Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ripping the Mask off of Movie Composers

Who really composed the score for Frozen?

If you go to the site for The Score and page down to the recording of “The Orchestrator” episode, listen to the first eleven minutes (or click to the third segment and listen to the first five minutes). It will change your view of movie scores forever. Some of these great movie composers send a file with the most bare bones of a score to an orchestrator, and the orchestrator actually fills it out or cuts it back, then he writes the actual written score composed of notes for all the different instruments in the orchestra.


image by August Hogn

That demo the orchestrator was given for “For the First Time” was a joke.

This rips the mask off of some the supposedly great composers in the business. The closest comparison is when a movie script is handed to a novelist who works closely with the movie business, and he proceeds to take a 90 page script and turn it into a novel of 300+ pages.

I remember one particular scene where a woman rolled a bicycle out of her room. The novelist added in the feel of the bicycle, the crumpling sound from some objects on the floor, and how all this reminded her of her father. At most, I imagine the movie script would just say she wheeled the bicycle out.


But this novelization process is open and above board—the writer’s name appears on the cover of the novelization. But the orchestrators’ names do not appear on the film scores. In the future, we will look back and see the orchestrators were the real geniuses.

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