End of Semester & Summer


Hey Everyone!

So many exciting things have happened in the past few weeks of school and the first few weeks of summer. For the last few weeks of school, we all worked on the feature film For Lovers Only by the Polish brothers. We also went all out on an assignment where we had to compose a scene like another composer would, and we composed a short scene.

I have enjoyed writing for For Lovers Only the most out of all the films we’ve worked on because it is a romantic drama. The black-and-white film has a very dreary tone throughout the majority, but it is also a romance film, so it was interesting working with a single theme and seeing it change through the journey of the two main characters.

The last scene we had for the end of the semester was a scene from Water for Elephants, which we composed for at the beginning of our first semester. I went back to my initial composition to see if there was anything I could take from it, either thematically, harmonically, or rhythmically, but when I saw that first cue I had written in grad school, I couldn’t help but laugh. The instrumentation I used was one synth and a piano and it didn’t really have much motion or form to it. It said something, but it didn’t say enough. Looking back at that cue, I know that I have changed exponentially over the course of the year as a composer. Scoring for Water for Elephants at the end of the year, I decided not to utilize anything from that first scene we did, and therefore I was able to clearly see how far I have moved forward.


I have been working on a short 15-minute film called Blood for the past month, month-and-a-half. I have had an amazing experience collaborating with the director and producer on the score. I feel that school has really helped me in collaborating and the mentality that we have to have as composers for the screen. We are almost always asked to do a rewrite for a cue that we compose.

Before this year, I feel like I didn’t take collaborating as seriously. Most of the time I worked with directors who weren’t really sure of what they wanted, or they didn’t want to put the time and effort in, which never made sense to me. So before this year, collaborating was a lot of just me composing and trying to figure out what the sound is by myself. But working on Blood has been an absolutely amazing experience. I feel as though I’ve taken everything I’ve learned throughout the year and I am applying it to my work outside of classes.

It’s also extremely nice to have a director and producer that want to have a bigger say in the score. They are opening my mind as a person, as a composer, and as an audience member. I have never felt so connected to a film before. So, composers, if you’re having a tough time letting go with your composition, do it! It is so worthwhile because you will come across thoughts and creative ideas that you never would before. And directors, take the time to sit down with your composer and really give them an idea of what you want. This film is your baby, and we’re here to help. It will be super beneficial, and you will learn a lot, too. Pick each other’s brains, and understand the film better, as well as the industry and director/producer/composer mentality.


I’d like to talk about self-doubt for a second, because I feel like it’s a big thing as a composer, or as an artist in general. At the end of this semester, I was doubting myself and my work constantly, and I felt like I could not get out of that mentality. I ended up talking with Kubi Uner, the director of the program, and a few things he said to me stuck with me. He said:

  1. We are always creating music for someone else, be it a film, or another form of medium, but we need to create music for ourselves, as well.
  2. Find what you love, and let it kill you.

What I didn’t realize this whole last semester was that I was limiting myself in the way that I was composing. A lot of the cues I wrote were orchestral cues. Obviously it’s good to know both electronic and orchestral, but at the same time I was not trying new and adventurous things because I was scared to. Generally, when working with a film you’re given the instrumentation that would fit best. But what I’ve started to realize, is that all of the bigger composers in Hollywood get work because they have collaborators who want something specific, but you can still make it your own.

Now, since Kubi suggested that we need music as a hobby also, I decided I wanted to join a band. And funny enough, a week or two after talking to Kubi, a band called Doomerang got in contact with me and suggested that I play bass guitar with them. Now, it’s been years since I’ve performed, or even played my bass guitar. But the minute I got the music, I learned the songs, got a few blisters on my fingers, and realized just how much I needed it. It was a gateway into the missing pieces of my personal compositions. By playing bass, I was realizing the form of music, which, to be honest, has been one of my weaknesses.

Playing bass has guided me back to the essence, atmosphere, and soul of music that I was starting to drift away from. I couldn’t be happier, and it’s another learning experience. Art has a funny way of teaching you something at the most opportune times.

A couple last notes, because there is honestly so much to say. I was recently contacted by an Australian director who needed a composer for her romantic comedy feature film. I was shocked to receive an email from her, as I’ve never been contacted by another country to score a film for them. I asked the director how she heard of my work, as I have been lacking in my personal advertising, and my website is currently down for remodeling. It turns out that the composer they’d hired initially knew of my work, and let her know about me.

I finally found out who the initial composer was, but I have no idea how he knows my work. This says a lot, though. Always, always, always bring cards and give them to anyone who may be a connection. You never know where that information will go and who will end up having it. Networking is key!

Lastly, I’m creating an EDM/atmospheric EP this summer. It’s not for anything specific, except for me, myself, and I. I’m excited to learn more about EDM and the mixing & audio process. I hope to release sometime in August, so keep an eye out!

Thanks for stopping by!