Monthly Archives: December 2008

TV Guide’s show-listing cable channels
sold for $300 million today. The news reminds me of my youth, those old 1970s TV Guide TV commercials, back when your TV had 3 channels and your commercials had cold, sterile, outer-spacey synths in them….The commercial music (is it really music? maybe it’s better described as a “soundmark”) is frightening today, but as a kid I liked it OK. It was definitive, if nothing else. And urgent, like it really made me want to go to the store and buy it.

Not all the YouTube commenters agree:

“Love it??? It used to scare the hell out of me when I was little! So did all those supposedly ‘hip’ sounding synth soundtracks in commercials back then. They all sound really sinister, for some reason, not at all like the friendly sounding synth songs you’d find on records!”

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

There’s a Tron remake in the works. I didn’t understand the original’s plot one bit, but I remember loving the lightbikes.

The scene is remarkable. Despite having primitive CGI, it’s perfectly exciting. I suppose directors could tell you why the scene is such good movie making. As far as I can tell there’s plenty of speed and tension, the rules of the scene are internally consistent, and the action is clear.

Against visual mayhem of the latest blockbusters, the scene is an unblinking stare. It pierces, something like how punk broke through after too many years of classic rock and disco.

The scene’s sound editing really makes it work. Notice the low-frequency wind-against-the-microphone sound when there is a closeup of a bike wheel. Or the whooshing heard during the hairpin turns in the maze. And each bike has its own engine sound.

It seems the original Tron writer/director is a producer on the reboot. That bodes well for fans of the classic…I hope they keep those evil arch-gate thingys and the killer frisbees!

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

Wouldn’t it be cool if Clint Eastwood won? (I’ve heard composers say he must have had help, it’s just plain too good for an actor / director to have done!)

And isn’t it interesting that Danny Elfman scored a film like Milk?
Best Composer
Alexandre Desplat, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Clint Eastwood, “Changeling”
Danny Elfman, “Milk”
James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, “The Dark Knight”
A.R. Rahman, “Slumdog Millionaire””

More awards

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

Good for everyone: the academy, the composers, and the audiences.

Sounds like Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard had to do some real work to change some minds. Key quote:

“My basic argument was–composers are honest human beings,” (Zimmer) told me. “If we’re telling you that we, and we alone, wrote the score, why don’t you believe us? We were very candid. We said, ‘Why would we lie? And if you don’t believe us, go ask Chris Nolan, the film’s director. He saw who did the work.’ “

Even at the top level, composers can’t get by only on their music. You can’t escape needing good people skills and the ability to deal with conflict.

Now…who will get nominated?

Here’s the end credits music. Even without the context of the film, I think the music is very much in touch with the times.

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello
Film composers are often asked to write music that sounds similar to temp tracks teh director has chosen. It’s a big issue – how close is too close?
This IMHO would be an example of too close. I would place a bet on Joe Satriani picking up a big ol’ settlement check in his future:

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello