Monthly Archives: November 2008

I’m in opera training. Not to sing it, just to enjoy listening to it.I’ve been researching traditional Japanese music, and of course you end up coming across the use of folk melodies in Puccini Madama Butterfly. And then you come across “Un bel di vedremo”.

This I believe is from this

1995 French film production, which is on DVD.

Watch the whole thing form the start, and the big payoff comes at 3:37:

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello
When you get a dedication like this:
Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

Like “Batman Begins” and “There Will Be Blood“, the score for “The Dark Knight” has been disqualified for having too many collaborators. From Variety:

Sources inside the committee said that the big issue was the fact that five names were listed as composers on the music cue sheet, the official studio document that specifies every piece of music (along with its duration and copyright owner) in the film.

The unanswered question is why does it matter if the Best Original Music Score has 1 composer or 10? The best score is the best score, leave it to the members to decide.
This does matter. Students of film composing look to the past, and a nominee from 30 or 40 years past is far more likely to be studied than an unnominated modest box-office success like There Will Be Blood. We lose something from future composers if we exclude successful scores from the competition.

The “The Dark Knight” most memorable music may be what plays behind Heath Ledger’s monologues. Strings gather into a cluster that then slowly glissandos upward, sort of a super-slo-mo version of those famous strings screeching in the “Psycho” shower scene. Just drawn out much longer, so it’s way scarier.

So delicious…why disqualify it over a couple of names on a cue sheet?

“Academy members, change thy rules!” sayeth the fan!
The music cue starts about 2:30 into this clip:

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

I’ve been a fan of Michael Crichton for a unique reason – I was one of about 10 students who took a writing seminar he taught at MIT in Spring, 1988. I think the class was named “The Art of Revision”.
His assignments were brief – write directions, describe your bedroom. He graded by recording himself reading your assignment aloud with real-time commentary, which he handed back on cassette (this was the pre-iPod era).

What I learned can be summed up as:

Don’t repeat yourself. Say things once. Don’t repeat yourself.

He taught to use only one adjective at a time (write “an inspiring film” not “a

touching and inspiring film”). Also, adverbs tend to be really worthless.


I asked him what he was writing at the time (this was before Jurassic Park was published). He said a book on his travel experiences. I nodded and said “how interesting”, and in my mind thought “how uninteresting”.

Years later I spotted the book “Travels” in an airport. It’s more of an autobiography composed of episodic essays. He had incredible experiences.

Reading it changed my life. It’s the book I cite when people ask me what book had the biggest impact on me.

Awesome guy.

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello