar to us by the names of their companies rather than their names themselves. They are the owners or music supervisors of NARAS, Kraft-Engel Mgmt, EMI Music, Chop Shop, and Deutsch; and 3 were artists/singers/composers (Olivia Newton-John, Annette Strean, and Starr Parodi).

There were many bits of wisdom from these voices of success and experience. They said if you have talent, learn your craft, and pay attention to business, you will be rewarded by being able to make a living composing. Another down-to-earth, practical piece of advice was an emphatic “Make sure your contract covers ancillary work.”

As I mentioned earlier, every session ended with an opportunity for questions from the audience.
One recurring question came up almost every time: “How can I get hired as a film composer?”

The answer they gave was (paraphrasing) “Score as many films as you possibly can. It doesn’t matter what they are: student films, your own footage, indies, etc…. anything where you have to write music for the moving image. It can be a short jingle or score for a short or full-length film. The more you compose and record, the more you will learn and hone your craft. Somewhere, somehow, someone will hear your work.”


Olivia Newton-John
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:16 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Next was a delightful one-on-one Q&A WITH MELISSA ETHERIDGE.

Tamara Conniff again conducted the interview. Ms. Etheridge discussed crossing over from being one of the industry’s most successful female artists to the world of film and TV music. ( She has released nine albums, won two Grammy awards for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, and written for and performed on numerous TV shows and movie soundtracks.)

Her most recent work is the title song for the Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, of which she is extremely proud. It dominated her conversation and we were fortunate to get to see a clip and hear her performance from the film. She said “Al just called me out of the blue” and asked if she could come over to see some scenes from the documentary he was working on. She responded, “How could I say ‘no’? To me Al Gore is one of the greatest living human beings on the face of the earth.” After their meeting and seeing the film footage, she rushed home and wrote the song featured in the film, much to the delight of Gore.

During one of Melissa’s responses, we heard a slight tinkling sound like a cart of dishes being rolled across a bumpy floor. It began to get louder and stronger. We all looked up and realized it was the glass chandeliers. We were experiencing a mild earthquake! Afterwards, Ms. Etheridge had a bit of trouble getting back her train of thought – but soon did. A few minutes later, a smaller aftershock shook the chandeliers again, but this time she never broke stride and the Moderator said, “I guess we’re all getting used to these just like all native Californians.”

As you are probably aware, Melissa Etheridge is a political activist, who has had her share of personal hardships and controversy, the most notable of which is her battle with breast cancer several years ago. She had been scheduled to perform a musical tribute to Janis Joplin at the Emmy Awards, but considered dropping out because she was bald after having just undergone chemotherapy. She did end up doing the show, and her performance drew a standing ovation and was the highlight of the show. It has been said that this was the greatest homage to Joplin ever done, and Etheridge has been repeatedly asked to do a film about Janis Joplin’s life. She said if it is ever put to film, it will not be her playing Joplin since she is now 45 and Joplin died when she was 27.

A staunch environmentalist and outspoken activist for gay rights, Etheridge passed on these pearls of wisdom for aspiring artists and composers, and about life in general:
a) If you want to tell the truth about things, it makes you political.
b) Be true to yourself and your music.
c) Have really good people to help you so you can keep yourself separated from “stuff” (interruptions, frivolous decisions, business matters) that take you away from your craft.


Melissa Etheridge. Olivia Newton-John & Melissa Etheridge
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:23 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


ANATOMY OF A FILM: DREAMGIRLS

Next up was a panel with the director, composer, music supervisor, and producers/songwriters for the soon-to-be-released film version of the Broadway hit “Dreamgirls”.

Director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, writer on Chicago) headlined the group, who explained the process of deconstructing a blockbuster film and the creative process used in uniting audio with visual. It was a real treat to get to see and hear Tony-nominee Henry Krieger, the composer/songwriter of the original stage musical “Dreamgirls”, who was consulted and closely involved in bringing it from stage to screen. Randy Spendlove was the Music Supervisor.

“Dreamgirls” (starring Beyoncé Knowles) is the story of a trio of black female soul singers who cross over to the pop charts in the early 1960's. The fact that the movie has an all-star cast made up almost entirely of black actors and the music is R&B, gospel, and soul, Director Condon, Composer Krieger, and Music Supervisor Spendlove (all three white) said they often had to field the question, “How can you possibly relate to or know enough to make this film?” The answer was gleefully pointed out by one of the two black producer-songwriters The Underdogs, who said, “Trust me! These 3 white guys are funky!”

And speaking of The Underdogs, they are Harvey Mason, Jr (son of one of the world’s great drummers Harvey Mason) and Damon Thomas. These are two incredibly talented, intelligent, modest, funny, and amazing up-and-coming men really impressed me. They seem to be well on their way to becoming two of Hollywood’s most successful songwriters, arrangers, and producers.

The soundtrack is soon to be released in a 2-CD Deluxe Collector’s Edition in early December.

On a personal note, The Underdogs publicist tapped me on the shoulder and asked who I “was with” because she had noticed my Press badge. I told her briefly about StreamingSoundtracks, and she asked to exchange business cards. Wouldn’t it be great if she or Mason or Thomas dropped by SST?


The Underdogs: Damon Thomas (facing camera) & Harvey Mason Jr (green jacket).


Broadway composer Henry Krieger, director Bill Condon, Damon Thomas, _, Harvey Mason Jr.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:27 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


THE MOBILE FRONTIER

From ringtones to iPods, mobile devices have revolutionized the way people enjoy music. This panel brought together the dealmakers as well as the retailers in the mobile music space to give us the lowdown on this exciting new growth area.

There is huge potential for composers to create music for cell phones and other mobile devices, especially as more and more users desire “real songs” in their ringtone packages.

Some statistics they mentioned were:
a) 2.5 billion cell phones in the world – and of that only 200 million are in the US.
b) The biggest group who buy ringtones is 14-24 years olds, followed by the 24-34 yr olds.
c) By far more women than men download ringtones.
d) The range of buyers outside the US is a broader age group: 12-40 year olds.

Of the 5 gentlemen on the panel, all of whom were with major digital wireless companies, Saffron and I were most impressed with Paul Broucek of New Line Cinema. He is the President of New Line Music Group. His projects have included Austin Powers, Blade, and Lord of The Rings. When he introduced himself and made the comment, “New Line releases soundtracks on our own label, which seems to be the best kept secret in town, and we’d like to get the word out,” our ears perked up. We made a point of speaking to him afterwards, introducing ourselves, and telling him about SST.


Paul Broucek of New Line Cinema
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:29 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Q&A WITH TERENCE BLANCHARD

Jazz great and film composer Terence Blanchard spoke with interviewer Doreen Ringer Ross of BMI. The New Orleans native and Grammy winner has been a jazz mainstay since the `80s. He discussed how he balances scoring with his career as one of jazz music’s leading trumpeters.

Although Blanchard spends most of his time performing in clubs around the country and world, most of us know him as the composer for many of Spike Lee’s films such as “Mo’ Better Blues”, “Inside Man”, “Malcolm X”, “25th Hour”, and “Clockers”. He also did “Waist Deep”, “Their Eyes Were Watching”, “Barbershop”, “Eve’s Bayou” and most recently “When The Levees Broke”.

Blanchard is also a teacher. He is very involved with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at USC, as well as the Sundance Film Festival. He said that when you’re a musician, you should always “feel like you have a lot to learn. There’s always something to learn, no matter how much you’re in the mix.” When he talks to a young trumpet player who thinks he’s “made it”, Blanchard sometimes suggests that he go listen to some recordings of trumpeter Clifford Brown - that humbles him fast.

Blanchard emphasized that when he is hired to compose a score for a movie, he considers himself an employee who has been hired to help fulfill the director’s vision. Even if he has his own ideas after seeing the film, he listens to the director and does what he says. That is especially true with Spike Lee. “It’s my job to do as the director says. It’s his vision, not mine.” He said that Lee often will change the cues around. A theme Blanchard wrote for one character or scene may end up being used in a completely different part of the film. “That’s why I don’t hammer my points home. The director knows what he wants.”
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:30 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


MUSIC & GAMES

The last session of the Day 1 was made up of top names in the game music field who shared their secrets and strategies for integrating and composing music for games. Panelists included a Music Supervisor/Producer; a composer (Everquest 2, Dark Kingdom, Untold Legends, Taken); an editor from Vivendi Games; another composer (Hitman, Blood Money, Silent Assassin); and executives from Activision and Electronic Arts.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:36 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Day 2: Wednesday, Nov. 15th

I arrived at the hotel bright and early on an even warmer LA morning. (Sadly Saffron had to fly home the night before.) I stopped by the beautifully-laid out breakfast buffet with gourmet coffee, and walked around to check out some of the vendor’s tables before heading into the main Ballroom. There was a breakfast session panel put on by the RIAA already in progress.

It was well-attended. They discussed the billions of dollars paid for counterfeit goods and the resulting lost revenue. There are thousands of jobs at stake and a huge creative toll. The panel consisted of key industry leaders across music and film as well as leading political figures. Los Angeles County has a substantial task force devoted to counterfeit media (music, counterfeit tickets, goods, etc.) but still is way understaffed to handle the growing problem.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:37 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


MUSIC FOR COMMERCIALS

Sponsored by Elias Arts, this panel looked at this year’s best Music In Commercials, with insights into the creative genesis and strategies behind the work that made Shoot’s quarterly Top 10 Spot Tracks Charts in 2006. A panel featuring ad agency, composer, sound designer and music licensor perspectives, discussed not only the spots themselves but also industry trends spanning commercials and new media content.

Panelists were the Editor of Shoot magazine, composer from Beacon Street Studios, Elias Arts, HUM, Universal Music Publishing Group, and Grey Worldwide.

One quote about writing music for commericials: “Simple is good”.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:52 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Next up was probably my favorite session of all. (On second thought - it’s a tie with the one with Danny Elfman, which I’ll write about a little later.)

THE DIRECTOR / COMPOSER LINE
Translation: When the Director and Composer are the same person.

This fascinating 75-minute Q&A presentation was with the director/writer and composers of the film “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”, and was highlighted by many extended clips from the movie. (The soundtrack album is in the SST playlist under the title “Das Parfum”.)

The DreamWorks $60 million movie was released in Europe under the English title “Perfume” and German “Das Parfum - Die Geschichte eines Mörders” several months ago. It has taken the German box office by storm. It will open in limited release in the US on Dec. 27th and wide release on Jan. 5, 2007.

Speakers were director-writer-composer Tom Tykwer (Run, Lola, Run), and composers Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek (Without A Trace, One Hour Photo, Bang Bang You’re Dead). Tykwer and Heil are German; Klimek is Australian. The film is in English.

Tykwer always played a large part in shaping the film’s score, and once again collaborated with his musical partners Heil and Klimek. What is extremely unique about this venture is the fact that they composed and recorded the entire score before ever writing a word of script or shooting a frame of film!

All but 2 cues were done ahead of time, and 2 others were dropped in the editing process. Tykwer used the music on the set while filming. For one thing, the lead actor Ben Whishaw who is English, did not speak German. The music helped him get the “feel” of the scene. “That is one of the luxuries of doing the music before the filming,” Tykwer said.

It is important to know that the story takes place in the slums of France in the 17th century, and revolves around a young boy born with no sense of smell, who develops a superior olfactory sense. Tykwer said that our sense of smell is much like music – both are powerful links to our memories and can instantly transport us back in time. They are Time Machines.

The composers, all of whom are highly-educated and classically-trained musicians, were after a “classical” score with a slightly contemporary feel. Tykwer said he was extremely pleased with the orchestra, which was the “absolutely perfect ensemble”.


Q&A with Tom Tykwer (center with mike), Reinhold Heil (red shirt), and Johnny Klimek (hidden from view).


Tykwer and Heil talking to attendees after the Q&A session.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 11:58 pm   Post subject: Reply with quote


Next up were two simultaneous 90-minute sessions on SUPER (MUSIC) SUPERVISORS - one a panel in the Main Ballroom and the other a Roundtable format in an adjacent ballroom.

Music supervisors are hired to fulfill a vision while working with time and budget constraints. They are often the glue that keeps the musical vision together as they navigate the process of selecting and licensing songs for movies and TV, while balancing interests of the studio, label, artist, and filmmakers.

The panel consisted of the presidents of Music Operations for Warner Bros., Fox Music, Music & Soundtracks of Disney & Buena Vista, Universal Pictures, and DreamWorks. Folks, it doesn’t get any bigger than that!

The Roundtable session in a nearby room consisted of dozens of tables, each with a top music supervisor from film, TV, video games, and trailers. A large sign in the middle of each table to let people know their field of expertise. These 31 participants are some of the most powerful people in their fields.

A couple hours later, there was another dual-session of Roundtable discussions. Some of the topics included: Naras, the Grammys and Getting Involved; Film/TV Music Publishing; Artists Rights and Clearances; Getting Started In Supervision; Landing An Agent; and Licensing Songs For Video Games, just to name a few. The “Licensing Music for Video Games” table seemed to draw the biggest crowds.


1) Roundtable discussion sessions.


2) Music for Video Games table drew the largest crowd.


3) Alan Bergman, a NY entertainment attorney, offers advice to attendees.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:09 am   Post subject: Reply with quote


And now for the highlight of the conference for me!! …

KEYNOTE Q&A with DANNY ELFMAN



In a rare appearance, composer DANNY ELFMAN spoke for 45-minutes. It gave us an intimate glimpse into this unique individual’s magical world of creativity, composing, Tim Burton, and music. He was open and warm, intelligent and funny. He also was in a lot of pain having thrown his back out the day before. Elfman confessed that this was his first interview “under the influence” of muscle relaxants!

We are all familiar with his scores for “Batman”, “Spider-Man”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Edward Scissorhands”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and re-released “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on a special edition CD. “Charlotte’s Web” is due out soon.

Lately Elfman has turned his attention to more “serious” composing for the classical concert stage. He composed and conducted “Serenada Schizophrana” at Carnegie Hall. (This CD is in SST’s playlist.) Earlier this year he composed the soundtrack for the IMAX “Deep Sea 3D”, which contains excerpts from “Serenada Schizophrana.” He is also working on music for a ballet.

The day he spoke to us, he had broken away from the sound stage where he’d been recording some cues for “Meet The Robinsons”, a stop-frame animation feature due out next March, and was headed back there after this talk. (Oh to be a little mouse hiding in his pocket!)

Interviewer Tamara Conniff deftly asked questions that got Danny talking about his childhood, first experiences with music, Oingo Boingo, and his range of over 50 films, many in collaboration with Tim Burton.

Two questions he’s probably asked often did not escape this interview session:

(1) Is it true you could not read music when you started composing for films?
The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. It’s probably more accurate to say that Elfman is self-taught. Danny was offered music lessons when he was little, and did take a few. But he said even though he practiced and could play well when alone, he got nervous and froze up and made mistakes when he had to play for the teacher. So he quit. However, he explained that he is fortunate to have the innate musical ability to pick up any instrument and play it without being shown how to! That’s everything from brass to strings to woodwinds to percussion.

At a later point in his youth, he had a teacher he greatly admired who attempted to teach him some music theory and orchestration. But he didn’t have the patience or interest for that – yet. After his success with Oingo Boingo he grew tired of the band life. In his early 30’s, Tim Burton and Paul Reubens approached him about doing the score for “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” He said his comment to them was, “Boy, am I going to f*** up your film!”

But he took on the job and wrote some themes. They liked them and told him to go ahead and write it up for the musicians. In a panic, Elfman went home and called his old mentor for help. The wise man advised, “Just write down what you hear in your head. Try to remember what I taught you. Draw from your own talent.” Of course that is not what Elfman wanted to hear…. he wanted the guy to help him do it! But he said it was the best advice he ever had because it made him realize he has the uncanny ability to hear the full orchestration in his head. On this first try, he scribbled down the notes as best he could. Hollywood musicians are the best players and sight-readers on the planet. He said, “I made a lot of mistakes, but they made me sound good.”

Of course the film was a huge success, which resulted in his getting pigeon-holed into scoring lots of comedies. Fortunately for us, that trend got turned around.

Over the last 20+ years, Elfman has really honed his craft. However, he confesses that there is a downside to the way he learned to read and write music. He can read music no faster than he can write it down! He said, “Imagine trying to read a book at the same pace you would write it with a pen. That is how I am with sheet music.” Fortunately for us fans, he has the best musicians and assistants in the world to help bring his ingenious scores to fruition.


(2) What is it like to work with director Tim Burton?
He said Burton says less than any other director he works with – almost to the point of silence. He gives Danny complete freedom on what he will write. It’s been like this from day one.

Some miscellaneous comments he made in response to questions from the audience were:
Who is your favorite classical composer? “Prokofiev – no question about it. From the time I was a little kid.”
What influenced you the most when you were little? “I went to the movies all the time – lots & lots of movies. My favorites were the H H’s – Ray Harryhausen & Bernard Herrmann. They were very influential in my life.”
“I would score anything just to be in front of an orchestra.”
“Once I do a score on CD, I never ever listen to it again.”
“I’m a classic ADD person. Once I do something, I’m ready to move on.”

After Elfman took questions from the audience, he also spent time with us up-close-and-personal, greeting people, answering questions, giving autographs, and giving us a photo-op.
I snapped these photos with my camera and cell phone while waiting my turn to shake his hand.



A few people had thought ahead enough to bring Elfman CDs for him to autograph.
I quickly thought, “What can I have him to sign that I would treasure forever, but also would get across the name StreamingSoundtracks?” Ah hah…. my SST canvas tote bag! And here it is!


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