A mist of rosin particles flying off buzzing violin strings. Stubborn fingertip blisters that never heal. Stressed out ear drums from a childhood spent arrogantly emitting noises that can only be described as sound design for a duck massacre. Against all odds, some of us become addicted to this ancient ritual of sacrifice and pain — learning musical instruments.

I’m classically trained but bored of the predictable orchestra sound from centuries ago. The aesthetic of music has changed. On top of classical instruments there’s a universe of other sounds with which to play – piano hammers on a fretless guitar, ensembles of ringing wine glasses, the clanks of a perfectly tuned toy marimba. Even a bagpipe concerto played by a drunk 85 year-old hearse mechanic you just met at a thrift store. Ok, granted I took one of those examples too far – toy marimbas are never perfectly tuned.

A mist of rosin particles flying off buzzing violin strings. Stubborn fingertip blisters that never heal. Stressed out ear drums from a childhood spent arrogantly emitting noises that can only be described as sound design for a duck massacre. Against all odds, some of us become addicted to this ancient ritual of sacrifice and pain — learning musical instruments.

I’m classically trained but bored of the predictable orchestra sound from centuries ago. The aesthetic of music has changed. On top of classical instruments there’s a universe of other sounds with which to play – piano hammers on a fretless guitar, ensembles of ringing wine glasses, the clanks of a perfectly tuned toy marimba. Even a bagpipe concerto played by a drunk 85 year-old hearse mechanic you just met at a thrift store. Ok, granted I took one of those examples too far – toy marimbas are never perfectly tuned.

I grew up playing in salsa bands, heavy metal bands and performing Bach symphonies, sometimes all in the same day. When writing to picture I can cover any genre, that’s easy — what actually has value though is tailoring music to the scene, like a custom-made suit. No gaping crotch or oversized shoulders. This perfect fit is where the magic happens between music and film. Writing around the dialogue, helping to add meaning and intention if it gets lost, being a surrogate for the narrator. Ultimately, connecting the viewers to the characters. The difficulty lies in doing all this while remaining completely unnoticed. That’s why I like using the word magic; once you do notice the music, the spell is broken.

I have an obsession with including live musical elements in all of my work. That’s how the piece comes to life on a plane that computer-generated samples alone just can’t. Think of Siri and Alexa. They can read scripts without any mistakes but void of passion, and they certainly won’t grab your attention like Amanda Gorman can. We know that there’s so much more to spoken language than saying the right word at the right time, but we don’t always recognize that it’s the same with music.

I grew up playing in salsa bands, heavy metal bands and performing Bach symphonies, sometimes all in the same day. When writing to picture I can cover any genre, that’s easy — what actually has value though is tailoring music to the scene, like a custom-made suit. No gaping crotch or oversized shoulders. This perfect fit is where the magic happens between music and film. Writing around the dialogue, helping to add meaning and intention if it gets lost, being a surrogate for the narrator. Ultimately, connecting the viewers to the characters. The difficulty lies in doing all this while remaining completely unnoticed. That’s why I like using the word magic; once you do notice the music, the spell is broken.

I have an obsession with including live musical elements in all of my work. That’s how the piece comes to life on a plane that computer-generated samples alone just can’t. Think of Siri and Alexa. They can read scripts without any mistakes but void of passion, and they certainly won’t grab your attention like Amanda Gorman can. We know that there’s so much more to spoken language than saying the right word at the right time, but we don’t always recognize that it’s the same with music.

I’ve seen productions cheapen out at this stage of the marathon, and sadly waste the chance to cement what they’ve been writing, shooting and editing for years. There is a sacred power in music – we can guide viewers down the emotional canal we choose. When we play a few notes on an electric bass with a heavy cello bow, there’s a sense of impending danger. The exact same melody with a softer violin bow, now sounds pensive and conciliatory. The composition or instrument didn’t change at all, the delivery did. So working with live elements allow us crucial control over details that resonate on a level that we don’t even understand, our neurology simply handles it in the background. We only know it moves us.

My purpose isn’t to just add music to a production. I want to take viewers over to that place where the music weaves into the picture so perfectly, that it elevates a scene from great to remarkable. That state of mind when the moment is so encapsulating, you don’t want it to end. When we land in this entrancing place, everything else in the world is just noise.

I’ve seen productions cheapen out at this stage of the marathon, and sadly waste the chance to cement what they’ve been writing, shooting and editing for years. There is a sacred power in music – we can guide viewers down the emotional canal we choose. When we play a few notes on an electric bass with a heavy cello bow, there’s a sense of impending danger. The exact same melody with a softer violin bow, now sounds pensive and conciliatory. The composition or instrument didn’t change at all, the delivery did. So working with live elements allow us crucial control over details that resonate on a level that we don’t even understand, our neurology simply handles it in the background. We only know it moves us.

My purpose isn’t to just add music to a production. I want to take viewers over to that place where the music weaves into the picture so perfectly, that it elevates a scene from great to remarkable. That state of mind when the moment is so encapsulating, you don’t want it to end. When we land in this entrancing place, everything else in the world is just noise.