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The Director's Chair Issue #95 – Feb. 22, 2009 (Working with a Music Composer)

Day 1 of “The Art & Craft of the Director Audio Seminar”

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February 22, 2009                  Scene 10 – Take 2

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Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
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1. Introduction
4. BLOG – Film Directing Tips
3. Is Your Passion to Direct Movies?
4. Are you on Twitter?
5. FEATURE ARTICLE – Working with a Music Composer
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. The Director’s Chair Filmmakers Discussion Forum
8. Subscriber Links of Interest
9. Filmmaking Workshops
10. Back Issues of The Director’s Chair
11. Subscribe & Unsubscribe Information
12. Copyright Information


Welcome to Issue #95 of The Director’s Chair (Feb. 22/09)
(Today is Oscar day. This is going to be a short issue.)


Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, China,
Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican
Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland,
France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland,
India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica,
Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon,
Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico,
Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Portugal,
Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi
Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia and Montenegro, Singapore,
South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland,
Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tabago,
Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United
Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Vietnam,
Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

2) FEATURE ARTICLE – the feature article this month is
“Working with a Music Composer” by Julie Blue.

“How does a director get a great score from a composer?
Start thinking of music before post. I enjoy getting on
board and starting the conversation at the script stage. I
find some of the most skilled directors are shooting with a
feel for the music they want and leaving some of those
wonderful breathing moments because they know that at
certain points music and visuals are how they want to tell
the story. Too often music is treated as an afterthought
rather than being an inherent part of the creative process.”
(See below to read entire article.)

3) FACEBOOK – The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on
Facebook. If you haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I
sincerely recommend you think about doing it. Facebook is a
fabulous place to meet people who share your passions and it
is one of the top Social Networking sites on the Internet.
Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com

Once you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and
the page should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to
join the discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on
the Walls. If you are already a member of Facebook, here is
the direct link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

From time to time I will contact you by email to inform you
of certain filmmaking workshops or film products that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you
are under no obligation to purchase anything. I only offer
this information as a service to subscribers of this free

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Peter D. Marshall

2. BLOG – Film Directing Tips

Thanks to subscribers like yourself, my filmmaking blog,
http://filmdirectingtips.com has been on the first page of
Google for several months using the keywords, “film

Please take some time to look through the many blog postings
on the site and make some comments on the posts – your
feedback is important to me because they will help me decide
on the content I will add to this blog.

RSS – http://filmdirectingtips.com/wp-rss.php
FEEDBURNER – http://feeds.feedburner.com/FilmDirectingTipsAndResources


“Thanks so much for creating the Audio Seminar, and for
keeping it up to date.  This has to be the most
comprehensive hub of knowledge on the subject one has ever
put together.  You have done amazing research. Thanks again
for sharing your knowledge and experiences in the audio
seminar.  It has truly been inspiring.  I will be listening
and referring to it frequently for many years. ” Jeffrey
Michael Bays, Sydney, Australia

Do You Want to Become a Successful, Working Film and
Television Director?

“The Art and Craft of the Director” is a multimedia online
audio course full of over 35 years of professional film
making tips and techniques that will help demystify the film
making process and increase your confidence to be a
successful, working film and TV director – guaranteed!
(Instant Download – No DVD’s – No CD’s – No Shipping)

The updated 2009 Version of “The Art and Craft of the
Director Audio Seminar” is 201 pages long, and includes
over 30 downloadable PDF reports, over 65 links to videos
you can watch and over 600 links to useful reference
websites. http://snipurl.com/6tg0s

I am very proud of this film directing course and I
guarantee that anyone who listens to the audio files and
reads all the support material will discover many of the
tools a working film director needs to survive today.

All the information about the 10 Day “The Art and Craft of
the Director Audio Seminar,” including the content list,
audio files, support materials, free bonuses and how to
order, is available now. Just click on the link below.

“I want to thank you for putting together this informative
Director audio seminar. It is a superb teaching tool, loaded
with tips and information. While I have gone thro’ the
entire 10 daily seminars, there is no way that one can
absorb all the details in that short period of time. It will
take many weeks to digest this content. You have given hope
– that as a screenwriter, I can believe to one day direct my
own film projects.” Myrna Petersen, Regina, Sask. Canada


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging
service that allows users to send and read other users’
updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based
posts of up to 140 characters in length.

Twitter is one of the best and quickest ways for friends,
family or people with common interests to stay in touch.

It’s also becoming one of the best ways to promote yourself
and your films on the Internet!

My partner, Trilby Jeeves, wrote an article called “What the
Tweet?!?? A Rookie’s Guide to Twitter” for The Art of the
Business blog that gives you some insight on how to use
Twitter from a creative person’s point of view. You can
check out her article at: http://snipurl.com/6tege

If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each other. You
can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker. You can
also follow Trilby at http://twitter.com/tjbuffoonery

5. FEATURE ARTICLE – Working with a Music Composer

“Working with a Music Composer” by Julie Blue

How does a director get a great score from a composer?

1. Start thinking of music before post. I enjoy getting
on board and starting the conversation at the script stage.
I find some of the most skilled directors are shooting with
a feel for the music they want and leaving some of those
wonderful breathing moments because they know that at
certain points music and visuals are how they want to tell
the story. Too often music is treated as an afterthought
rather than being an inherent part of the creative process.

2. Clarify the musical direction with the producer(s)
before meeting with the composer. Some of my most
challenging moments have been feeling caught between the
very different visions of director and producer. On one
recent movie the producer had me rewrite almost the entire
score (9 days before the mix!) because her vision was so
different from the director’s. Needless to say it was way
more stressful than I would prefer and they would have
gotten a better score from me if I was working on a
comprehensive direction not being pulled between very
different concepts.

3. Talk the language of emotion and transition, as well
as playing any relevant samples of music in the spotting
session. Unless you are a schooled musician trying to talk
in musical terms is more confusing than not. Words like
beat, rhythm, minor, and other music terms are not what are
needed. I like to understand the emotional direction and
where you as the director want the transitions. The more I
can crawl into the vision of how the story is unfolding on a
feeling level the more I am guided to the right sounds and
instruments. Some directors will pull out different samples
and play them saying I like the first few bars for the feel
of this section or just this part is what I like.

4. Don’t fall in love with the temp score. I think
temping up the project can be a helpful devise for giving
the composer a sense of where the music is sitting and a
feel for the direction. It also provides a clear launch
point for the conversation with producers about musical
direction if this didn’t happen earlier on. The challenge is
often the temp music is realized by big Hollywood studios
with major budgets for live orchestras and everyone falls in
love with those production values and whines when they can’t
be matched for what may be a fraction of the budget.

5. Give the composer very specific feedback. I’ve heard
feedback from “Make it more yellow” to “I can’t put my
finger on it but there’s something just not right.” I am
passionate about the dialogue between film and music and
will happily stay in the process of rewriting and tweaking
until everyone walks away happy. That, as I see it, is my
job.  Delivering the feedback using SMPTE numbers helps me
to know exactly where we are talking about if I am receiving
notes. Good feedback is given in some kind of term I can
relate too like – more intense, more of a hit point, pull it
back it’s too over the top… Also, I really like having one
point person who I am relating to rather than several
different people all giving input at once.

6. Leave enough time in the mix to make sure you get what
you want. I am often asked to deliver stems of my final mix,
meaning that there will be multiple tracks broken down into
rhythm section, lead instruments, percussion hits, strings,
as an example. Though there can be challenges this provides
you as the director with many last minute options to change
tonalities and simplify something or bring out certain parts
you wish to emphasize. Keep in mind that this can take some
extra time but there are a number of factors like the sound
effects and addition foley, that you may not have a chance
to hear with the score until the final mix.

7. Make sure your composer knows that you appreciate
their input, effort and dedication. I can tell you when I am
shown some appreciation for the massive amounts of time it
can take to compose and produce the music both my
willingness to do rewrites and my inspiration to excel in my
craft flow better. As a composer I’ll be appreciating your
hard work and visions as well because what is a film
composer without a film?

To me it is still amazing how in a great film with the right
score the experience can completely suspend disbelief. If
it’s done really well – you don’t even notice the music
except that you feel whatever emotion is coming off the
screen, and for that brief moment in time you are caught up
in the land of story and music.


Julie Blue is a passionate and experienced composer and
songwriter. Her lists of credits include “Stolen Lives” and
“Close to the Heart” which earned her a Leo award for Best
Musical Score.  She has composed the score for over 35 films
and television programs including movies Showtime movies
“Web of Desire” and “Sight Unseen”. She is a world class
pianist and vocalist with extensive training.

Julie is also a recording artist with 6 CDs selling
internationally. Her songs and score have been placed in the
Showtime/HBO series “Queer As Folk”, the feature length PBS
documentary  “Moving Manmade Mountains”, and the television
pilot “The Rev”.

Julie Blue is an inspired musical being and brings her love,
inspiration, and commitment to excellence to every project
she is involved with.



6. Do You Want to Write an Article for The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

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I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
35 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
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