Scoring for film/TV

by Cesco Emmanuel

I always found that the movies I really loved were the ones where the soundtracks stood out profoundly in my mind. I don’t consider myself a ‘Movie Buff’ but from ever since I know myself, I always watched a movie with the soundtrack spinning around in my head. I’m not about to list my favourite movie soundtracks here. The list will be a bit strange and sentimental.

I remember thinking that ‘scoring’ a film would be such a cool thing to do. I remember telling Drew (Kobo Town) that I’d like to be scoring a major motion picture by my late 40’s, have my own home studio and compose in my pyjamas.

End of 2008, I bought some recording software/hardware and started recording any ideas that came in my head. Not all were good, some were more than bizarre, but in doing so, I learnt the recording process trial and error.

I got my first ‘scoring’ job in 2010 for my sister’s company (SOLfilms) and her short documentary – Pan! Next came Savant Ltd’s three-part documentary series ‘Inward Hunger’ on the life of Dr. Eric Williams in 2011.

In 2012 I did music for two NGO campaigns – Habitat for Humanity and KIND as well as the theme score for Trinidad’s ’50 Legends of Sport’ Gala event (August 31, 2012, held at the Trinidad Hilton, commissioned by 20/20 Productions and the Ministry of Sport).

My latest project was the score for Quirky Film’s ‘A story about Wendy’. Feel free to have a listen here.

Every scoring job so far has been very different from each other, but one thing definitely remains constant for me so far – the order of things. Brainstorming ideas, harnessing ideas into themes, movements and pieces and then recording mock-ups for each part that requires music.

After that is edit, edit, edit till a final product is derived.

It has been challenging and it is a hands-on job. Books can prepare you for the theory aspect of music and knowing what are the rules in creating music. But creating music is a process that starts in the head first. First I hear the idea in my head, then I translate it to paper and the instrument.

At least, that’s how I score for a project.