Archive for May 4th, 2012
In the spring and summer of 2007 a group of wildly talented individuals from KCPQ, Q13 in Seattle, got the crazy idea to make a movie. Concepts were kicked around the lunch room, basically a bunch of guys all spewing out “what if?” and then….Eureka! A zombie film! No wait…A Mormon Zombie film! This could be interesting?! The subject started out small and simple, maybe a youtube short, or maybe something that might not ever even see the light of day. But, as the case was, we were determined to rally on a project that was our own and quickly the idea grew to something much larger than any of us had originally anticipated– a feature length film was born. How we made the film has been documented in many other places around the web, might I suggest thebookofzombie.com as a starting point if you’re so inclined? While we were in production, of the many hats I wore, perhaps the most challenging and exhilerating job I had was the task of scoring of the film, creating the soundtrack. Now days creating a soundtrack can consist of many things, some films re-cycle music that already exists, others have a composer or songwriter write original music to accompany the pictures on the screen, and some combine both. In the case of The Book of Zombie, the decision was made early on to create an all original score. Awesome! Creativity, raw and pure! Years after the production had initially begun, edits were completed and the chance to start writing music that was custom tailored to the action begun. I won’t bore you with the details of it all but I basically spent the fall of 2009 and winter of 2010 in front of several computers, keyboards, a zillion instruments, and bits of paper scattered around what I call Squawking Vultures Studios. Squirreled away in solitude the process was an intense one that often required brisk walks to find further inspiration when the brain felt otherwise frozen. But, as the spring of 2010 took form, the dozens of “cues” I had written began to take shape and started to add real life to the film. Working with the directors of the film I further dialed things in, orchestrated hit points, tension points, relief and so on. Here are just a few of the cues that I wrote. Please note, given that the original files are uncompressed and that this is the internet, if you want to hear these files at their highest quality…well…you’ll have to see the film on DVD or something to that end…so it goes.
Until then, this first cue was for the opening credits to the film:
Without giving away too much about what happens in the film, this next cue was written for a scene that shows our heroes escaping danger for the first time, putting the pieces together of what exactly is happening, only to discover a hoard of zombies waiting to pull them to pieces:
This last cue was written as utter chaos is taking place, the world is devolving for our heroes as impending doom grows near. Zombies attack and our heroes fight back only to finish the scene in a loving but remorseful embrace:
From composition to recording to mixing the whole process was completed at Squawking Vultures, truly a blast and I can’t wait to do it again, now for the right project to sign on to. Until then, guitarists just wait until you see what I’ve got in store for you, boutique guitar tube amps, designed and built by yours truly, and let me tell you, these things are sounding sweet…details to come hopefully mid to late 2012.
When an alien technology power source known as a tesseract, acquired by the U.S. government agency S.H.I.E.L.D. begins giving off an unusual radiation power signature, physicist professor Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard) is on high alert. Concerned with the change he notifies his superior, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson); but, no sooner than he can do this, the tesseract magically opens a door to another universe allowing the scorned Norse god, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), to walk earth. With the intent of destroying earth and the power of mind control, Loki assembles a team of unlikely individuals to assist in creating an even bigger gateway to the universe—a gateway large enough to allow the entire Centauri army to reign terror upon humanity. Now it’s up to Fury to assemble his team of unlikely heroes, the Avengers, including: Iron Man Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce Banner the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson)– all big names and sometimes bigger egos in the world of crime fighting. Unfortunately, with Loki’s bag of tricks, intellect, and archer extraordinaire, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) at his beckon call it looks like earth’s fighting chance is slipping away by the minute. Can the Avengers set aside their differences long enough to come together and save the planet, will Tony Stark ever get a night alone with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and who will pay the ultimate price in battle? Sounds exciting, right? We’ve been building to this crescendo for years as the pieces of Marvel’s superhero team were assembled one by one– the pressure is on to make this good. So, let me be brief and up front, the film is entertaining and fun; but, this praise comes with several reservations. Directed and partially written by Joss Whedon, fans of the previous Marvel flicks are in for a treat in that the humor, pace, and stylistic feel is consistent right into the Avengers. In a way it’s kind of like a buffet line of some of the more interesting superhero’s we’ve seen on the silver screen. You get the snark and cynicism of Tony Stark, the oafishness of Thor, The brains of Bruce Banner, and the sometimes nauseating patriotism of Captain America; plus, we get more insight on Hawkeye and Black Widow, not bad. The acting all feels spot on, which is expected since the actors have all had the chance to grow into their characters for several years, and, Hiddleston’s mean mugging Loki even works. But, when it comes to the rest of the villainous plot and the foes set on destroying earth, well, quite simply Whedon and crew just run out of steam. With dialogue equal to the caliber of the Power Rangers, artistic rip-offs of damn near every other action film we’ve seen, I’m thinking Transformers, Spiderman, and even Star Wars, the “evil” we’re supposed to be fearing just comes across as old hat and played out. By the time the film devolves into a giant sea of CGI battle, as per the norm now days, we still haven’t been given anything new or compelling to look forward to…Except the hulk. Even then, inconsistencies between the Hulk’s inability to control himself and then suddenly the appearance of a conscious awareness and sense of “good” makes me scratch my head a bit. Never the less, it’s still entertaining, the humor is well placed and you get what you pay for. The 3D here is a waste and does nothing to add to the film. Remember to go easy on your beverage, clocking in at 2 hours and 22 minutes in length this is a longer one. And, as always, stay in your seat well into the credits for the latest cliff hanger, fun. The Avengers is rated PG-13.