Yearly Archives: 2013

I’ll be updating this post with coverage and reviews of No Place On Earth opening in theaters.BBC segment about the film, with footage and interview with director Janet Tobias.

No Place On Earth New York ShowtimesFull list of showtimes and upcoming cities, including greater NYC, LA, San Francisco and San Jose on April 12th.

LA Times and OC Register reviews, plus an LA Times feature on cave explorer Chris Nicola.

Print interview with director Janet Tobias.

Battleship Pretension blog’s review: “indescribably touching”.

Rotten Tomatoes review roundup.

ABC News segment on the film with survivor interviews and many glimpses of the film:

The official trailer:

Posted 4 years ago by John Piscitello

Finding the most entertaining angle on one of the world’s dullest sports, “The Short Game” has built-in word-of-mouth that should help it break out of the docu sandtrap and roll down the fairway. The eight golf champs featured in this “Spellbound”-style saga are among the most competitive on the planet. They practice constantly, run circles around Tiger Woods’ records, have won hundreds of trophies — and on the rare occasion when they miss a shot, you just want to pinch their cheeks. 

I’ve noticed that describing the film as a “golf documentary” isn’t the most exciting way to put it. But after watching the kids in the film one really does want to take up the game.

Austin Chronicle:

The mantra of multiple sports documentaries featured during the South by Southwest Film Festival that all follow a form of American mythologist Joseph Campbell’s so-called “hero’s journey”: They are called to adventure; cross the threshold into a new world; face tests, allies, and enemies; and return home changed. 

That’s a keen observation that sort of goes along with the idea that there are only seven basic plots in all of literature and storytelling. (I have the Joseph Campbell book by the way, it’s a scholarly and challenging read.)

Finally, Twitch Film:

Packed with some of the most charming seven and eight year-olds ever captured, Greenbaum takes us into their lives and dares us not to fall in love. Of course it isn’t enough to just setup a camera and hit record and both Greenbaum and editor Billy McMillin do a remarkable job of crafting a concise narrative, no easy feat with eight different kids to follow.

Documentaries can be just as entertaining as any narrative film if you have the right subjects. I haven’t seen any of them, but I suspect that is the secret to recent films like Searching for Sugar Man, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and The Queen of Versailles.

UPDATE 3/15 – Austin Chronicle:

The film is full of kids who still play like kids off the course and demonstrate a calm beyond their years when the round begins. While a cast of characters this large could easily hinder a doc’s focus, it works perfectly in The Short Game to give both a global view and to show how sports can be a Zen-like calling at any age.

UPDATE 3/15Playmaker Online:

Greenbaum not only picked great kids to feature, but the documentary is paced and shot incredibly well. There’s no fat to trim. And the game is treated on such a grandiose schedule that you’d think that this documentary was about pros playing in The Masters. There are sweeping helicopter shots when the kids practice, high frame shots when the kids are hitting out of the bunker, and the action of the tournament is narrated by a guy who sounds just like Dick Enberg.

(Here are some highlights from my additional music in the score):

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello
From The Hollywood Reporter:

What does training involve, you may wonder?

The Hollywood Reporter here exclusively hosts a clip from the film, which shows the many activities taken on by the young golfers to train for their big competition.

Click on over to those guys to see it.

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello
Deadline Hollywood is the first out with the trailer for The Short Game.It’s scored with music from the picture – the second cue you hear in the trailer is one of mine (ironically the name

of the cue on our cue sheet is “Google Me”, given that I used to work there):

Update: And here is the one sheet…

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello

I composed additional music for The Short Game, which is premiering at South By Southwest Film Festival Sunday, March 15th at 6:30pm. I will be at the screening, so if you’re in Austin this weekend, give me a shout.

The Short Game is in the Documentary Feature Competition this year. 8 films were selected from 905 submissions. From the film’s description:

“The Short Game” follows the lives of eight of the best 7-year old golfers in the world as they train for and compete in the World Championships of Junior Golf. The annual tournament held at golfing mecca Pinehurst, North Carolina, brings in 1500 young golfers from 54 different countries and determines who will be crowned golf’s next phenom.

Updated 3/6/12:

SXSW trailer posted on
Coverage and Sneak Peek video at Hollywood

The majority of the score is by Mark Mothersbaugh. My contribution is 8 cues, about 13 minutes of music. Here are a few of my contributions:

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello

The film uses both first-hand account and re-enactments to relay the story of the families’ marathon stay underground, scrambling for supplies and evading German authorities constantly looking for them. The direction here is solid; the live action and re-enactment segments blend very well as they are able to replicate the cave activities due to the grandmother’s extremely detailed memoirs and the survivor’s vivid recollections. The re-enactments are in here to take the film away from a mere ‘talking heads’ style documentary and to bring the interviews and stories to life. These segments are shot with a cinematic quality that enhances the film as a whole.

Here’s the trailer:

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello
Spellbinding. Music would’ve ruined it, wouldn’t it?

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello
I came across this Playlist article on DP Roger Deakins and 10 of his most challenging shots. One is opening shot of Fargo, shot in a snowstorm.Carter Burwell’s score starts out with a theme played quietly on harp, then switches to fiddle with some folkish inflections, and then, shall we say, it grows from there.

It’s of course completely Morricone-inspired.

Note the sleigh bells – not only do they suggest winter, but they’re an off choice of instrument – and that is one of the trademarks of those famous Morricone-Sergio Leone scores.

The image that emerges – one bloated vehicle towing another of the exact same model – is haunting. Let’s just say, if you want to know how to hook people at the start your film, this is a good example. 😉

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello

Magnolia has released the trailer for No Place On Earth. Billy Donnelly at Ain’t It Cool News has a little bit of commentary on it.

Many trailers are scored with specialized library music, I love the piece they chose for the ending section. Take a look:

Update: Here’s the No Place On Earth poster.


NPE Onesheet

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello

I suppose it’s positive reinforcement when other composers start asking what sample libraries you’re using in mockups. So, if you are a composer and you happen to like the orchestral sounds of tracks like Enter the Arena or The Journey, here is a list of the sample libraries that are getting used there.


    • Strings: Cinematic Strings, LA Scoring Strings. LASS is my favorite for short strings, and Cinematic Strings I prefer for legatos and sustains. I tend to layer them together – which one is most prominent depends on the articulation and the goals of the cue.
    • Brass: CineBrass Pro – my favorite right now is the 12-french horn patch, which is just monstrously good. I also like Dimension Brass by Vienna for more intimate arrangements.
    • Percussion: Spitfire and Heaviocity’s Damage. I also use big hits from Omnisphere from time to time.
    • Piano: I’m a big fan of Piano in Blue. Most piano libraries I find are a bit heavy to mix with orchestras. Piano in Blue has a very nice delicate sound and I find it drops in nicely with little to no EQ and very light compression.
  • Synths: The main workhorse is Omnisphere.  Synth doublings of the orchestral parts are very, very useful in many a mockup.

Layering can give you an opportunity to sound a little more original, by modifying sounds which would be otherwise recognizable to savvy music supervisors. Some ideas are doubling snare drums with acoustic guitar pick swipes, adding synth bass to cello parts, or sneaking in a pad under a violin melody. The idea is to add muscle, or sparkle, or space, or depth whenever it’s needed.

Posted 5 years ago by John Piscitello