Last week, Tomás sent off three versions of an important cue for “Ravana’s Game” to director David Eblen. He likes all three, and has narrowed it down to two. The reason this cue is being called ‘important’ is simply because it is one of the main characters themes, and every time throughout the film, when we see this character, there will be a version of this theme around or under him. It may be featured, it maybe underscore, but it will be there. Consequently, it is important that both the Director and the Composer are happy with the cue.
This is the fifth ‘important’ cue insofar as establishing main characters themes. All of these have been in Reel One. There are new characters we meet in subsequent reels who will have their own personalized themes written. These themes make up the whole of the score.
Before Tomás can go on to Reel Two, and while David makes his final pick, Tomás has to go through every character’s theme, and start the dreaded “organizing”, a combination of Music Editing, assisting, and Composer assisting. The Composer is assisting…..himself. It almost has an “X” rated feel to it.
No such luck. It is lots of paperwork, cue organization via melody, harmony, instrumentation and elements. It requires a completely different head space than writing, and is often much more exhausting without the creative reward.
In a nutshell, Tomás would much rather be writing than doing this, however, this is absolutely necessary for the score to start flowing at a nice clip, with no need to suddenly be interrupted because something is ‘missing’, and the piles and piles of paperwork, and hundreds and hundreds of banks of sounds do not need to be searched through. Everything is in it’s place, and this is essential for optimal creativity and productivity.
Still, it is the drudge work, and the little I can do to speed things along, I do, but ultimately, it is his style of organizing, his office, his space, and his computer. As much as I wish I could wave the magic wand and have it be finished, it is his composers studio, and only he knows how he wants it organized.
I spent enough years assisting composer John Williams and his editor Ken Wannberg to know there came a point where there was nothing I could do to help them through the ‘slosh pile’. I could only turn my attention to my own.
With Tomás, I am doing the same – dealing with my own piles of desperately needed organization, and remembering that I make a mean cup of coffee, a mean sandwich, and a mean scowl when I hold out a handful of vitamins to get him through the day.
Upward and Onward!