Why write a film score?

Let’s start with stating that I love to write and make music. I have a passion for it. I will not go as far to say that I would die if I were unable make music. Not only do I find this a bit dramatic, but it is also untrue since everybody will die, and so will I whether I would make music or not. But not making music would definitely take some colour out of my life.

But then, why compose music for film? The interesting dilemma with making music is that you always have to explain to which category your music belongs. You know the question: what type of music do you make? Is it classical, trance, punk rock, down-tempo? Or something you are having trouble categorizing yourself? And what if I want to create a jazz song or play some blues next week?

My problem is that I cannot stick to just one category, and in that I am not alone. To quote Go Hiyama: “There’s no way I can focus on the same kind of music for too long, I always think about moving”, from his interview with Freunde von Freunde. I love making music, and just like listening to music, the style of music I like to make varies. To give you an idea, listen to “On the house”, “Rock garden”, “In the clouds”, “Traveling west”, “Between the pines”, and “Intercontinental flight”. On top of that, isn’t sticking to one style boring? Ask a chef whether he only makes soups or grills chicken. He doesn’t. He wants to experiment, try out new things, and every so often he will change the menu completely with the new things he has tried out.

Scoring or composing music for film will give me a fantastic creative way out of the box that we all sometimes try to fit ourselves in. Unnecessarily.

When writing a movie score you are working on a bigger picture — no pun intended. A bigger project, not your personal one, but a creative endeavour with many creative people from different disciplines. This to me is very exciting. What’s more, I find it fascinating how in film music a single theme can be reused many times with many little variations, which allows you to explore all possible options of the piece you have written, without the heartache of having to only select one and wondering what to do with the rest.

These for me are reasons why I want to compose music for film.

(And even then: will composing film music be the only thing?)

On perfection

If you think you are a perfectionist, have a quick listen to this (about 16 seconds will do).

Just think about that for a while: “Perfection is the disguise”, whether or not of insecurity, but it’s a good candidate. When done thinking, have a look at the one below. Again, about 10 seconds will do, but do watch the entire monologue if you can spare the 2 and a half minutes:

It is all subjective, indeed.

Now if you agree that being a — possible — perfectionist is holding you back, ask yourself whether what you have right now is at 80%. If so, you probably do not need to go the last 20%, but if you do, this may delay you, and possibly forever. If you are at 80%, get it out there. Whether that is a product, a song, or your ability to run your local 5K run.

Just get it done.

Truth be told, if you are below 80%, it may be worth spending a bit more time improving (improving, not perfecting) it. But if you are at 80%, go for it. See what the reaction is, and figure out whether the final 20% are needed, and if so what the final 20% should look like. You can figure it out later.

Keep in mind:

  • Your perfectionism may stop you from putting anything out there at all.
  • Your 80% may be somebody else’s 120%.
  • Dare to show it.