Director’s Journal: Scoring Triumph67

It is the last week of July, 2010.  One year ago we shot Triumph67, and now, I’m staring at the footage that has been seared into my brain and scrambling to finish the film in time for application deadlines for Sundance and Dubai.  I have been meeting with the talented and personable guy who is scoring the film, Reid Kruger, who operates out of his home studio, Waterbury Music.  Reid agreed to take on the job, and we have been watching each scene, marking the places where music should and shouldn’t appear.  Given the time crunch, I am apprehensive about whether the score can be finished with the level of quality that the film deserves within the deadlines that we have set for ourselves.  That being said, the alternative is to miss the regular deadline cycle for Sundance.  Between producers we have been debating on the role that music should play within the film.  Though we love the idea of a sparse, understated score, the question becomes how sparse can we get away with, given the deliberate pacing and several dialogue-free scenes.

Though I think Reid initially anticipated drawing from previously recorded material from his extensive collection of recorded work, we end up playing live along with the film after initial attempts to drop in canned music leave me wanting.  I am much happier with the live music, and much of it is piano based.  After the third day of meeting, we find a sonic mood that suits the film.  The music varies from apprehensive, slow tempo R&B progressions to minor key classical harmonies that evoke a moody, baroque vibe.  At the right moments, reflective, almost childlike melodies are sprinkle throughout.

This morning we work on the opening sequence and Reid tries three or four different themes that have already appeared in the film.  We lean toward one that seems to be emerging as the film’s main theme (a melody taken from one of Reid’s older songs that I felt worked with the Sami character), but discover that the rising piano run of the last idea that we try is perfect for the transition between the title sequence and the memory sequence that introduces us to our narrator, Mohannad.  After this development, we move quickly through the first several scenes with relative ease, laying down the appropriate music where necessary.

We break at lunch for giant Chipotle burritos which we breathe down in about five minutes.  No time to dilly-dally, and we jump back in the car for the second half of the day.  My stomach is killing me as we drive back.  Reid doesn’t seem to be phased by the brick that is sitting in his stomach.  We resume work, and make as much progress as possible before I have to leave at 7:15pm to make it home for a meeting with my parents and Lisa’s parents about our upcoming wedding in exactly one week.  After scrambling all day to try to at least get something down for the whole film, I am tense and jittery.  The burrito has worn off hours ago, and is replaced by the jitters from the cold press I had at around 3pm to stay conscious.  My mom takes pitty on me and brings out a plate of food.  Tamales.

As my brain transitions from score mode to wedding mode, I accidentally eat all of the tamales.  My mom asks: are you okay?

avatarBy Dan on
Posted in Journal, Postproduction
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