Category Archives: Films


At a TIFF premiere, Q & A with director and I got the last question. I asked what his process was like with the composer.
He answered the composer was a big shot who he didn’t anticipate being able to work with but surprisingly the composer approached him. They tried some cues blah blah blah basically he said it was fantastic to watch the composer develop the score. No fights. No dilemmas. Didn’t have anything to say that was critical.
Then everyone claps, says goodnight, as I made my way out, taking the long way, I noticed by the elevators the director was still talking to fans and so I approached and reminded him I was the last question and had one more question – was it really so easy for them to work together? He said no it wasn’t but I’m not going to say that out loud in a Q & A.
What’s the point of the Q&A? It doesn’t mean you have to insult someone if you had disagreements, it’s just a way for us to gain insight. So that was the insight, that he’s chicken.


Dame Julia Nesbelch, the producer of City Of Wood once remarked when we were discussing a hissy fit thrown by an electric guitarist who’s claim to fame was owning an expensive guitar instead the ability to play it great. “Classic Tiny Talent Time” is what she called it. I liked that expression.
The first tv serial I scored arrived without any sound design. Nobody told me it comes later. I thought it was an enormous vacuum so I filled it wall to wall. When later I heard it back on television I realized what I did was unredeemable. I hid under the mattress. One of many classic tiny talent time moments for me. At that time many people patted me on the back because I was well known, they thought that in itself made the music good but truly it was unlistenable. I could have been so big if only there was a Gemini category for worst music in a sitcom.
And some directors don’t understand a sketch isn’t the final music. It’s a sketch. It’s louder so they can “hear” the musical details not because the music has an evil plan to obliterate important things like dialogue. Certain directors react to sketches precisely like that, they forget the sketch is controllable for them later, in any way they can imagine. It’s like having an actor read lines and getting upset that lighting cues, costumes and make up didn’t simultaneously exist in the audition. Classic ttt.

being fired

Being fired is a total shock. In 30 years it happened twice and I didn’t see it coming. It was in a way good but painful. Makes you think lots about what happened or what didn’t happen. Both times when I viewed how the pictures were completed by my replacements I didn’t hear something I couldn’t have done. Both times the final music reflected different direction than the previous style requested of me. There isn’t a simple answer about how things work or don’t work, it’s about how people talk and relate. I try to hedge my bet by making more choices than too few.


I’ve also had to end sessions occasionally because the person I hired couldn’t execute what I wanted. One time I hurt someone’s feelings but I was paying for studio time and had to call it. It didn’t sound in tune and there was no software to try altering the problem back then. I offered to pay them anyway and they ripped the money up threw it on the ground.