I've been working with Cinemagic since 2001 and this year I took a more active role in coordinating and hosting their film music workshop for GCSE and A-Level music students aged between 15 - 19, to increase their awareness of music in film and explain the hard work, care and precision that the music departments pour into each project
I immediately thought Maggie Rodford would be the best person to work with and she embraced the project with open arms, alongside David Julyan who has done a couple of similar workshops in the US and Europe over the years.
What follows is the original press release I wrote and then below is the actual running-order devised for the 2 days:
Cinemagic's Film Music Masterclass
With Maggie Rodford and David Julyan, hosted by Tim Burden (2 day workshop)
Tuesday 23rd & Wednesday 24th November
10.00am – 3.00pm
Belfast Metropolitan College,
Millfield, Gerald Moag Campus
15 – 18 year olds
£5.00 per student
A moment of excitement, a rush of fear or unashamed sentiment! These human emotions are enhanced by the power of music in film. Join two of the film industry’s most successful and respected professionals, Maggie Rodford and David Julyan for a very special 2-day film music workshop. Learn the care, precision and unique talent of how to compose, produce and correctly place music for the movies. Experience the process from the early development stage, through to the final edit.
Students will be able to put their own choice of music to film in one of the exercises and will also have the unique opportunity to view rough cuts of movies that only the music dept. would see. Combined, Maggie and David have worked on some of the most successful movies - The Lion King, Atonement (both Oscar winners for music), Gladiator, Hamlet, The Descent 1 & 2, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Christopher Nolan’s Memento and Insomnia. Students will also be provided with free DVD’s of Insomnia and Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire to watch, examine and then discuss during the 2-day workshop.
Cinemagic, Belfast 2010 - Film Music - Tues 23rd & Wed 24th November
Introduction and welcome with DVD presentation.
Discussion with Maggie & David on the importance of music and sound design and its usage (with examples screened).
11:30 – 11:45 coffee break
Discuss thoughts on the use and placement of music and songs in Insomnia & Harry Potter 4.
1.00 – 1.30 lunch
David to showcase examples of temp scores and his working process, leading to discussions and practical demonstrations.
Split students into 9 groups (3 groups per school) and issue with USB pen drives of Descent 2 work print, so that they place music as they see fit, in groups at home. An exercise by using music supplied from their personal catalogue as an experiment.
View and discuss each student’s home exercise as noted above.
11.30 – 11.45 coffee break
David & Maggie to talk more on exercise results and show actual final scored edit of scenes.
1.00 – 1.30 lunch
Discuss the business side of the film music industry, scoring assignment, supervision, booking and overall coordination aspects.
Scoring high! Chat about the transition of film music to the concert hall and issue tickets for the Feb 2011 Ulster Orchestra John Williams concert rehearsal.
There was much more to the above of course, we had lengthy chats with the students about the monthly or in some cases weekly film music schedule, from the initial hiring to the scoring stage.
Original sheet music for Patrick Doyle's Much Ado About Nothing was issued to the students, so they could see the parts for each section of the orchestra and David explained with Maggie the role of the orchestrator and music copyists.
I ensured that a 5.1 sound set up with HD TV was set up, so we could really showcase scenes from Maggie's highly impressive catalogue of work, Prince of Egypt (the Red Sea and Finale were great scenes to highlight the clever positioning of the horn section to create the true surround audio) and Gladiator's Battle and Might of Rome scenes were also appreciated by the students as perfect examples of music's effectiveness. Other scenes, including Muppet's Treasure Island (!) The Creation from Frankenstein and the touching finale from The Last Station were also screened
David's The Prestige, Insomnia & Memento were also great titles to screen scenes from. In the case of The Prestige David showed the students his work print, complete with time-codes and temp score so that he could clearly describe his working process. The Opening and Light-bulb scenes were great and also helped explain the key role sound design has to play alongside the actual music score.
David had to leave on the Wednesday night as he had a meeting at Pinewood about the new Hammer Horror production of The Woman in Black (from Susan Hill's book) which he's been signed to for release next Autumn.
On the Thursday I introduced Maggie to other young film enthusiasts and she made a key-note speech at the festival's talent lab launch, alongside the Avatar effects supervisor Greg Maguire and CEO of Sesame Street Gary Knell.
It was tremendous to work so closely with Maggie & David over these few days and whilst many conversations were 'off the record' there was still plenty to learn. Poor David's Cabin in the Woods is still waiting for a release due to the MGM financial limbo, so that's frustrating for him and Maggie's First Grader and The King Speech are two projects that she's is very proud of. Paramount and Marvel are being very tight-lipped about Thor, but she assures us (unbiased) that we can expect great things! Patrick Doyle has been working on the music since September.
Hopefully next year will be just as successful!
- Tim Burden (FSM Online & Northern Media Group)