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FMM: All Access- 90min John Powell Video Interview


Kaya
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Thank you for sharing Kaya! Very interesting and fun stuff! Powell is a great interviewee. :)

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Powell comes across as a very honest, down-to-earth and unpretentious guy. A very interesting interview in that you let the composer speak and lead the interview which inevitably takes it to some topics that might not have sprung from a rigid interview programme. Great to hear his views on composing, the industry, fellow composers and even broader ideas about life and what affects his work and what prompted him to write his new concert work.

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Powell comes across as a very honest, down-to-earth and unpretentious guy. A very interesting interview in that you let the composer speak and lead the interview which inevitably takes it to some topics that might not have sprung from a rigid interview programme. Great to hear his views on composing, the industry, fellow composers and even broader ideas about life and what affects his work and what prompted him to write his new concert work.

Thanks! That's my goal. When I started the series with Lorne I didn't prepare anything, no notes, no plan, no nothing. It worked out pretty well. I did the same with Heitor. With John I had a note card with topics I just wanted to remind myself to cover. My normal audio interviews are fully prepared and structured because you really need to stay focused on the current project they worked on and you only have around 30min. After doing 200+ of those interviews I wanted to try something different. I don't have a lock on my next guest for "All Access", but have had interest from some great composers so hopefully I can get the next one scheduled soon. Was very honored that John agreed to do this as well, as he rarely does stuff like this. He doesn't do interviews when he's in the middle of writing so I'm taking every opportunity I can while he's on his little departure from scoring.

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It's interesting that he mentions he doesn't like violence in films, so I think HTTYD2 must have hit him pretty close to home, considering the subject of the film is Hiccup trying to find a peaceful way so both dragons and humans can live together, but when Drago doesn't share his view and ends up defeating Hiccup (sort of speak, I don't wanna spoil it in case people here haven't seen it). After that, Hiccup has to get on Drago's level, as sometimes you have to hit back if you get hit.

Would have been interesting to see what he thought of that.

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Powell is a wimp!

Yeah true film composers bathe in blood and adore the gore and find violence as the key to solve all problems!

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Would have been interesting to see what he thought of that.

He probably would refer you to answer#1, 'i needed the $$$'.

Oh those composers and their constant need of money!

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I was listening to part of Herrmann's Unvarnished Chat today, and I came across a comment in it (actually, given his attitude, it was more of an angry outburst) where he said that he lacked respect for composers who were willing to dumb down their music to fit a bad film, and that they should walk away from the project if they don't agree with the approach.

It's interesting to compare the views of these two - Powell has done things (such as 'boring' fight scenes) and he didn't feel were using his abilities, but he emphasizes that sometimes that's the job. Herrmann on the other hand, appears to be close to breaking down in tears at the suggestion of it, and angrily says to the interviewer that composers faced with sub-par material should walk away. That's great for an established composer, but what sort of advice is that for up-and-coming composers who need to get on the scoring ladder?

I vastly prefer Powell's approach :)

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Herrmann was ever the auteur, nearly always uncompromising and he did pay the price for his views even as revered as he was by the film music circles.

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Will delivering simplified music not at all reflective of an aspiring composer's compositional abilities/preferences/views/etc. for a couple of insignificant projects lead to him or her getting the opportunity to compose for projects that demand the opposite?

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Will delivering simplified music not at all reflective of an aspiring composer's compositional abilities/preferences/views/etc. for a couple of insignificant projects lead to him or her getting the opportunity to compose for projects that demand the opposite?

No, of course not, and such behavior is below the dignity of a true artiste.

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I thought you were a true artiste, Grey. Our last hope has perished! :(

No, I'll never be respected because I don't denounce Zimmer and I repeatedly turn down invitations to the Williams-themed masquerades/orgies that Conrad Pope always hosts. I'm ostracized from the community.

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Cool.

"The reason I did X-Men[: The Last Stand] is, first of all: Brett [Ratner] asked me. Because he couldn't get Danny." (36 minutes in)

Wait, does that mean Ratner asked Elfman to score an X-Men movie? That could have been interesting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got the chance to listen to this. Only a bit into it but it's great so far. I definitely feel him regarding the "disabled composer" thing! Computer-assisted composing and heavy reliance on improvisation is something you don't hear talked about a lot. The craft has changed, but obviously it doesn't have to mean that the results are worse. He's proof of that.

Very fascinating to hear him talk about the historical perspectives behind the upcoming Prussian Requiem.

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