Strange Requests from a Movie Director
Updated: Oct 16, 2018
In April 2018, I got a call from Addy, a fellow composer who was working on a Vietnamese movie called "100 Ngay Ben Em (100 Days of Sunshine)" and she she was in quite a bind. The post-production on this movie was put on hold and when it was on again, she was only told only a couple of weeks before they had to finish the audio post on the movie. This meant that she was up to her neck in music cues to do at the eleventh hour. She knew that in order to meet the deadline, she would have to get some help, so along with a couple other composers, I was asked to write music for some scenes in the movie. I had just finished scoring the Burmese horror movie a couple of months before that, so I was still horror movie mode, but I thought it would be nice to do some music for a romance movie, and also to help my friend Addy.
It was a lot of fun to be part of this project, but one thing that stood out in the whole experience had something to do with an emotional scene in the movie that I did. While the director was quite happy with the emotional music I wrote for that scene, he specifically wanted some of the notes of my melody to fall exactly on specific parts of the scene. He wanted the notes to follow exactly when the actress' teardrop falls to the tip of her nose....and then pause....while waiting for that same teardrop to fall off the nose, when another note from my melody would accompany that fall.
At first it was impossible for me to even see the teardrop because the clip they gave me was in a lower resolution, so I kind of had to guess where the teardrop was. It was only after I got a clearer version of the scene could I place the notes at the points where the teardrop travelled. Just getting this part right took the better part of a whole day of going back and forth, sending revised music, just based on the teardrop's journey.
Although this seemed rather odd at the time, I do realise that movie directors treat their movies as their babies and I guess it makes sense that they would want everything to be perfect, at least in their mind's creative eye. When you are a media composer, you can expect some rather strange requests, and the important thing is not to treat these requests with disdain, but just take it as part of the job with a little pinch of chagrin.
The movie came finally came out and I finally got to see the movie in its entirety, and not just the scenes I was given to score, and I have to say, my friend Addy did an amazing job scoring the movie, especially given the crazy schedule she had to work with. Oh yeah, another thing....as a music composer, strange requests are to be expected. It just comes with the territory.