24 September 2007

Jericho, entretien avec David Lawrence par Christine Blanc

Compte tenu du succès que remporte la série et de l'intérêt des fans pour cette interview, inter-activites s'était engagé à publier une nouvelle interview plus exhaustive de David Lawrence pour son travail sur Jéricho. Promesse tenue, voici certaines de vos questions et leurs réponses tant attendues par certains! David aura d'ailleurs une pensée toute particulière pour, ses fans, à la fin de l'interview... Touché par la passion qui anime certains d'entre vous! Mission accomplie pour inter-activites qui a permis aux artistes et aux fans de mieux se connaître! Alors à très bientôt pour de nouvelles expériences...

MISTER LAWRENCE, can you tell me about you, your training and your background?
I started playing piano and composing at around 5 yrs old. I studied piano and orchestration until college. Then I studied Composition and Piano at the Mannes College of Music in New York.
How and why did you come to film music?
I’ve always loved watching film and was always interested in the components that made up a movie. Particularly music. And how, if composed right, you could influence and/or heighten the impression of how an audience experiences that movie.
Do you have any mentor? Are you inspired by a composer in particular?
I would say the composers that have most inspired me are Bernard Hermann, Henry Mancini, John Williams, James Newton Howard, Dave Grusin and Thomas Newman.

Do you consider yourself as being part of a “school” of composition? How would you describe or characterize your own musical style?
Unless I’m working on something dire with serious consequences, I try to infuse as much humor and irony in my work as much as possible.
How do you choose a project to work on?
I’m very lucky to be working as much as I am. Composers are rarely in a position to choose what project they want to work on. I think the key is to create the best possible environment in which to work, once you begin, and try to infuse as much of yourself into that project as possible.

Did your way of working change along the years or according to each film?
I started working in film and tv in the mid ‘90’s. Computers were becoming more and more of a necessity. Time constraints and budgets dictated that. Even with amazing technology now, however, there are still instances where computers can only serve as an example of what you actually want the orchestra or even a single live musician to play. In those cases it’s faster sometimes to write out by hand want you want played.
How do you compose? Do you have a method of working? How do you proceed?What do you feel when you’re composing and what do you like in this process?
As a general rule, the visual image dictates what I’m about to compose. I’m inspired by the visual composition of the piece I’m working on. The dialogue, the actors, set design, cinematography, etc. If I need to follow a temp score, I need to incorporate that particular sensibility into my thought process and create from there. If there is no temp score it is far more challenging but much more satisfying to develop themes and styles to match to picture. Regardless of the style of music that I compose, there’s always the initial difficulty of how to begin but always a rush when things start coming together.
What would you advice to apprentice film composers for them to succeed in the business? Mrnickb, Australia.
First and foremost you have to be very very comfortable with computers and their associated technologies. And secondly, YOU MUST BE VERY VERY FAST!!!!! Learn every keyboard shortcut to create your sequences as quickly as possible. Above all, don’t dwell on concepts. If you’re stuck, get over it. Use your craft to propel you past your rut and move on! We live in a time when projects have to delivered incredibly fast and with great quality.

Is it easy to work on series, and movies ? What are the similarities and the differences between the two (series/movie) from your working point of view?
Over the last 5 years. The differences between writing for film and for tv have diminished significantly. Music has become much more pervasive throughout episodic television and film as well. The demands therefore have necessitated a wholesale change in how composers approach their work conceptually. There is a much more cinematic approach to tv writing now. The main difference in film is that you have more screen time to develop your themes and subsequently more opportunity to use different colors/approaches with which to develop them.
What do think about the growing number of series and about the growing audience for them?
There will always be a thirst to see something new and different on television. That’s great. I also think it will provide more opportunities for new and currently working composers to strut their stuff. More and more first-rate film music composers come to video game music.

What do you think about that, and would you like to be part of this?
I think my daughter would be very disappointed if I didn’t try to work on game music.

Have you been inspired by any other Tv series music, like Lost by Michael Giacchino “the ending of certain sequences”? Morpheus80, Amiens- Picardie
I’m a big fan of John Keane (CSI), Sean Callery (24) and Mark Snow (X-Files). I think these composers have helped shape the current and very cool state of television music today. Director and exec. Producer Jon Turteltaub is also the creator of Disney’s National Treasure.

Do you see any similarities between Trevor Rabin’s score and yours? Were you asked to do so? Hybrid Soldier, Yvelines (78), France
Some of the Pilot (1st episode) was ‘temped’ with Trevor’s score as a guideline, not as a bible. The score to Jericho is very complicated both from a compositional sense and from a resulting textural sense. It took many episodes of experimenting to ultimately find the show’s musical character.
Did you know about the existence of the morse codes that are different at the beginning of each episode?
I didn’t catch on to any of it until one of the Producers of the show laid it out and I was blown away. I think it’s very cool.

Are there other secret codes in your score?
The only sneaky thing I try to do is incorporate as subtly as possible the show’s main theme into certain scenes. Little phrases here and there can play very effectively on your subconscious mind.

Is there any difference between scoring a musical and your way of treating TV series music?
Ultimately the goal is the same; to try and incorporate principal themes and their variations to support specific character development and plot points. Sometimes it can be a very obvious implementation and sometimes a very subtle one.
Do you write a long suite with different themes that you cut afterwards to put pieces into the different episodes?-Or did you write 2 or 3 different themes to weave into your score, different for each episode?-Or do you work another way (different teams…)
I actually do a little of both. If I get really inspired and write a long suite I usually have a wealth of material from which to cut into smaller pieces. From there, those ‘smaller’ pieces take on a life of their own and I further develop them into more themes.Sometimes, there’s a new character or a completely new twist in the plot and then you have to invent something different and special for that.
How much time did you have to compose an episode, and how would you describe you music for JERICHO?
I usually have about 3-1/2 days to write about 35-40 minutes of music. The styles of music ranges from Traditional Orchestral to Americana to Trance/Electronica to Folk. Kind of all over the place but with a very specific point of view and application.
What's about the release of the score?
As of right now, there are no plans to release a CD of the music from “Jericho”. A DVD of the entire 1st season is coming out in the next few weeks though.

Can you tell me about your projects?
I just finished scoring and writing/producing songs for “High School Musical 2”. I’m just about to start a new series for CBS called “Cane”. “Jericho” is starting up again this year. In October there’s a Rock ‘n Roll Musical movie for MTV and a Christmas movie for Disney/ABC. We just produced “Bye, Bye Big Guy” off-Broadway in New York this summer and are finishing up a musical with Blake Edwards that may get produced next spring. It is a very exciting time.

If you could choose a project, a film to do, and a director…
Wow. The sky’s the limit with that question. I love Dramedies. Depth of character development with a humorous underpinning. “Kramer vs. Kramer” but with jokes. I’m kidding. But certainly a mix of drama with humor. That’s what life is. As far as directors go... I love Pedro Almodovar, Brad Bird and Sydney Pollack...and 20 more to numerous to mention.

Do you have specific message to add for our readers?
I’m overwhelmed by your interest in my work. I’m grateful and thank you.For those of you interested in pursuing a career in tv/film composing; believe in your abilities, persevere if you are lucky enough to be able to so and be ready when the opportunity arrives. It is very easy to say all this and much harder to actually do, but that’s what the pursuit of dreams is all about!
Thanks and all my congratulations.
My pleasure!

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