Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

It’s been nearly a year since I last updated on Sonic Cinema on my musical exploits. Truth is, I’ve been pretty busy with a lot of balls juggling in the air, so I haven’t been able to update quite as regularly as I’d prefer. But here we are, almost done with the first third of 2015, and it’s definitely been a ride.

Last year, most of the year saw my creative energies being focused on academic pursuits. If you’ll recall, in April of last year I started a 3-course certificate program through the Berklee College of Music online for Music for Film & TV. The last time I updated on my “Musical Happenings,” I had just finished my first course, Film Scoring 101, which confirmed a lot of my own previous experience in the subject, but also gave me a better understanding of the spotting process and syncing to picture than I previously had. Well, in December of last year, I completed the program with two As and an A-, and received my certificate in the mail in February. Now, it’s time to put this added experience into use, and get some changes happening in terms of my career.

Creatively, the courses I took through Berklee expanded my knowledge about the field of film music, heightened my appreciation for the art form, and gave me a lot of chances to spread my wings as a composer. The third course in the program was devoted to breaking down conventions of genre writing, and scoring a scene in that genre using the techniques we learned. This was invaluable to me, not only because it allowed me more exposure in some types of writing I hadn’t done before (like comedy and romance), but because it showed me just how limited some of my thinking as a composer had been in terms of film scoring. As with classical music, there are different conventions and theoretical ideas at play when scoring different types of scenes that can only be understood when you break down examples of those pieces. It was like Music Theory for Film Music, and if I had only taken that course alone, it would have been worth it, but all three courses had invaluable information to learn. The culmination of that last course was the creation of a demo reel of some of our work, which you can hear below.

In terms of looking for opportunities to apply my craft towards film scoring, it’s been relatively slow to start out, but I’ve actually got more potential resources than I think. One of the things I’ve been doing is reaching out to some of the filmmakers I’ve come in contact with in accepting review requests for Sonic Cinema, not necessarily asking them to consider using me, but maybe putting the word out with people they may know looking for a composer. More recently, though, I joined an Atlanta filmmakers meetup group I found online, and that is already heading in the direction of making a short film after two recent meetings. (I might even be doing production sound and the overall mix, as well.) It’s a very exciting project, already, and being able to be a part of it from the start has been great knowledge.

In terms of personal musical projects, the past year has been light on it. I eschewed my usual October composing due to class and personal responsibilities, although I did record a couple of pieces I had written in 2013, one solo harpsicord piece (“Haunted By the Past”) and one flute piece (“Into the Dark Alone”). Otherwise, there were only three original works that were for something other than classes. The first was a piece for band (a configuration I’ve wanted to write for for some time) entitled “Interludes for Winds, Marimba and Timpani”, followed up by an electronic piece called “Cosmic Energy”. The last piece was more personal, and actually partially inspired by my classes. After looking at positive emotional scoring, including romantic writing, a seed of an idea took hold, and turned into a piece dedicated to my wonderful girlfriend of now 2-plus years, Meredith. It’s a piece for strings, winds and synthesizer, and it’s called “Serenity Valley: A Melody for Meredith”, and it’s one of the very best pieces I’ve ever written, in my opinion. It won’t be the only one she inspires in the years to come, that’s for sure.

That’s all I have for now in terms of my musical endeavors. It’s been quite a transitional time for me in my life, and hopefully, the work I’ve done in the past year will lead to a dramatic transition that leads to the life, and career, I’ve wanted for years. Thank you all who have been following and supporting me all this time.

Thanks for listening,

Brian Skutle
“Creative Beginnings” at CDBaby
“Dark Experiments” at CDBaby
“Sonic Visions of a New Old West” at CDBaby
“Beyond the Infinite: A Musical Odyssey” at CDBaby
“Storytelling” at CDBaby
“Arpeggiations & Atmospheres” on BandCamp

Categories: News, News - Music

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