I decided to take part for the first time in this international film scoring competition that is well-known. This competition consists in scoring a short film chosen for the edition. The entries are judging by some international award-winning composers (with Emmy-winning names).
In this year, a documentary short film called The Time Machine was chosen. In this documentary a watchmaker that has a small workshop within Grand Central Station (New York) tells his story, his way of life and his philosophy. Firstly, you can watch the short film with the soundtrack that I composed and produced and in the next paragrahps I will describe some details of the music and show the comments of the judges with the puntuation gotten.
In this project I tried to make music that works well under dialogue with some climax to provide movement to the story. I aimed to a modern sound, in the style of actual documentaries and TV series. The instrumentation is mainly string section, piano (including extended techniques), synth, the sound of clock engines, 2 flutes and piccolo. And, during the climax I added brass section, timpani and cymbals. The harmony is sometimes tonal and sometimes modal depending of the piece. I was looking to make it attractive to the general public keeping the leading role of the narrative. All the project (composition and production) took me 25-30 hours during 9 days.
At the end I was very happy because the judges gave me a calification of 79.5 over 100 so I entered to the Top 40 (over hundreds of participants). The commentaries of the judges were:
1º Judge: Pros: Excellent production, the music flows in a coherent way with the image and catch the viewer in the story. The dramatic connection is excellent. Great work!
Cons: Your high musical skills could benefit with a more unique point of view
2º Judge: Pros: Great mix work, this is a work above average. Great taste the use of watch tick. I love the ‘beautiful tone’ around the minute 4.
Cons: While the most sync points that you choose fit perfectly (for example, I really like 1:04 and 8:45 with the constellation mural), I dare you to consider the film narrative in your proposal. For example, when Wil says ‘people still look up to the sky to tell time’ it should increase the intensity with the movement of the camera to the ceiling to prepare the change of the camera angle. In a similar way, it happens in 9:20 when he says ‘sometimes I try to forget about it’ because Wil continues with the same concept. He forget the time and does not use a watch like the people that look to the sky to know the time. With the pause here, you contradict in someway the narrative and the idea that the director is trying to tell. In these moments, don’t take literally the dialogue or follow the image, try to understand the underlaid story and emphasize it.
I’m glad to have participated. The experience has been very educative and the commentaries of the judges a great lesson. I think that after all of this I am a better composer. If I won’t have time constraints I would like to participate the next year.
This is the soundtrack music:
I hope you like it!