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.
What especially stuck out in my last conversation with Ron Proulx was when he said “this better not end up in your blog”.
I knew exactly what he meant but I can keep a secret.
I worked on a feature film earlier this year, the adaptation of the Michael Healey play The Drawer Boy. A strange experience because I attended the actual play at Theatre Passe Muraille in the 90s and loved it. Often when people deliver their films there are problems with the structure or wooden acting or confusing edits and it puts one in a position to try and rescue the thing through music if that’s even possible. When they sent me the rough edit I braced myself that it might not live up to my enthusiastic memories.
But to quote Ted, the 2cnd guitarist from the band UIC when he admired something – it totally slayed me. Now I had the best possible problem ever – how to add music and not get in the way of something that’s great without music.
The nicest surprise happened near the end. I tried to offer something unique to the soundscape, a lyrical song about the movie. Asked a songwriting student to sing it. After preparing myself psychologically for rejection it turned out they liked it. Got to have my cake and eat it too.