ASCAP Filmscoring Program @ NYU
After debating whether or not I've already travelled too much this year, I decided last minute to apply for the ASCAP Filmscoring Program at NYU. As I meditated on the alluring qualities of NYC: the food, people, street scenes, and the opportunity to learn from some of the respected film composers in our generation, I suddenly had no issue with packing my suitcase for the hundredth time that month. Williamsburg was clearly the area I was after, and to my great surprise, I found something on Airbnb that was actually affordable. So off I hopped on a plane hoping for the best.
The first two days of the course were frightening. We were shown how to use Logic (a music programming software), and sadly my jet lagged brain could not keep up with the instructor. Despite so, I learnt a lot about creating your own sample library and the process of writing and recording with a live orchestra (via Skype). The evening sessions were my favourite, as we got to hear the professionals share their experience and ask them tons of questions.
Among the many conversations about how to survive in an extremely tough and exclusive field, the course leaders and guest speakers would always counter our worries with words of wisdom and hope. At least, that's how they got through it (and are still at it). One of our course leaders Michael Levine shared many inspiring anecdotes of how he landed with scoring for Coldcase (156 episodes in total) through the generosity of a composer who was too busy at the time to score it. That composer happened to be our other course leader Mark Snow (X-Files), and through him, Michael ended up working with Hans Zimmer who he now regularly writes with. Isn't it ironic to find that in this field, others composers are more likely to give you jobs than an agent?
Anyhow, this is only a brief overview of my time there, but I must emphasise what a wonderful privilege it was to be there. It was truly the people who transformed it into something incredibly special and memorable, and I feel honoured to have cross paths with so many kindred spirits. I loved seeing the diversity in each person's musical interpretation of the cues (the clip we chose to write to), and how the music magically reflected their unique personalities. It was a beautiful revelation.
I knew from the beginning that it would be a miracle if I were to bump into any one of them again (since they're from all over the map!), so by persuasion or force, I managed to convince some of them to let me photograph their beautiful faces!