One of the things about me that a lot of people don’t truly understand is that I like “bad films” a lot. What “bad films” actually means is low budget work created by people who have a real passion for invention. People who want to push boundaries, and sometimes people who simply want to hang out with friends and make a few silly films with them – these are the people I really admire. They work on a slightly different plane, always trying to achieve something through hard work, determination, and often seemingly impossible odds stacked against them. This is an endurance that high end, high budget films will never really have to struggle with in the same way.
What I admire is that they pick up a camera and shoot. They work hard to try and realise their impossible dreams and they consistently suffer for their art. I’ve written a lot of music over the years for over 130 films and short films now, and I do this because I love the work people create when it’s fueled by a desire for greatness. I love the fact that I’m working with like minded people who don’t let the world crush, annihilate or destroy them. These are people who sometimes have to deal with horrendous abuse, criticism and hate on a daily basis, simply because their work is not a million pound CGI fest.
A Long Time Ago in a Facebook Group, Far, Far Away, I met someone called Benjamin Martian. He had a keen interest in creation, but I really liked his personality as I got to know him over time in my Facebook feed. There was something a little weird and wacky there, something unique and positive that helped keep me going through my descent into madness. Now it just so happened that he would become one of the creators of Tigtone on Adult Swim, a series that is lovely and weird, and that I highly recommend to anyone who wants something different.
By sheer happenstance, recently he needed some music and I sent him a message about it, and I got to work with him recently providing some of the soundtrack to one of his creations. I’d like to share that with you today!
I find it’s always interesting working with people you admire. When I first saw an advert for Tigtone go up, I had no idea he was even involved in the project, but when I found out, I was so happy for him. The thing is, I have tried and failed to realise my dreams for years, and here was someone living the dream and creating amazing things. This to me, is one of the most inspiring things. To me he wasn’t the creator of a series and awesome because of that. More so, he was an awesome person and this series was an extension of his will as he proved to the universe his ideas and work had the unfathomable resolve to stand firm against the tides of oppression the world throws at creators every day.
Benjamin Martian is not alone in being someone who’s manage to overcome these odds and create something brilliant! A lot of the people I have worked with or work with on and off have gone on to create many wonderful things. One thing I should say is that you never know who you are working with. Down the line, I’ve seen so many people who’s friends never thought would get anywhere suddenly grow wings and move forwards at a frightening speed. On the other side of the coin, you also have amazing high grade actors and directors who everyone wants to work with get hit by a random scandal, which destroys their career entirely.
I like working with people no matter who they are, whether or not they are famous or just starting out. Being part of someone’s dreams is important to me. As a director of my own silly films, I always like people who are up and coming, and I love people who are just starting out. Watching them blossom and grow over the years is a thing of beauty. I have worked now on over 160 films in pretty much every role there is, and I’d never introduce myself as anything other than a hack musician. The thing is, we are people first and not creators. Our dreams can either be completely lost or fuel reality, and bring inspiration to others.
Strangely enough, one of the reasons I originally got to know Benjamin Martian on Facebook is his name. It’s weird, a little far out and I love it. There’s something about the combination of letters that I like and it flows that was beautiful to me. I find it mysterious and alien! I am also far too afraid to ask if it’s his real name. As someone who has a weird name that I chose: Chan Walrus. It’s always fun to have people contact me and say: “Oh wow, I thought you were Chinese!” or “I am the Walrus!” (A song I loathe!) I secretly wonder if people contact him and ask him if he’s really a Martian.
I think this blog has been sufficiently derailed in my usual rambling way, but it was a pleasure working with him and I feel so happy watching my music being used in the work of someone I admire!
Thanks for reading this and definitely check out Tigtone. If you aren’t questing by the end of the first episode then Helpy help you.
So today, I just found out that Remember has been released, and it’s one of the creepiest things I’ve scored! Remember by inDgenious is a frightening thrill ride unlike any I’ve played before. Whilst I’ve played many point and click adventure games, few of them have hooked me the way Remember does. The creepy atmosphere is highly alienating yet mesmerizing, and it reminds me somewhat of searching in my creepy basement for old abandoned sweets, yet with even greater risks. Of course I jest, and the game is genuinely terrifying.
You are… Someone who can’t remember who she is. Maybe I know, maybe I don’t, either way, it’s up to you to work out who you are, where you are, and why you’re there.
Ahead lies a mixture of complicated puzzles, convoluted intrigue and something… Indescribably horrible. Will you remember and save yourself before your fate is sealed? I wish you luck fellow traveler… You can acquire a version on the game’s web-page, click: here! (I highly recommend buying the game rather than playing the lite version because the lite version is too immersion breaking.
My job on Remember was as a composer. I tried for weeks to work out what would work best as a soundtrack, what would fit the atmosphere of the game. I tried some creepy piano music, adding a bit of chorus here and there. It was OK but nothing brilliant. One of the main inspirations for my first forays into the music was the music Mark “m0ds” Lovegrove wrote working on the Chzo Mythos by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. I experimented a little with harpsichords and tried to come up with a fitting theme.
The problem was either I hit far too close to the music I liked and risked plagiarism, or I came up with something that wasn’t very fitting. Eventually, I realised after trying playing the game with some infra sound that I should just go for game sounds and atmosphere. So I set about writing the soundtrack for it with no real theme, keeping an older piece for the title music. I tried to focus my mind on making the game feel creepy and unwelcoming, whilst keeping some ideas and themes slightly reminiscent of each other.
The ambient score I composed for Remember scares the hell out of me and makes me feel uncomfortable, working beautifully with the environments and visuals presented in the game. For a small independent company, inDgenious have really excelled and created something truly special. It’s another brilliant example of what someone with drive can accomplish. If you like indie survival horror games, it’s well worth getting a copy! You can get one on the game’s web-page, click: here!
Being involved in the production of independent films can be a complicated and stressful task. I’ve worked with many fantastic people over the years of many projects, some which have garnered success for their creators, some which have been doomed to failure, which can be incredibly sad, as every film or web-series has a lot of love pooled into it, even if it doesn’t look like a Hollywood blockbuster.
I can honestly say I have never worked on a bad film, however as an independent film maker myself, I know the extreme suffering involved in many steps of the film production process. Writing can be horribly hard at times, and a lot of the time you have to sacrifice what could be a fantastic screenplay because the scripts can become too complicated for an audience.Cast members may also have issues with what happens within the script and strong-arm you out of things which you feel are necessary to make the film work. The cast can on some projects be unreliable, or they can turn against the project or give it up for something more lucrative. Composers can back out on you, which will usually be money related. As a composer myself, I have always tried to be as loyal to projects as possible.
Usually the biggest problem is money. People who work on films are not greedy, especially the independent ones, but everyone needs to live and not everyone works on these films as a hobby. So where am I going with this? Well, it’s hard to make a film and it’s great to talk about success when it finally happens. So here goes!
Rebecca Gold is off to a fantastic start. Directed by the phenomenally geeky Ian David Diaz, who I have come to revere as some kind of Indie Film Making God, Rebecca Gold has received award after award. I’ve literally lost track of the amount of awards this little web-series has won. Beautifully acted, directed, scored, filmed and edited, the series is a culmination of efforts from many talented film makers all working to bring the project to life.
I think that it’s probably one of the best things I have ever had the privilege of working on and I’ve made many fantastic friends through the process. Special shout out to Ian Diaz, Paul Coster, Katie Sheridan and Keith Eyles! I messed around a bit with camera work and did some behind the scenes photography. I also got to get shot by a hot female assassin, although you can’t tell it’s me!!! Here are the awards Rebecca Gold has achieved so far, and with the idea of a second series in the works, I’m looking forwards to seeing where this goes!
If you want to watch Rebecca Gold, you can do so through my website which will give you a rundown of each episode, and you can see each episode by clicking: here!
It’s rare that I get a chance to shine on the silver screen, and I’m more than happy to settle for bronze! I went to see Mask of Thorn at it’s premiere at Horror on Sea two years back. I was astounded that I could have been a part of something so great. It all started a few years back. I met Mj Dixon online in a Facebook Group I admin. I liked his work and thought that he was pretty much someone like me. He’s a creator, and his work is incredible, by contrast, I feel that mine is not in any way special. He was working on a film: Cleaver. It was a horror about a man who devolves into madness and becomes a psychotic killer clown. I up-fronted some money to the project so it could get made. The film featured a great soundtrack and awesome actors, and I was so happy to be a part in it’s creation even though it had only been giving towards the project. As a composer I had offered to help with musical scores, but Mj had that mastered. Eventually, I blagged a small role in his film Mask of Thorn, which will be available to purchase on the 18th.
I arrived in Milton Keynes and I was absolutely terrified. I’m not generally good at meeting new people, but I was welcomed in by Mj and Anna, and strangely enough after about an hour of talking, it felt like I’d known them a lifetime. The struggle of independent film makers is real. We don’t exist on massive sums of money, or have the amounts needed to create a Hollywood blockbuster. I think personally that if most of us were given the amount used to make a single episode of one low budget TV program, it could pay for a lifetime’s work in the Indy film industry.
Being a part of the creation of an independent film is something else, especially at this level. Struggling with an unfathomably low budget, and so many costs and organisational necessities, I could see how Mj was leagues beyond me. (Though he’s far too humble for his own damn good sometimes and would never say that himself!) Mj is one of the most driven and dedicated people I’ve ever met with. He works incredibly hard to craft his films and bring his visions to life. Anna is an astounding support and producer, and not only that she is a wonderful support and friend.
Every person I got to work at on the film was incredible. From Will Marshall’s sly and subtle comic quips, to Eve’s unending stamina and dedication, going days without rest in order to play her role. Every single person involved in the production was incredible in their own way, and I made a fantastic friend along the way in Atticus Machiavellian, who is probably one of the most intelligent and unusual people I’ve ever met. I am exceptionally fond of all of the cast and crew. Special shout out to Chloe, thanks for putting up with me and being such a star to work with! Whilst I never met him on the scene, I also became friends with Martin W. Payne who supported me through so much of the struggle I’ve had over the past year.
I am really grateful to Bam for setting me straight on a few things, and helping me re-assess a few things in my life. Watching him work was amazing, and he taught me to be more open minded when it came to my political beliefs. Of all the people I have ever worked with, he has to be one of the most dedicated human beings when it comes to getting things right in the set up for production. Some of the feats he accomplished whilst setting up the old school to look like a hospital were incredible. Then again, I think just about everyone at Mycho is incredible.
I would not recommend a film I didn’t think was incredible. Mask of Thorn isn’t just incredible though, it’s the story of a crew that made an amazing film that for the budget should not really exist. The quality is amazing, the cast are incredible, the music is great! (One of my songs got in!) Hehe. This film is incredible, and should be watched not only by everyone who works on independent films but by everyone who appreciates the value of struggle.
We all go through struggles in life, and Mask of Thorn is the result of that. It’s a project I am so proud to have been a part of, and it changed my life. You can order it on amazon, and support an incredible company. http://bit.ly/Maskofthorn
Many years ago I started working with DT Films on a number of different projects which all touched upon very real issues. I got to score parts of their series: Too Close For Comfort, which featured Lynda Bellingham, Michael Peluso and Senel Karava. Too Close for Comfort touched upon some very dark themes, and I was always blown away on re watching by the scene you can see at 7:52. Now the whole series is fantastic but for me, Senel’s acting really shocked me. Until I wrote the score for Too Close for Comfort, I had mainly focused on horror films. For the first time I had scored a drama, and a good one. It opened new doorways to me.
Last year I became involved with DT Films again, this time in another hard hitting drama: The Edge, a film about domestic abuse. It was a hard piece to score and I worked on creating a strong sound undercurrent to make the audience feel rather uncomfortable. It was an interesting film because it showed the darkness surrounding the way some people interact in their private lives. I found the film rather horrible, and it hit me pretty deep. Having been on the receiving end of a physically abusive girlfriend who used to hit me until my arms were black with bruises, I felt rather ill as I scored this piece. There was some astounding acting from everyone involved and both Dean Kilbey and Donna Taylor got best Male and Female actor respectively! Congratulations!!! I really loved The Edge because it affected me, as most of DT Films’ work on an emotional level, which is generally quite a hard feat to accomplish!
More recently I have worked with DT Films on Stages. I got to see a wonderful and moving piece put across by a fantastic cast. It was the story of a relationship breaking down, of physical illnesses like Parkinson’s having a horrible affect on peoples lives, of the impact of abuse, suicide and so many other things all put into a small package. What I really loved about this film is that in many ways, I could understand why the protagonist’s husband had taken his own life. I understood why he might have ended up cheating, and the film didn’t just make him out to be a completely selfish villain. All of the characters were fantastic to watch and I cannot wait to show you the trailer when it’s out! I certainly hope it has some of my music in it! I highly recommend checking out DT Films and their work! You can find out more about them on their website at: http://www.dtfilms.co.uk/