It`s back, after 2 successful years of many events, has returned again with exciting new possibilities for 2013. For those unfamiliar with the initiative, a few words may do you some good.
The Composers Challenge is an initiative designed to help emulate the experience of a film composer for participants. Through a long process, the composer is given a clip and asked to score it. His/her music is then passed along a panel of adjudicators made up of prominent film music critics in the community, along with other professionals in the industry (we've been known to have composers and renowned musicologists on board). The work is then reviewed and feedback is offered. The piece is finally put up to vote to determine final scores with the public and set a victor to the competition. It’s a process in which every composer learns and an experience from which all participants have something to take out of.
For this challenge, we decided to once again try something new. Fans of film music are often known to find themselves both excited and disappointed when it comes to sequels and prequels in an established film music franchise. This is largely due to their issues with thematic continuity. Everyone has a certain expectation when it comes to handling past musical themes in big sagas like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings. Among the more controversial entities of film music is none other than the Harry Potter franchise, which has often been criticized for the nearly complete abandonment of Williams’ memorable pre-established themes for the first 3 films.
This challenge gives the opportunity to give fans (or non-fans) the chance to show how they would have handled the franchise if it was in their hands. This challenge is designed to test participants’ ability to interweave already established themes with original ones of their own, while maintaining consistency with the context.
Here is the original scene:
That should give you a sense of what you’re scoring, but it is not actually the clip you will be composing your music to.
This is the entry clip:
The clip has removed the audio save for brief moments where sound effects are allowed to shine (particularly the battle scene at the end) and has been edited to save time. Some may note the length of the clip, but as daunting as it may seem, there are many benefits to such as a scene. As a composer, the kind of narrative arc this complex scene shows allows one to develop and integrate a variety of themes (both old and new) while maintaining stylistic diversity. It’s certainly a challenge, but one that holds great potential!
Due to the nature of the clip, there will be extensive amount of time to score it (almost two months).
Tentative Deadline: Friday April 26, 2013
Joining us on the adjudicators’ panel is the venerable Craig Richard Lysy from the IFMCA and Movie Music UK, Edmund Meinerts from Tracksounds and Mikko Ojala (aka Incanus) from JWFan. Over the course of the next few weeks, they will be sharing what they expect from the entries to help guide you on scoring the clip.
We’ll start now, with a few words from Craig:
“Well, you have chosen a very demanding and complex cue to score! So, outwardly we have a battle scene where good and evil contest. This requires aggressive and kinetic scoring to assist in driving the battle.
Far more important in my mind is the emotional narrative. Several scenes will test the composer’s ability to emote powerful emotions;
1. Sirius Black being killed by Ballatrix reveals Harry in agony at the death of his friend.
2. Harry’s rage for vengeance and his inner struggle to forgive or murder Bellatrix.
3. Finally, the possession of Harry by Voldemort where he struggles to be true to himself and his values or surrender to the inner darkness that dwells in every man’s soul.
For me, the composer must speak to and emote the powerful emotions animating these scenes, not just the bombast of war.
On another note, we will also have a guest as per tradition of our Hear From the Pros feature. But more on that will be revealed later in the challenge.
Just a brief review of what to do to get onboard this great ride.
1) Email me at email@example.com to let me know you’re interested in participating in the challenge.
2) Score the clip and email me the piece (approximately 8 min) by the deadline. The score must incorporate at least 1 new theme and 1 previously established theme in the franchise (it doesn’t have to be a John Williams theme, it can come from any of the films).
3) Wait patiently for more news. Check email or this site for updates on a regular basis.
I hope to see many familiar names and many new candidates to return for what will be a very exciting chapter to the Composers Challenge initiative. For any questions or inquiries, please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This can all be found at the site: