By Kelly Mahan Jaramillo
The arrival of this film has a rather interesting beginning. Well over a year ago, Tomas was approached by a filmmaker who had intently perused his page, and was asking Tomas if he would be interested in scoring his film. It was a full length feature, and wonder of wonders, the man had the foresight to put money aside for the score. This was when we were living in Los Angeles, and the director, David Eblen, lived in Oregon. Long distance has never been a problem, except for the final dub – we would like to be present, but often did not have the money to fly out to Chicago (The Black Shield) or back to LA (American Dumpling).
Happily, the money and travel problem is no longer an issue. We can fly anywhere we need to, and can participate in the final mix of the film.
But I digress. David’s e-mail was very positive and polite, and Tomas responded as he always does, expressing appreciation for being chosen as the composer, and a request to see a rough cut, to determine what was needed so that he could give a fair and accurate quote.
We never heard back from him. Tomas was deeply involved with the writing of “Dumpling” at the time, and merely shrugged it off as another inquiry that went nowhere. This often happens, and we simply move on.
Fast forward to a year later, when we had just arrived on the East Coast. We were temporarily staying with Tomas’s parents, and had our computers set up at his sister Jolene’s house, where we could continue with the wrap up work on “Dumpling”, work on a music library, check our e-mail, etc.
This was in July, and it was hot and humid, with amazing hurricane driven summer thunderstorms, which are breathtaking to watch and be in, especially for a native Los Angelino such as myself, however, they do have one drawback – they often knock the power out. So, half of the time was sitting upstairs visiting, eating hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and enjoying the wild weather.
On August 6th of this year, out of the blue, Tomas received another e-mail from David, apologizing for dropping off the face of the earth, explaining that going from the rough cut to the final took much longer than he had anticipated, and was Tomas still interested and/or available to write the score?
Tomas wrote back, informing him of our situation at that point, that the studio was packed up and in a storage space while we were looking to find a house in the city. We were going to get set up as soon as we could, but at that time we were living a somewhat gypsy life. Tomas was most definitely still interested, but if David needed to start on the score immediately, we were out of luck.
He said it was no problem, that he still had special effects to deal with, and a few minor edit tweaks, and asked us to stay in touch and let him know when we found a house.
We got lucky, found and fell in love with an affordable house within a few weeks, and we took about a month doing cosmetic fixes to it – considering that is 108 years old, it needed very little – just cleaning, painting, some patching and stripping, and new bathtub fixtures. By the middle of September we were ready to move our belongings out of storage and into the house. The first order of business was picking which room would be the studio, and Tomas went about setting it up. I have the requisite chair in the corner of the studio, plus upstairs have my own office when I am not working with Tomas.
We called David and informed him that we were up and running, and ready for a copy of the film. He promptly sent us one, and we viewed it twice – once for enjoyment, the second time to study it and see what was needed musically.
We were very happy with the film – it has many intertwining story lines that all lead back to the Indian God Ravana, and a certain relic that holds Ravana’s powers in it.
I do not want to give away any of the story, however, the mystical side is woven in beautifully with a number of very normal, everyday stories – one character has family issues, another has problems with work being scarce, and having to take jobs that take him away from his daughter, yet another is a crooked politician. All very authentic, timely, and well written – to the point where a few times during the film we got caught up in the characters day-to-day issues, and forgot that there was a relic with Ravana’s spirit that had possibly fallen into the wrong hands. Possibly.
So, that is a rather long winded update as to where we are sitting film-wise, at the beginning of this New Year. Boy, it is starting out with great hope and promise, both personally and globally. The very air seems to be crackling with a sense of possibilities.
We are excited to be working on this film, we like both the film and we hit it off with David right away, and I have to give him kudo’s for this being his first full length feature, it is well shot, well acted, the story has many twists and turns, but we never once got lost.
AND he had the common sense to budget in the score. (As you know, I have no more patience for the “copy and credit” directors).
So, we will be keeping this blog up to date on the progress of “Ravana’s Game”, along with the festival information about “Dumpling”.
Tomas’s desire is to create the 36 hour day so that he can score the film, and manage to squeeze in updating and re-vamping his web page. We are ready for the old pictures that were taken in Los Angeles to be gone, and have the page visually reflect our new surroundings, plus get it musically up-to-date, cut a trailer for “Dumpling”, re-mix some cues for “The Black Shield” – – there is a lot of work to be done.
But, it is work in the realm of what Tomas does best, and as for myself, I cannot wait to hear him write music again. I have missed it.
Below is a trailer for “Ravana’s Game”. Enjoy!