Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Having a ball

I don't know that you'll remember, or want to remember, but I'm writing a new soundtrack to our movie[^]. As much as I'd love to write something as pretentiously over the top as a 'Lord of the Rings' style soundtrack I very much doubt I have the talent or the time, and certainly not the experience.

I've opted for something mainly electronic - lots of wierd synthy sounds, but with plans to use an orchestra where I think it'll be appropriate. There's an amazing amount of good free stuff out there if you know the terms to use and how to make Google sit up and sing.

When we did the first version of the movie soundtrack, 19 years ago, it was all quite different. There probably were computers out there capable of rendering a soundtrack but methinks they were way out of our price range. We did it the hard way, sifting through hundreds of commercial movie soundtrack libraries (there is, or at least was, an entire industry in writing 30 second and shorter tunes in particular styles), listening to each piece and deciding if it might fit whatever part of the movie we were editing on the day. We'd argue, the three of us, over this piece versus that, and we'd speed it up or slow it down a little to try and make the music fit the cues.

I think we did a pretty good job. Heino thinks we edited the video to fit the sound but that doesn't agree with my memory of the process. As I recall it, we did video first and then found music to fit. On the other hand, we *did* edit video to a rhythm to help it fit with the music we hadn't yet found.

Nearly twenty years later I'm glad it was cut that way; it makes it somewhat easier to fit a completely new soundtrack to the old video. The bank robbery at the opening is still giving me hell; I wrote the first half minute or so (for a 2 and a half minute scene without dialogue) using an insistent beat and heavily overdriven bass guitars and sent it off to Heino and Gary to have a listen. They liked what they heard. My problem is that one can only do 'duh duh duh duh duh duh' accompanied by 'whaaaaaaaaangggg' for so long - two and a half minutes is about twice too long! How to maintain both the tension and the listeners interest?

But we'll get there. I'm having a ball. This is almost completely new to me - apart from Mike Oldfield and Pet Shop Boys I haven't listened to electronic music in over thirty years.

I understand that Heino was somewhat nervous when he sat down to listen to that first thirty seconds of music; was it going to be Bruckner? I suspect he was surprised!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Seniors Menu

Uh huh - I'm now old enough to order from the cheap section at the back of the menu in the cheaper eateries around here.

I honestly don't remember Australian restaurants offering a lower priced seniors section on their menus but then again, I wasn't, in those days, eating at the kind of place that *would* offer it. Even here I go to such places under protest or when Andrew and his girlfriend are expecting us to pick up the tab; call me a mean bastard but I ain't shelling out 30 bucks a head for those two.

A few weeks ago we were in just such an eatery and I, still blissfully under the age of 55 (but only just) pointed out to my wife that I'd soon be able to order from the same section of the menu she's been able to order from for years. The waiter, cheeky young bastard, piped up and told me he'd turn a blind eye if I wanted to order from there.

I fear my wife took a great deal of pleasure laughing at me on that occasion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Whatcha doing, Andrew?

I'm telling you, this being in loco parentis stuff ain't easy.

You'll recall that a few months ago Andrew started showing off a girlfriend. A big moment in any lads life methinks, the first girlfriend. I still remember, vividly, that time of overcharged hormones and proprietary pride. Not PC these days? Nope. But a real feeling at the time nonetheless.

And you'll also recall that I, remembering that time of overcharged hormones, vividly as aforesaid, took certain steps[^] with a view to averting an unexpected step-grandchild from that particular quarter.

So fast forward to June and the long long (incredibly long to my way of thinking) summer holidays. It might have made sense, in the frontier days, to release kids from school for 3 months so they could work on the farm but I doubt video games and TV are half as productive.

Andrew and his girlfriend use the time, so they say, to watch movies up in his room. I confess to having trepidations about this, especially when the lights go out up there. You might be wondering, how do I know the lights go out if the door is closed? And there we have the second source of concern.

Thus to my wife and I, at random times throughout the evening, yelling up the stairs 'Andrew, what are you doing?'. I vary the formula sometimes by yelling 'Andrew, front and centre NOW!' followed by an ominous sounding 'tick, tick, tick'.

He emerges, sheepishly, and we dismiss him.

A few weeks ago he expressed annoyance at this rigamarole. I gave him various choices.

No girlfriend.
Don't bring her here.
Don't take her upstairs.
Don't close the door.
Put up with random inspection.

He puts up with random inspections.

No surprise there, eh?