Monday, 13 June 2011

Musical Musings 01

Joel and I have been messing around with some early ideas for the score. What's interesting is Joel has seen nothing of the film. He is very fluent in the story and our intentions, but has not seen any rushes or the first assembly. We thought it would be cool to start messing around with ideas with a wider vantage point, really think about what we want the music to do, as apposed to just finding what music best suits the pictures. We've been having a crack at the Lynch/Badalamenti style of Joel improvising over my wanky meandering monologues that tried to create a mood.

We have been listening to quite a bit of Badalamenti - from Twin Peaks to Lost Highway to Blue Velvet to The Secretary - along with some Clint Mansell, particularly music from Moon, The Fountain and Black Swan. We are endeavouring to find a strange and kind of uncomfortable union of Mansell's simple, effortless elegance and Badalamenti's over-stylised fusion between distorted jazz and haunting synths.

We're also constantly finding tit-bits and fragments of ideas on youtube clips. I'll try to keep putting some of the better ones up here. Here's one from Punch Drunk Love. I like this one because Joel was messing about with some drums for the living room scenes and as we worked at it, it reminded me of this scene which is in turn from a film that continues to influence my ideas. Skip in about 1:50 and enjoy how the chaos of the score alone is a perfect reflection of the mental chaos with which Barry is in constant combat.


First Assembly + Some Pretentious Crap

We have big plans for the cut of Hangin’. It has been my intention from early on to take our mountain of footage and to slice it finely, pull it apart, stretch it, twist it, mangle it and ring it out until we have carved our morbid little story out of it.

Chris an I have long been discussing experimenting with, among other things, flash-frames layered on top of images, jarring close-ups interrupting otherwise conventional sequences, jumbling the sex scenes to the point that we don’t know who is who or when is now. We have had a plethora of ideas for how we can distort the way this fairly simple narrative unfolds so that the focus becomes Stan’s succumbing to the transformation he is undergoing.

N.B: Pretentious Segway -
I am wary of the word ‘transformation’. Because our story involves vampirism, the word “transformation’ instantly becomes synonymous with the more traditional mythology of vampirism - being buried and rising again with pale skin, newfangled youth and strength. They essentially transform into an immortal super-being, albeit an evil one.

However, when reading Dracula, I noticed that Lucy’s becoming a vampire was in fact a very drawn-out and painful process. Lucy’s human body withers away slowly as the Count saps her life-blood away relentlessly. I really like how Stoker takes time to show that the human body must decay before the vampiric force can infest it. Similarly in Cronos, Guillermo Del Toro focuses his story not on the romanticism of vampire mythology, but on how Jesus Gris’ humanity dies but his body does not, becoming fueled only by the need for blood.

I wanted to look at vampirism as a disease, as a virus that genuinely attacks our body and accelerates decay. Not so much a transformation in the sense that he is becoming more powerful as is the case with most vampiric transformations, but more of a descent into ravenous, bestial urges beyond his control. This is what is happening to Stan. This is the idea the editing had to convey.

So these are the overall plans for the edit that we are working towards. The same can be said for the music and sound design. They are the final destination of what will no doubt be a challenging route through the post-production stage of Hangin’. But every journey has to start somewhere and Chris has turned in a very solid first assembly. Though it is a fair distance away from what our final intentions are, it is a strong foundation to build on. Chris has kept it very simple - all the shots pretty in the order they appear in the shot list - with a steady but constant pace. It has been very useful to look at it this way first because it has given me a strong sense of the rushes and opportunities we have without clouding our judgement by throwing in too many ideas too early. It has also really handy to see that the story works and makes sense, sure it doesn’t have much impact as it stands, but its good to know that the script we shot and how we shot it is narratively coherent!

So now I have asked Chris to do the complete opposite. I’ve said to go as nuts as he likes with the next draft. No barriers, it can be as F.U.B.A.R as he likes. The reason for this is that once this is done, it will present the opposing extreme to what we already have in the nuts-and-bolts first assembly. From there, we can start to see what works and what doesn’t in both and will have a much larger palette of ideas to work from.

So that’s pretty much where we stand on the edit at the moment. Its taken a little longer to get up and running, but now its got momentum and Chris is working tirelessly on it as you read this (well, he better be) and I’ve been bouncing ideas with Jack (Sound Design) and Joel (Composer) so things are good in the Hangin’ camp.

Updates on Chris’ F.U.B.A.R cut coming soon


Saturday, 11 June 2011

Music inspiration

Here's one of the key inspirations for the score, and how we're gonna go about it (click on 720p HD option for a better experience)