Yay For Learning!

Had a pretty busy and work filled week so a couple of things to blog about. First off: I’ve gotten the hang of the whole workflow of marking hit points in Logic Pro. It all makes sense now but Logic does play up on occasion and decides to move all the beat markers forward. When that happens, the undo option doesn’t seem to do anything so I usually have to quit without saving. Also, my Macbook Pro can’t keep up with what I’m doing because it constantly crashes every twenty minutes. Turning up the sample rate didn’t help much at all so my solution was to ‘freeze’ the unused tracks, but that took much longer than expected because freezing the tracks would also crash Logic. My guess is that my twelve-minute project for ‘Bruce’ is way too big. I did eventually manage to freeze all the tracks one by one (with all other applications shut off) and now everything is good! All of this freezing and crashing has caused me to develop an obsessive habit of hitting ‘command + s’ every fifteen seconds, which has actually saved me a lot of pain a few times already. Anyway, now on to the composition stuff for ‘Bruce’. I have gone and marked out the entire project with ‘music start/ends’ and the main hit points. This was a bit tricky because I had no idea what or how the music should play in these areas; should it end abruptly or fade out? Does it follow with different music or should it have even changed music in the first place? Maybe music will be too distracting for the scene? What points to hit or not to hit? There were multiple ways to approach every scenario so I decided to put just the main points that I knew I was going to definitely use. From there, I used these points as a guide and composed really rough drafts of the pieces to get a better idea of what style of music I would use, when to hit, and etc. I only managed to get a third of the whole film down in about sixteen hours and I had to stop because I completely lost perspective and was over thinking something that was probably really straightforward. I couldn’t even tell if my songs were relevant anymore. Luckily, one of my friends came over and watched the film with the rough songs and he thought it worked (I don’t how well, but it worked!). I decided that I shouldn’t continue with composing rough drafts for the time being due to not knowing what I was doing anymore and focus specifically on one of the compositions I decided to name ‘Shit Just Got Real’ (will probably re-name this). It’s the first song that plays once Bruce walks in to the crack house and finds the guy he wants to kill:


I originally wanted the song to start as soon as Bruce kills the first bad guy, but I decided to add a low drone before that when all the druggies are having fun conversing to indicate that there’s something sinister about these people. I actually composed much more of the song and went out on a tantrum, but the Soundcloud file above is just up to the point where the music cuts and goes into some sort of electronic chase music. With the rest of ‘Shit Just Got Real’, I’ve decided to use it later on in the film in a scene where Bruce is searching for the bad guy at a school. I originally planned a completely different composition for that scene but this one works just as well and saves me a lot precious time considering how long it takes me to come up with anything. It will have the same bass pulse but introduces elements that open up the space. Here’s a draft for the rest of the song:


As I said, I went off in a tantrum and was just purely excited that I managed to get a fairly ‘Hollywood’ sounding song happening. I’m going to use the section before the big strings come in for the ‘school hunt’ scene but I need to work on it more (and record real guitars). The section when the strings come was just something I did for fun but at least now I have a basic grasp on how to make ‘epic’ music and use this to create something for the ‘Bruce’ trailer that I have to do later on. Regarding the sounds, I used the ‘East West Symphonic Orchestra’ for the drums and strings, and for the main bass synth; I used Native Instruments ‘Massive’, a wavetable softsynth. Learning how to use ‘Massive’ took a couple of hours out of my life, but it is my favorite synth to use now; it’s so awesome. I also played around with reversing reverbs to create the ambient noises.

A big issue I came across when writing the rough drafts for the film was that the chase scenes were incredibly long. In fact the whole film is essentially one big chase scene so I have to figure out how to make the music not repetitive or boring. I thought that I could cut to different songs during the chases or add variation to them so I did some research online and read that a very good trick in making film music interesting, is to modulate up a minor third. So I’ll be trying to incorporate that soon. Another thing is that I feel that the film progressively gets more serious and that the electronic music just doesn’t cut it anymore. For some reason, I instinctively think of orchestral music while watching the end of the film; it just feels right. I asked my friend and he agreed so I’ve decided to go orchestral at around the end. So that means I’m going to be using a combination of electronic, rock and traditional instrumentation.

So that’s pretty much what I’ve been up to the whole week. Haven’t properly mixed anything yet but I know that when listening to ‘Shit Just Got Real’ on my laptop speakers, nothing is audible but the high frequencies of the bass synth so that’s a new problem to deal with but I’m leaving that to later after I compose everything. Also, I haven’t had much time to talk with Francis this week regarding ‘Bruce’ so I don’t know what he thinks of all this but I have invited him to view my blog so he can get a general idea of what is going on.

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