Think back on what are considered to be among the greatest films of all time. Lawrence of Arabia, The Godfather, Star Wars; these films are considered to be among the highest achieving films for a number of reasons. Aside from their mastered accomplishment in visual storytelling, the thing that more often then not comes to mind when mentioned is the iconic music that accompanies one of these films. This marriage of music and movie is undoubtedly one of the most significant aspects that determines a film’s classic success. Try to imagine Lawrence of Arabia without its iconic sweepingly cinematic strings, The Godfather without its singularly ominous horn intro, or Star Wars without its triumphant horns-a-blaring orchestral opening, the result is one that is entirely less magical. Whitewater Films is aware of the great importance music has in the film industry addressing the topic, “the art and business of music in film,” at their most recent roundtable luncheon.
Whitewater Films, created by producer/director Rick Rosenthal (Bad Boys), is an L.A.-based production company dedicated to helping emerging young directors with their films and establishing them in the industry. A warm-hearted and hard working team, Whitewater also hosts panel discussions on trending topics in the independent movie market in their monthly roundtable discussions. While serving a barbecued lunch to its industry-involved audience at its charming outdoor patio, the talks are moderated by professional related to the topic at hand. A nice luxury is having accomplished industry professionals sit in as panelists to offer a wide range of industry members an informative discussion on the news of the moment, which also provides the opportunity of the exchanging of business cards and creating contacts.
Leading the panel discussion on the Cinco de Mayo-landing date was moderator Lukas Kendall, the founder and publisher of Film Score Monthly, an outlet and record label devoted to classic movie music. Serving as panelists were Rick Rosenthal of Whitewater Films, award-winning composer Austin Wintory, Jordan Passman of scoreAscore.com (a website connecting filmmakers with musicians), frequent Sundance composer iZLER pronounced (eye-zler), and editor Anne Goursaud, whose credits include Francis Ford Coppola’s One From the Heart, as well as The Outsiders.
When asked of Rosenthal, what he from a director’s standpoint would say about music in film, he chose to relate his answer to one of his previous successes. For Bad Boys, he stated that what he asked for would more properly be termed as “scource,” a combination of “score” and “source” that he intended would give the film its gritty and authentic feel as a street-based action movie.
When Kendall opened the discussion to the composers, asking what is the first question that a composer would ask a filmmaker or director in regards to being asked to create music for a film, Wintory responded immediately, answering “When does it need to be done by?” He followed by stating that the time allotted to a project would inevitably determine the accomplished creativity of the film. Czech born, English raised composer iZLER followed by admitting that if he was given a year to complete a project, that he would spend half of the year sitting around and “drinking 100 cups of tea.” But among the general consensus was that creativity is, in part, inspired by deadlines.
When asked what the current “buzz words” that producers and directors have most recently looking for, the answer was met with iZLER’s response of “two words: Social-Network.” As soon as the title was mentioned, guffaws and tired exhales came almost unanimously from the panel, leading to a moment of shared laughter for all. Making sure to get the point across that he liked the film, iZLER responded that the most recent Best Original Score Oscar winner has become as emphatically regarded (overly so) as 1999’s Best Film winner American Beauty was after its win, stating that, like Beauty, it is the most frequently asked for “sound” nowadays. The panel agreed, noting how popular electronic musicians such as French DJ duo Daft Punk as well as famed techno set Chemical Brothers are being called upon to score today’s big budget films, scoring original music for TRON: Legacy and the art-house-action thriller Hanna, respectively. Kendall concluded that kids today don’t relate to orchestras as much as they do to their own preferred music.
Whitewater Films is a truly unique production company that holds its own in the turbulent L.A. scene. Providing the opportunity to link filmmakers with industry members, their philosophy of shared collaboration to better the entire independent industry is one that is selfless, rewarding, and commendable.
For more information, head over to White Water Films website.