Getting into Film/TV for Composers

Not easy, as I suspect some of you already know. Ways to achieve it.
1 – Offer pieces of your work for free to a couple of new filmmakers. You would only need to let them use 30 sec or a minute of a piece. They are not going to want to use the whole piece.

2 – You could team up with some indie filmmakers. That is what tends to happens on the web site Mandy.com.

At Mandy filmmakers advertise for crew, writers etc to work for free on short films. Though I would no offer any of your services or music without checking out the quality of the filmmakers work first but there are genuinely good filmmakers who use Candy.com

3 – KAYS INTERNATIONAL FILM DATABASE

http://www.kays.co.uk/

Get yourself listed on Kays.
It is free and just about everyone on their list is a working pro.

You could look at the LA or UK list of film editors/directors and choose a few to send a sample of your work. Yes, it is a long shot but it does work.

At the BBC I used Christopher Gunning’s work a few times. His label had sent me a spec CD …. and yes he was paid for this work. So, that is worth a try.

FILM EDITORS

Film editors have a greater role in creating a film than the public realise. They often work by themselves and will choose what music suits certain sequences.

At times a director will turn up and the editor will say, ‘I think we should use this’ so editors are good to make friends with.

There are creative directories of people and companies who work in Hollywood.
Martin Scorsese has used the same film editor since the 1970s.

I would send a few CDs of your work to film editors working on feature films
and also editors working on TV documentaries. Documentaries use music more than features so I would concentrate on them. Look at the credits on TV programmes to see who the editor was.

You must, at times, be able to compose to film sequences which are already cut. Film runs at 25 – frames per sec in the UK and 30 in the USA.

Though I always prefered that the music be composed first then I would cut to the music.
I do not like sequences which are cut to the beat all the time. I always vary where the edit comes.

You can see some of my work on You Tube.
These two give you a flavour of how I edit and direct.

I personally think classical music needs to get into the modern world. From a TV point of view, they are still filming orchestras the way they did in the 1950s.

Chopin~Ballade number 1 in G minor – Nick Curror
http://tinyurl.com/86fz5mz

JUNK BOX – THE FINAL CUT

http://tinyurl.com/6pfofsb
_________

For composers and musicians who do not know, Soundcloud is a very useful site for showcasing your work.

Ron Taylor (ex BBC)
Writer/director/editor

www.youtube.com/PZK12

KAYS INTERNATIONAL FILM DATABASE

http://www.kays.co.uk/

 

Our Sam had popped down to the Co-op

Our Sam had popped down to the Co-op
He had muttered he,“wouldn’t be long”.
Said he needed a, “bar of carbolic”,
as he was starting to “smell very strong”.

Sammy had been gone for nearly an hour
It was ‘reet’ at the top of the steepest of hills.
Maybe his ticker was giving him trouble?
Though I had seen him taking his pill.

Yet there was no sign at the top of that hill,
So I e-mailed, faxed and finally phoned,
I even texted the Co-op and silently moaned.
‘Did you see our Sam, did he have his pills?”

The shop assistant suddenly texted me,
said she was serving a man, “waving a sawn off shot gun”.
I suddenly worried about our Sammy.
He had only gone for a large hot cross bun.

The Co-op is no longer standing
They replaced it with a big All Bar One.
Our Samy he never came back from the Co-op,
The police say, “he’s still on the run”.
___________________________________

Only The Dead Leave this City

I met this girl down in Salt Lake City
Boy she could really dance.
And when she moved, she looked so pretty,
All the guys were in a trance.

She said,
‘Only the dead ever leave this city.
Jump in my car
Do you wanna take a chance?
Only the dead ever leave this city’.

(Middle 8 break)

We met a guy down in New York City
He asked my girl if she would go to France.
He had a Porsche, he was dull but pretty.
Salt Lake girl was in a trance.

She said,
‘Only the dead live in this city.
I’ll jump your car
And take you for a ride.
Only the dead ever live in this city’.

________________________________

Bm – Em – G – A – Bm and variations of …

____________

I am a Seagull

I am a Seagull!
Give me your fish and chips,
feed, feed me, feed.
‘cause if you don’t
I’ll make your forehead bleed.

I am a Seagull!
Feed, feed me, feed.
I …. am …. a ….. Seagull.

Don’t give me
that Byron and Shelley crap
about me being Celestial.
And don’t put salt on the chips,
I’m trying to cut down on my Cholesterol.

I am a Seagull!
Feed, feed me, feed.
I …. am …. a ….. Seagull.

————

Getting into Film/TV for Composers

Not easy, as I suspect some of you already know. Ways to achieve it? Offer pieces of your work for free to a couple of new filmmakers. You would only need to let them use 30 sec or a minute of a piece. They are not going to want to use the whole piece.
You could team up with some indie filmmakers. That is what tends to happens on the web site Mandy.com.

At Mandy filmmakers advertise for crew, writers etc to work for free on short films. Though I would no offer any of your services or music without checking out the quality of the filmmakers work first but there are genuinely good filmmakers who use Candy.com

KAYS INTERNATIONAL FILM DATABASE

http://www.kays.co.uk/

Get yourself listed on Kays.
It is free and just about everyone on their list is a working pro.

You could look at the LA or UK list of film editors/directors and choose a few to send a sample of your work. Yes, it is a long shot but it does work.

At the BBC I used Christopher Gunning’s work a few times. His label had sent me a spec CD …. and yes he was paid for this work. So, that is worth a try.

FILM EDITORS

Film editors have a greater role in creating a film than the public realise. They often work by themselves and will choose what music suits certain sequences.

At times a director will turn up and the editor will say, ‘I think we should use this’ so editors are good to make friends with.

There are creative directories of people and companies who work in Hollywood.
Martin Scorsese has used the same film editor since the 1970s.

I would send a few CDs of your work to film editors working on feature films
and also editors working on TV documentaries. Documentaries use music more than features so I would concentrate on them. Look at the credits on TV programmes to see who the editor was.

You must, at times, be able to compose to film sequences which are already cut. Film runs at 25 – frames per sec in the UK and 30 in the USA.

Though I always prefered that the music be composed first then I would cut to the music.
I do not like sequences which are cut to the beat all the time. I always vary where the edit comes.

You can see some of my work on You Tube. The two below give you a flavour of how I edit and direct.

I personally think classical music needs to get into the modern world. From a TV point of view, they are still filming orchestras the way they did in the 1950s.

Chopin~Ballade number 1 in G minor – Nick Curror
http://tinyurl.com/86fz5mz

JUNK BOX – THE FINAL CUT

http://tinyurl.com/6pfofsb
_________

For composers and musicians who do not know, Soundcloud is a very useful site for showcasing your work.

Ron Taylor (ex BBC)
Writer/director/editor

www.youtube.com/PZK12


Roll With It

OLD LADY AND THE WHEELCHAIR MAN.

This morning the bus is busier than normal.

I am sitting downstairs. Maybe in future I should move upstairs. Too many elderly people using the buses and fighting for seats. I help a lady of about seventy-five into a seat beside me.

We chat about how busy the buses are becoming.

One the pavement I see a man on a motorised invalid chair speed past.
‘He’s going faster than the bus’, I say.
‘Last week, I was nearly run over by one of those’, she says. ‘They drive them too fast, they should be made to take a driving test’.
‘I agree with you. I think some people buy them because they can’t be bothered to walk and they are cheaper to run than a car’.

‘Last week’ she begins, ‘The bus pulled up to a stop. There was a man in a  wheelchair waiting for the bus. The driver didn’t know how to let down the plate which allows wheelchairs onto the bus. He had never had to use it before’.

She laughed.

‘A few of the passengers had to show him how to do it. Well they got the plate down and the wheelchair man rode onto the bus. The driver pushed him into the space for wheelchairs and asked him where he was going?
The man in the wheelchair looked up and said, ‘I don’t know’.
‘You don’t know?, said the driver.
‘No’.
‘You’ll have to get off the bus’.

The Old Lady laughed again, ‘some of the passengers helped the driver get the wheelchair back onto the pavement and the bus drove off’.

__________________________

MINI SKIRT SCHOOLGIRL

I am on the top deck today. Better view of the ship which ran aground a few months ago in a Force Ten. It should never have set sail. Maybe it was a management ploy to scuttle the ship and claim on the insurance.

The bus has reached the middle of the town. The promenade is busy. More tourists arriving by the week to witness the final rumblings of a once great seaside town. Now it is more like Saigon the week the Americans retreated.

I look down on the pavement. This town is a favourite spot for hen parties and stag nights. The current trend is to attend these nights out in fancy dress. The pavement is packed with young and not so young people. Very few of them are dressed in ‘normal’ clothes. It looks like a casting call for Warner Bros or a Mel Brooks film. Roman Soldier rub shoulders and share the pavement with Nuns, Knights, Tarts, Young Women dressed as School Girls, Boys as sixth form drop outs, Space Men. Some  clutch large dragons and rubber sharks which they have won on stalls.

A Paddington Bear looks down from a stall, “we’re not in South America now, Toto”.

Myself and two other people are riding on the top deck today. They are at the front of the bus. I am in ‘my seat’ at the back of the bus. Best place to be in case Al Qaeda attack the bus. If you are at the back it gives you a few seconds of thinking time before you decide whether to take on the terrorists or surrender. ‘Blackpool 93, come in Blackpool 93’.

The bus stops. The clatter of light footsteps up the stairs.
A school girl pops her head up and looks around. She steps onto the top deck. She walks down the middle of the bus in her mini skirt and sits down next to me.

She could have sat anywhere on the bus. It is empty bar the two at the front. Why has she come all the way back here? Maybe she thinks this is ‘her seat’ not ‘my seat’. Maybe she has been traveling this route since she was eight and is not prepared to give way. Then I wonder if a journalist or photographer is going to get on the bus two stops further on and see whether I have said anything to her. No, I think not. A tabloid paper wouldn’t sink that low to entrap someone, would they? They are only interested in the truth? Don’t we all love the paparazzi and the good they do for society?

Mini Skirt plugs into her iPod.

After a couple of miles she gets off.
Must have been be a show of independence, confidence and power.

BRAD PITT AND THE DANCER GIRL

A young boy gets on the bus. He is smartly dressed: polo shirt, clean jeans, trainers. Good looking, age sixteen, fifteen? You would cast him in a film. He looks interesting. Could be a young runner in ‘Chariots of Fire’, a street kid in ‘Quadraphrenia’ or someone who beats up Harry Potter.

One stop later a young girl boards the bus. Age, fourteen, fifteen? She carries a bag with the name of a dance school. She is dressed in cream coloured track suit. She looks more than capable of hitting the Martha Graham steps when she enters the class. Does she look like a Dame Margot? No. Darcy Bushell? Yes.

Brad is not slow to take an interest in her.

She is sat on the opposite side of the bus to Brad and a few seats back. As she walked past him to get to her seat it was obviously love at first sight for him. He can’t resist turning round to glance at her. He repeats this manoeuver several times until Dame Margo has had enough of it. She gets up from her seat and moves back down the bus and sits three seats behind him. Poor Brad. She doesn’t like him.

A few stops down the route Brad gets off the bus. I look down to see if he will glance up at her as the bus pulls away. He does. She doesn’t look down. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.
__________________________

‘YOU LOOKING AT ME?’

A few miles down the road and he starts. The man mid thirties or early forties next to me hitting himself repeatedly on the legs. He stops. I thought he must have been beating off a fly which was getting on his nerves. No. A few stops on he starts to beat himself up again. I decide this is a real life character from Taxi Driver and get off at the next stop.

__________________________

BRAD PITT AND THE STREET FIGHTING GIRLS

I get on the bus to return home, step upstairs. Who should be in what I now regard as ‘my seat’ but the ‘Brad Pitt’ boy. I have to sit in the middle of the bus. Only he and I occupy the top deck.

Three bus stops later and the clatter of young girls coming up the stairs. Not any girls, street fighting girls. They see Brad on the back seat and head straight toward him. One of them has smuggled a can of larger onto the bus. As she passes by me she pulls the can from under her coat. They plonk themselves close to Brad.

This will be interesting. How we will Brad cope with three?

There is no hesitation from the girls, not a moment is wasted with reading body language or assessing the situation.
They are at him faster than a CIA agent at Guantanamo.

‘What’s your name?’
‘Jack’.
‘Where do you live?’

He mentions an area of the town. Not confident enough or maybe too street wise not to give them his complete home address.

More questions are fired at him. The street fighters all speak at the same time. I cannot catch the dialogue now. It is too fast and over lapping, Robert Altman lives.

Brad mumbles to them.

One of the girls says.
‘I know a Jack’.
The two other girls laugh and say to their friend,
‘You know a Jack?
Everyone must know a Jack!’

More rapid questions which I can’t follow. They are being fired at him as if from a machine gun.

Brad gets up to leave the bus.
He looks relieved to be out of the firing line.

As he walks past the girls one of them shouts.

‘Nice arse too!’

Today I am sitting on the opposite side to the exit doors so I cannot see if he glanced up at them as the bus pulled away? I suspect not. Maybe when he gets home he will replay the scene and think of many comic quips he could have used if only he had been better prepared. Or maybe two girls less. But then a girl by herself, even a street fighting one, would have said nothing.

Poor Brad, the cards seem stacked against him.

The street fighter girls become quiet. Their prey has slipped away. Nothing to do now but look out of the window at a view they have seen a hundred times before.

Three miles down the road and who should get onto the bus but none other than the Mini Skirt schoolgirl. My God, I think this is developing into a TV series.
She is with a friend. They sit in the middle of the bus opposite me. If we were all in a movie I would probably say, ‘Hi. You were on the bus the other day’. But I say nothing. We are in a land and an era where all males over thirty five are considered sex offenders.

The street fighters perk up. Breaking silence as they have someone new to show off their gadgets too. Suddenly music is blaring from the back of the bus. Loud, way too loud.  I don’t mind. It’s a good four by four rock track with a middle eight.

Mini Skirt Girl and her friend carry on and don’t rise to the musical intrusion of the street fighters.

Now I think I’m in Cameron Crowe’s ‘Almost Famous’. If it was Elton John’s, “Tiny Dancer” blasting out on the gadget I wonder if we would all join in on the chorus?

One stop down. The music is turned off. The street Fighters get off the bus.

Mini Skirt and her friend now move to the back seat. They sit in ‘My seat’ which is sometimes ‘Brad’s seat’.

The bus passes the local War Memorial. It is being given a make over for England’s Veterans’ Day.
I hear Mini Skirt’s friend ask.
‘How high is the platform going to be which we sing on?’
Mini Skirt must indicate with a hand movement how high the platform will be raised. They discuss which songs they will sing for the Veterans’. Obviously it will be a school concert.

Suddenly they go in to a impromptu rehearsal. After the street Fighters music I now get a a piece for two voices. Mozart, Handel? I don’t recognise the song. It could be Giovanni Palestrina.
_____________
June 2008 – Bus numbers: 1, 11 and 7.

In Defense of You Tube

You Tube is becoming an interesting channel.

You Tube’s critics seem to concentrate on the thousands of teenagers all
lip syncing to pop songs in the hope of being discovered.
Those teenagers have good reason to do what they are doing.
One girl, who had over a million hits, has been signed by a USA
network. I watched her video, it was funny, inventive, entertaining.

Not many of the You Tube detractors ever mention the amount of historical footage on the site. It must be the best resource in the world for researchers, novelists, historians, school children and anyone interested in the past.

There is footage on the site which will never be shown on a TV channel anywhere in the world again. That is not because the footage is not relevant or people are not interested but simply that TV companies, with a few exceptions, are not very creative in commissioning.

Type BOBBY KENNEDY into the search engine and you get a very long list of him making speeches, CIA plots against him, assassination footage etc etc.

Type JFK and you get far more clips. I can hear you all say, ‘we’ve seen those clips a thousand times’. Yes we have but the generation behind us have not seen them.

When was the last time, in the UK, you saw anything about Bobby Kennedy or any of the following subjects: David Hockney, The Beatles, Stem Cells, how to play “Wonderwall”, a 12 year old guitarist playing Neal Young songs, Space Exploration, Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath reading, “Daddy”, D H Lawrence, George Best and Joni Mitchell?

British TV has become narrow casting: politics, soaps, reality, celebrity.

Karl Marx wrote, ‘Religion is the opium of the people’. In the sixties sociologists turned that quote into: ‘TV is the opiate of the masses’. Never before has that been been true of broadcasting in the UK.

Most tv channels are now simply a tool for publicists. Chat shows only have guests on who are pushing a book, a new CD, a movie release. No one ever comes on to talk about their day to day work. It would be nice for a change to see someone interview Kate Blanchett and ask  her about how she got into the profession, who and what influenced her, what advice she would give to young girls wanting to get into films and theatre.

Last week, on You Tube, I watched a clip which was a recording of a telephone call made from the 105th floor of the WTC. It was a harrowing experience. No channel would ever show it because they would be afraid of upsetting their audience. But I think clips like that should be in the public domain, if only to stop the conspiracy writers from making money from a tragic event.

On on the music front You Tube it is a fantastic resource.

The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, Shostakovitch, Beethoven, Elgar and just about anyone who has made a record or performed at the local Dog and Duck. Some of that material is disappearing as the record companies call in their copyright. But the enlightened labels have done a deal with You Tube.

The clip on my channel which gets the most hits, and by a long way, is Slim Aarons talking about his photograph of Jackie Kennedy.  I never expected a woman, who has been out of the public eye for twenty years, to be the main source of interest.

I think the public embrace You Tube because they know it has no political allegiance.

Thank God, Rupert Murdoch was unable to buy it.

True, You Tube is owned by a corporation, GOOGLE but Google is not a run of the mill company. Thirty per cent of their employees are millionaires. I have not heard of any company rewarding their staff to such an extent.

As for those teenagers, they can’t win. The media would have you believe that they all hang around waiting to mug someone, take or sell crack cocaine and shoot each other.

Many teenagers spend hours on You Tube, filming their own interests and creating something out of nothing, just for the hell of it. They should be encouraged and not criticised for falling short of broadcasting excellence.

Powerful organisations attack You Tube because they are terrified of the upstart channel. They have good reason to be afraid. Audiences,  young and old, have dumped main stream media.

The broadcasters have only themselves to blame.

You Tube’s raison d’être? I would say: creativity, education and entertainment.

Lord Reith would have embraced the channel.
________________________________

Ron Taylor, February 2007 / 2012

http://www.youtube.com/PZK12