Music Composing with David Glen Russell
Our Director Charlie introduced us to David Glen Russell. He’s like a Southern, Teddy Bear who loves metal. We instantly bonded through our love for loud guitars. He had just been hired to provide additional music in the animated Star Wars Clone series. And we had both studied classical music for years. So, I could totally understand him when he'd nerd out about music.
Quiet Riot at the Whiskey. We all look like psychos searching for the right selfie angle.
I wasn't familiar with David's work. Since he was working on Star Wars score I always viewed it as militaristic and iconic.
He also provided additional music from Star Trek's What We Left Behind: Deep Space Nine.
It's amazing that that he can love head banging metal and compose such beautiful classical music. I admit that I wasn't sure if his voice was a good fit for MY APOCALYPTIC THANKSGIVING. Our big question: Would his music work for our film?
Holly and I were very blessed to have David G. Russell as a musical composer. I described MAT, My Apocalyptic Thanksgiving, as having a motherly quality about it. I showed him similar movies like a Beautiful Boy, Precious, Pursuit of Happyness, and Little Miss Sunshine. But Short Term 12 really sparked an idea. He realized what it needed to be, small, intimate which required a few instruments.
Online music sample websites was a gold mine for ideas. I was able to edit some music into a few scenes to help me get a clearer idea.
When you're working through the pandemic, it tends to drive us a little...mad.
As for the B story, it was all '80s synth, a la John Carpenter style.
The first 10 minutes, were the hardest. He'd drill us with questions. We start with the B Story (Zombie story) and interwove the A story ( Marcus' story)
What musical score should we start with? A or B?
At what point should they be combined?
He first provided us with the Zombies themes. I choked up. MAT was coming alive. It's ALIVE! Yes, I choked up just watching the Zombie theme.
Next he provided us with the touching music after Frank tucks in Marcus. It's like this touching acoustic guitar then it picks up a nice rhythm.
To steal from AMADEUS, 'Just a pulse. It's like a rusty squeezebox and then suddenly...
He was doing such an amazing job with the musical score that we dared him to use the noise of from the rubber chicken! As Captain Hook would say from Breaking Bad would say, it's our secret spice!
I love the choice when Marcus unleashes his anger and fights the new client. Instead of
the obvious choice of angry music, he brought back the mother's theme. David asked, 'Why is he fighting?' The answer is provided in the music.
Holly and I had discussed different themes for the characters. He taught us about the importance of 'silence' as well and how powerful it can be. Like when Marcus exits the prison, there's no music. Just the sound of cars driving by to the sound of his toy zombie being tossed from the car, to the beeping of the microwave.
At the end of the film, Holly chose the family's theme. She knew exactly what order the musical scores had to be.
He is currently working on his own soundtrack that he'll be selling in the future. Stay tuned for that.
We're all a bunch of music, comic book, pop culture nerds at heart. Wondercon 2018.