We have reached one of my favorite times of the year. Saint Patrick’s Day is all the more special in Chicago, where we literally turn the Chicago River green. Being Irish, I grew up celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with decorations and a homemade meal of corned beef, potatoes and cabbage, cooked by my father, Patrick. I always feel a bit homesick when I’m away from home during the holiday. It was especially difficult during my four years studying in Miami, where the only visible changes were people wearing green and discount drinks at the local bar. In Chicago, where there is so much Irish pride, I can mark my calendar and eagerly anticipate the weekend, just like in my childhood.
In school-related news, we second years have been plugging away at the feature film we’re scoring this semester. I find this experience gives me such a sense of pride in my work. It proves I can take on a project of this magnitude. I look forward to working on it every week, and I cannot wait to be able to say I scored an entire feature-length film.
The first year students have just wrapped up their time with composer-in-residence Greg Tripi. Greg is a very versatile composer and very down to Earth Who better to tell you about him than a current first year who has spent eight weeks studying with him? Below is my conversation with Nyla Smith:
How has class with Greg been?
“Class with Greg has been so fantastic. We are currently scoring Ma, which is a horror film featuring Octavia Spencer, a Blumhouse production. Greg first gave us the assignment of building our own sound libraries of acoustic samples and synthetic sounds that we could use to score a film. That process was really cool because it forced me to think about the qualities of sounds, and have intention behind them before I implemented them into my score, which allowed me to have a better big picture approach when I started writing for the cues. Greg’s insights are not only about scoring, but on how the industry is very much based in finding your creative niche and connecting with composers that understand your sound. It’s been cool to hear about Greg’s experiences coming up in the industry in LA and to hear how his work has evolved over time.”
Did you find writing this kind of music challenging or more in your wheelhouse?
“I’d say that the work we did in Greg’s class was easier for me than orchestra writing, but still challenging, because I wanted to create a cohesive piece of music that implements a lot of different varieties of sounds. Figuring out how to use and incorporate lots and lots of different sounds into one focused piece of music has been a challenge, and understanding how to spot the scene and then apply set textures has been a huge growth point for me. I was also constantly afraid to fill a cue with pads or texture or sound sign, but I’m learning that kind of writing can be just as impactful as a section of music with a lot of notes.”
What is your biggest takeaway working with Greg?
“My biggest takeaway in working with Greg is the importance of being unique. So many people can write a synthetic or synthesizer based score, but not many people can create the sound that you create, especially when you set yourself up to create some thing that is high-quality and customized. I really look forward to adding my own twist, or even using custom sounds just to add interest to work that I’m doing even if they’re not the focal point, and I think that creating a library of your own sounds and learning how to use them effectively can ultimately also greatly improve the efficiency of your writing. I’m super grateful to Greg and hope to reconnect with him again once we all move to LA!”
Hope you enjoyed that. Until next time!
Below are some cues that Nyla worked on during her time with Greg!
And here is her website: https://www.nyla-smith.com.