FINDING THE SOUND
Finding the right soundtrack for the film was going to be a huge beast on its own. Personally, I found it a worthwhile investment to get a subscription to access a huge pool of licensed music libraries to find a scratch track that best captured the emotional arc of my short film with the option to use it for my film if necessary.
Having an effective scratch track helped me see how much heavy lifting the music could do in mirroring the character's emotions. I particularly liked my scratch track for the scene where Nick first encounters Frank because of its crescendo of drama; with every repetition of the same melody, the sequence gets layered with more instrumentation, getting fuller and more dramatic. Then, there’s an abrupt transition to a sequence where the melody gets stripped of all the layers it’s built on, leaving a quiet and rather lonely outro. I also enjoyed the whimsical beat that underlay the track that I felt added a distinguished character as well as kept the track from sounding too classical.
And then I got connected with my composer, Joe Basile. Because I felt so strongly about the scratch track, I was pretty determined that unless Joe’s score outrightly topped it, I would stick with my scratch track and ask Joe to build the rest of the score around it. But once I received Joe’s first pass at the score, I was not only taken by Joe’s treatment of the melody but also saw the power of a bespoke film score that could breathe at the same tempo as your animation. With that, I asked him to take the full reign from there.
Once he scored the full thing, I was so impressed by how Joe captured the emotional DNA of my film. What I loved the most about Joe’s approach was that he expressed drama without being overly dramatic. I don't know how he did it, but with his score, the emotional moments felt more bitter than just angry, more somber than just sad. I felt his treatment achieved a nuance with deeper emotional flavors than just a flat note of a primary emotion.