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Podcast: Rian Johnson On How John Williams Works

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1 hour ago, Muad'Dib said:

"When we were editing, we had a very talented music editor, Joe Bond, who cut a temp score out of John's previous scores and we basically temped using John Williams music. And then basically we gave that temp score to John and that was our spotting session. You know, a spotting session is usually when you sit down with the composer and talk through what you want. I didn't do that with John, just gave him our temp score and said this is generally the shape. And then John took that and sometimes he went with it, sometimes he deviated from it but he just did his thing; and the first time I heard any of the music John had written was when we were on the scoring stage."

 

This is bullcrap. I do not believe this. Seriously, not even a conversation between film-maker and composer? About what the film-maker is trying to achieve?

 

This is a horrible way to create a film score and an artistic partnership? 

 

I refuse to believe that JW on his own would non-stop apply the Force theme everywhere. I definitely think the film-makers were much more involved than Johnson is letting on.

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Now the near-exact quotes from the OT make more sense. Johnson handed JW a temp track as his spotting instructions. He must have been none too thrilled but pulled off a great score none the less.

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On 12/17/2017 at 8:58 AM, someonefun124 said:

I'm curious what Williams thinks about working with Rian.  Remember when Rian told Williams to get back to work?? Williams would be graceful, modest and cordial as usual so we'll never know the real truth. ;)

 

Maybe there's a hidden message in one of the cues...

 

11 hours ago, artguy360 said:

I wonder if Rian Johnson "challenged JW in any way." In the pre-film score featurette JW described Johnson as very hands on. 

 

I guess JW was challenged by receiving a temp track instead of spotting instructions. :D

 

2 hours ago, Taikomochi said:

So, going by the podcast, it is now certain a new Main Title recording was recorded. Johnson goes into detail on it.

 

Rian apparently doesn't know the difference between a Main Title and End Credits.

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You know that a composer could go ahead and convince the director to go with not the temp, by writing music that is better and more fitting? Or by writing music that has the same vibe without directly quoting it?

 

If the director gave Williams a temped movie, and let him do his thing, JW is just as much to blame as the director.

 

I like the argument "well, Williams was probably confused what the director wanted". Who do you think this is? You think Williams goes "Uuuuuuh, eeeeeeh, what's this? Never heard a temp score before, I don't know what the fuck to do!"

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

I like her informal 'chat' style (which is something I strive for in my own interviews), but she could have been more insightful/detailed for us film score nerds. There wasn't much new information here we didn't already know. And I could be without the hundred variations of the STAR WARS theme.

 

When will you interview JW? :)

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2 hours ago, HuberSepp said:

 

Maybe. But you can see it also the other way round: He had so much confidence in JW's skills that he didn't need a spotting session.

 

This makes more sense. When I met Johnson early this year I asked him about JW. He seemed to be in complete awe of him.

 

The other thing is it seems like you guys think he didn't talk to JW about the score at all. He doesn't say that, he just says he didn't do a spotting session.

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3 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

When will you interview JW? :)

 

Made a couple of attempts (2012 and 2014, respectively), but was politely refused. He's one of the very few on my Top 10 list that I've been unable to interview, and probably never will.

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10 minutes ago, Thor said:

Made a couple of attempts (2012 and 2014, respectively), but was politely refused. He's one of the very few on my Top 10 list that I've been unable to interview, and probably never will.

 

I guess you need to find the right angle - something JW really wants to talk about.

 

Anyways, it will be easier to interview him after we've relocated him to Norway to score Norwegian drama.

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I'm gonna take a wild guess and say that not spotting the film together was a mistake. Rian talks about visiting JW at his house at some point. Does he mention at least listening to piano sketches like JJ did and Spielberg almost always does? I can't listen to the podcast right now.

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Just because they didn't do traditional spotting doesn't mean that the two weren't in contact.  Temping the score just to show the "general shape" and emotional beats to hit is essentially doing the same thing as spotting, except without words.  He clearly says that Williams was not beholden to mimic the temp.

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10 minutes ago, DominicCobb said:

He doesn't just mention that they recorded the main title again, he makes a big deal of it, talking about how it's slightly different, film to film. Really weird (it must be different in the film itself, right?).

Nope, its the same as the album version (which is just the recording from TFA).

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Good podcast. Rian Johnson seems like a nice guy to chat with. I wish I enjoyed his SW film more. Thankfully my appreciation of the score is growing as it does with most JW film scores even if it is one of the lesser SW scores in my personal ranking.

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I think I was a little underwhelmed at first with TFA's score, probably because we had just gotten ROTS about 10 years prior, so I was expecting something a little more along the lines of that. But now that I'm used to TFA's score as well as John's current style I was able to really enjoy TLJ's score from the first listen, since I knew what to expect.

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5 hours ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

Nope, its the same as the album version (which is just the recording from TFA).

 

I'm very sure that it was a different recording in the film. But I am confused by how he explained that they redid it every time. The prequels all used the same recording from TPM. It was mastered slightly differently on each album release and presumably in the films. But on the TFA and TLJ (album), not only is the Main Title the same recording, but the mastering is completely identical.

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23 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

I'm very sure that it was a different recording in the film. But I am confused by how he explained that they redid it every time. The prequels all used the same recording from TPM. It was mastered slightly differently on each album release and presumably in the films. But on the TFA and TLJ (album), not only is the Main Title the same recording, but the mastering is completely identical.

I think Rian is talking about from ANH to TESB to ROTJ to the PT (which all used the same recording) to TFA. It sounds like they definitely recorded the main titles anew for TLJ but for some reason that didn't end up on the OST but maybe it did in the film?

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Quote

 

It's interesting to me, also, just talking about the opening fanfare, first of all that they do re-record it for each movie. They record it anew and he does slightly tweak it each time. I was told by John he slightly tweaks it each time. The more interesting thing, actually, was when we were mixing, because... it all depends on what sound system you listen to it on, but each of the films has a different sound in terms of the opening fanfare.

 

We listened to several of them back-to-back on the scoring stage and they're very distinct. It's like listening to remixes of a song that you like. You think they're identical but they're all very different and The Force Awakens had kind of like a brighter, more attacky kind of sound. We kind of went for a warmer, you know, tried to like thicken it up just a little bit but still get that opening attack. But each one of them... it's interesting for me, it's something I never thought of but it makes sense that there's an infinite variety of ways to mix your opening fanfare.

 

 

:huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh::huh:?!?!?!?!??!

 

So, uh, yeah. I'm perplexed. Short of being a mistake where the temp track accidentally got retained, or John overruling everyone to include the TFA version, this is a puzzling outcome (especially with the film's director under the impression they used the new recording!)

 

I will say the film version did sound slightly different to the TFA version, but they were minute differences, as if it were little more than an alternate take. Some notes felt longer... but it still wasn't reflective of TLJ's prequel-y mix.

 

Maybe we'll hear the new version on the Bluray somewhere? Would that feature in the bonuses? Maybe David Collins could shed some light on the situation with his contacts at Lucasfilm? Surely it'll come up in the RFR podcast (if they ever do one).

 

Oh yeah, where's the version of the Main Titles at 9:45 from? Doesn't sound like any of the films.

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8 minutes ago, Jay said:

How utterly perplexing that after all that hubbub, they'd slap the TFA recording on the OST.  It must be some kind of mistake, like Ramiro screwed up or something.

 

It could be as simple as JW not being content with the Main Title recorded for TLJ, and instead of using more time recording it he just went with the one done for TFA.

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19 hours ago, Thor said:

Ha, ha....yes, that sounds like a likely scenario.

 

At least I've seen him live twice, and that is of some comfort.

 

It just popped into my head how you could get your interview - write the first JW biography based on first-hand interviews. If you have backing from a well-known publisher when you ask to do the interviews it should be easier to catch his attention. It should not be that difficult to get a letter of intent from a publisher as long as you don't require payment for the working hours (only royalties) if they publish the final result. In the preview questions which you submit to JW together with the inquiry you could include some controversial stuff where he might want to set the records straight.

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The thought has occured to me, JS. I already have my plans for a JW book (postponed for various reasons), but a dream would be to spend a few days with Wililams going through his entire career and have some comments on most, if not all of the things he's done. Yeah, one can always dream.

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39 minutes ago, Jay said:

RJ has final say over whats used in the actual film though, and according to some people here the film ALSO uses the TFA take.

 

I am sure the producers/Disney execs had much more of a final say than RJ had. Usually the money (wo)men want a lot of influence.

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5 minutes ago, Thor said:

The thought has occured to me, JS. I already have my plans for a JW book (postponed for various reasons), but a dream would be to spend a few days with Wililams going through his entire career and have some comments on most, if not all of the things he's done. Yeah, one can always dream.

 

A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline. Hurry up before Bozereau beats you to it. ;)

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55 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

 

Have you read Emilio Audissino's book? I haven't yet - can't take him seriously when he writes John Williams's in the title.

 

Apart from the title, the book is good! But I would really like to see someone with technical musical background (a composer or conductor) asking JW technical questions about his work, with score examples, comments on how he gets the ideas for certain harmonic choices and orchestrations, and all this stuff. It would be invaluable to hear him talking about the most practical issues related to his work. It's probably unrealistic to expect this to ever happen... but it should not be! 

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