Jose Ricaurte, a recent graduate of the Music Composition for the Screen MFA program, spent a semester in LA with his classmates. Each had a different internship experience, and Jose’s was incredible. I interviewed him to find out what it was like.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jose Ricaurte. I am from Colombia, and I studied composition in the Javeriana University. I also went to Cuba to improve my skills in piano and orchestration. Before being accepted to Columbia College Chicago, I was a composer and a producer in Bogota, Colombia for commercials, and I did some additional music for TV shows. Recently, I moved to LA to expand my work as a media composer.
Who did you intern with?
I was seeing the latest and most advanced technology available for film composers.
I interned with Heitor Pereira at Backyard studios. This studio is inside Hans Zimmer’s Remote Control complex, so it was cool being around so many composers and feeling their energy. I met people like Henry Jackman and his assistants, and I also saw Hans Zimmer dining a couple of times with his assistants. I was able to see and work in amazing studios and learn how they are connected and how the systems interact with each other. I was seeing the latest and most advanced technology available for film composers—something I have never seen before, because having something like that is only possible in the Hollywood world.
What kind of things did you learn?
The things that I learned are many. The most important are: you have to be very neat and organized, work fast and good, be very diligent, and do more than what is expected…if you have the time (which is almost never). Also, try to be and talk in as many situations as you can. Doing that will give anybody advantage for the future projects.
How much interaction did you get with Heitor?
The interaction with the composer is something that you have to look for. Sometimes, they are always busy, so you just have to be looking for the moments to ask something or help with something. Heitor is a very nice person, and you can ask him pretty much whatever. He is very into art in general, so that was a topic of conversation sometimes.
You have to keep in mind every detail in your music—every element should play a roll and interact with each other and help the movie. If something that you think sounds great but does not work with the movie, you have to reconsider your ideas right away
He also shared some compositions that he was doing. What I learned from listening to his music is that you have to keep in mind every detail in your music—every element should play a roll and interact with each other and help the movie, if something that you think sounds great but does not work with the movie, you have to reconsider your ideas right away, because producers and directors are going to feel the same way that you do. Who ever is your composer, you have to find the moments to spend with him or her.[flickr id=”8166886310″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Do you have any advice for perspective students?
Write as much music in different genres as you can and try to make it sound as good as a Hollywood composer. Do it with what you have, which is probably just a computer, some software, and a keyboard, but in the mean time, try to find you own voice.
Thank you, Jose for this great input on your Internship! It is wonderful to hear from you!
To all readers, feel free to connect with Jose and check out his work at josericaurtemusic.com!