Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Writing music to order

Ali Porter

"Run, I Promise" - Logic Session Screenshot

"Run, I Promise" - Logic Session Screenshot

There was an interesting development at my internship last week. I was asked to write some music for an indie film. Read on to find out what happened…

We got a music request for an indie film, and the brief was very vague. They did not want music with a dominating beat, but it did have to be spherical sounding with repetitious patterns. Spherical sounding? Was that supposed to mean round sounds, round structure, round melody? We had a hard time searching the catalog for appropriate material. We just could not find something that we thought might be “spherical.” Then my supervisor suggested we use one of my compositions…

Some of you may know a little bit about music licensing. For those that do not, it can be quite a lucrative source of revenue for a musician. If you manage to get your track into a commercial for a big name brand, the payout can be good… really good. The hard part is getting your tracks heard by music supervisors (the people that choose music for films, TV, ads, etc.). This is where a publisher or record label/licensing company comes in handy. They have good relationships with supervisors and pitch music directly to them. Minty Fresh (the record label I intern at) has these connections, and with that in mind I could not turn down the opportunity to write music for them to pitch!

I had a few things already written, but my supervisor suggested I write something new, as well.

“Great,” I thought.

Unfortunately, I had less than 24 hours in which to do it.

With the pressure on, I went home that night, fired up my laptop, hooked up my keyboard, and started writing. Within about 5 minutes, I had the basic foundations of a piece. I then spent the next few hours building it out. It started off really synth-heavy as I was going for a “spherical sound,” but that was just not working. I then switched all the tracks to strings, apart from the main motif, and it started to really take shape. Within a few hours I had something I thought could work, and we submitted it, along with another older composition, to the music supervisor on the project.

If you would like to hear the tracks, you can listen HERE. The tracks I submitted are “Rerazed” and “Run, I Promise,” the latter being the one written for the project. The other track (“Gohard”) I wrote for a director friend of mine.

Now begins the waiting game to see if the music supervisor thinks the tracks would fit the film. I will let you know what happens!

Writing music to order

There was an interesting development at my internship last week. I was asked to write some music for an indie film. Read on to find out what happened… We got …

Arts, Entertainment & Media Management MAM Ali Porter, alistair.porter@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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