Born and raised in Santa Barbara I have been playing the piano from the age of four and composing for almost as long. Having come from a musical family, writing has become, or has always been part of who I am and not what I do.
Thanks to the foresight and support of my family, at eight years old I started private studies with a Hungarian teacher in the “Guild Program”. After ten years of annual tests and the struggle of adolescence I put my education on hold.
For a large portion of my life I had avoided music as a profession for many of the same reasons most creative people do... fear. As an artist the fear of rejection and failure is too much to bear at times. However, after a series of life events I realized that sometimes the drive of ones passion is beyond our own control.
Knowing from the beginning that my interests and talents were driven to film, I entered the UCLA Film Score Program, one of the top two in the country. What I have learned is that there is a lot more to servicing a film than just being a great composer. The ability to capture an emotion on film without overpowering the image takes a great deal of attention and understanding. Many film makers look to composers to shape a scene and possibly an entire project. In my opinion a good film composer should be able to accomplish that, including when “less is more”. There is a fine balance between creating great music and supporting a film, my goal is to do both.
As someone who popped out of the womb playing the piano, I've always said I pretty much didn't have a choice about whether I played or not.
One of the biggest difficulties of being a self employed artist is filling in all the empty spaces. Four months after one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced things haven't been exactly wall to wall busy, but moving forward none the less. Last week for instance I had three projects at once and then the dead air started. I really shouldn't complain about it since everyone I know is looking for some "dead air", but for me I always feel like I need to do more. When things are so diversified it's really hard for me to figure out which way to turn. For weeks it was my web site, which of course still isn't exactly complete. It seems like I'm forever working on new content and adding license music to try to maximized every bit of sound I create.
I realized the other day that I'm going to have to get used to it. Unless I get the coveted weekly T.V. series... in which case this discussion will be void, I know that working in film is a constant in and out of projects. I just finished a trailer for an incredible documentary I'm set to start over the summer, so I'm sure I'll be lamenting all of this free time I had, which is now. I always remind myself of the saying that the more you work, the more you work. Usually getting the machine moving is the hard part and if everything goes as planed the downhill momentum starts to take hold.
Every job has its plus's and negatives. Managing the unknown is one of them for composers, well for this composer. When the next project comes you know you're going to be engrossed for weeks if not months. And when you come out the other side there's a realization that you just missed huge chunks of space in the outside world. The irony is that when you're present in those chunks of space sometimes it's easy to get lost in the silence. There's so much to be done that you don't know where to start and sometimes never do. When you have a deadline either for the beginning of a project or the end staring you down the face, all of a sudden things become crystal clear. Like a slow motion cue in an action film when the hero literally dodges a bullet with catlike reflex's. In the mean time, I'm a little more like a mental patient from the 60's with a lobotomy.
It sure seems like the people who have no time to get things done get the most done. So maybe that's the answer to it all. If you can find a way to keep yourself swinging from one project to the next, like Tarzan swinging through the jungle, just don't forget to grab a vine for yourself once in a while. But if you ever stop moving then you're just dangling in the air... dead in the water, and when the dust settles it's time to figure out how to get to the next vine. Fumbling like a monkey with one hand, swinging little by little, the momentum starts again and off you go with a valiant Tarzan call. How's that for an analogy? I am in the movie business after all... (please don't stop reading, I promise it won't happen again)
For those you who have a constant list of things that need to get checked off in the dead time and who execute those tasks with precision, I say kudos! For those of you like me who do half of everything motivated by feelings and moods, let's stick together and keep focus on the next check point. Because not matter what you're doing the dust always settles somewhere and you'll ask yourself where did all that time go?