In a Galaxy Far Far Away
In 1977 I went on my first date. My mother dropped me and some friends off at the theater to see a highly anticipated sci-fi film called Star Wars. On the way to the theater all I could think about was the possibility of holding hands and sneaking a kiss or two during the film. Just as the theater lights went down I remember nervously reaching over to hold my date’s hand and then the opening title crawl started. Let’s just say I can’t remember the name of the girl that I went on the date with, but I remember every note from the main melody of the overture from the opening of the film and its heroic association with Luke Skywalker and the Force. I remember how I loved the variations of the opening theme and how it was used throughout the film to underscore both the protagonist and the antagonist. This film score had such an impact on me that I went out and purchased it as soon as it became available.
How 'bout a Fandango?
In 1986 I watched a film on “ON TV” (the equivalent of a premium cable channel) called “Fandango” which tells the story of five college buddies who embark on a final road trip across the Mexican border before facing up to uncertain futures. In the film there’s a scene of a small plane landing on an empty road during a sunset. The music that accompanied this scene was comprised of sustained synth pads, piano and acoustic guitar. Probably one of the most peaceful pieces of music I had witnessed in a film up to that point. After that there are a series of scenes that increase in pace and energy leading to the ending title sequence which slows to a crawl and the music follows the contour of each scene perfectly. The songs were “September Fifteenth” and "It’s for you” by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays and “Can’t Find My Way Home” by Blind Faith).
Sal's Famous Pizzeria
Another movie that had a great influence on my life was Spike Lee's "Do The Right Thing." Watching this film during the summer of 1989 literally changed my life. After that summer I saw cinema as a tool that could be used to express my gifts and passion for music, photography and writing so I set a goal to enroll in film school.
After Do The Right Thing was released on VHS in 2001, I obtained a copy and during that summer I watched the film well over 30 times. I set an intention to try and match the lighting and time of day from each scene in the movie with the time of day in real life. Watching the film in this manner affected my senses of smell, taste, and touch, but it affected my sense of sight and hearing in a major way. The diversity of music used in this film was in tune with the diversity, varying emotions and points of views of the characters in this film. At times a Public Enemy song underscored scenes of conflict. Other times a jazz piece underscored a purposeful conversation between characters and at other times a lively melodic string arrangement was used to underscore a playful exchange between characters. Each day after watching the film, I'd sit on my porch looking out onto my own neighborhood while listening to different genres of music. I became interested in composing a soundtrack that reflected the lives, feelings and emotions of the people in my community.