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Joe Kraemer: “I haven’t scored a single mainstream Hollywood movie since ‘Rogue Nation’”


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Interesting thread on Twitter by Joe Kramer explaining the state of film scoring right now.     "This is a sad truth for everyone trying to make it in show business - it is virtual

Let's see if I understand the current state of film scoring:   Film producers don't give a shit about the craft of film scoring. Kraemer hasn't had a mainstream gig in 9 years. Elf

That lady is like an industry Snowden

Even he gives a lot of vitriol about current state of affairs, I'd say that is good for him! It's only healthy to do a mix of big Hollywood projects and smaller indie affairs, if you're in a position to choose between them. Elfman has done the same thing consistently over the last two decades, and his best work is almost always the indie stuff.

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This is gross. Probably especially so for POC. I’ve always stuck my nose up at Remote Control re: quality of music, but these work conditions (wherever they happen) make that problem look like pretty small potatoes. This job needs higher pay with paid (and ideally less) overtime, no question.

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But according to the admin here movie music is in great shape right now and there's plenty to talk about; we don't require more interesting or more controversial topics at JWFan. 

 

Little wonder I have all but abandoned what used to be a major hobby and barely ever listen to film music anymore, especially the new stuff. 

 

Film music is dead as disco. When Williams does pass, it's all over. 

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1 hour ago, Quintus said:

But according to the admin here movie music is in great shape right now and there's plenty to talk about; we don't require more interesting or more controversial topics at JWFan. 

 

Little wonder I have all but abandoned what used to be a major hobby and barely ever listen to film music anymore, especially the new stuff. 

 

Film music is dead as disco. When Williams does pass, it's all over. 


 

I agree with you about the lack of film scoring these days. But as long as Intrada, Varese and LLL continue to pump out the oldies, I’ll be happy.

 

And if they stop, I’ve got more than enough to keep me happy for the remainder of my time on earth.

 

And if that makes me seem like a narrow minded old grouch, then so be it.

 

I've been called worse.

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35 minutes ago, Erik Woods said:

There is no truth in your statement at all.

 

Gia fan? Desplat? Or are we talking Powell? 

 

I'll be more specific: when JW passes, great film scoring in the neo-romantic style will be dead. None of this watered down substitute from the likes of those guys mentioned above. 

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18 minutes ago, Gruesome Son of a Bitch said:

Is this guy any good? He seems to confirm what guys like Drax and myself have suspected about Hollyweird.

 

His music is decent. He probably lacks the brown-nosing networking skills required to get work but at least he seems honest.

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Kraemer is a great composer, it's terribly sad that he can't find jobs even after his wonderful Rogue Nation score. Meanwhile, the Balfes and Junkies of the world keep getting a lot of high budget movies and TV shows to score.

 

And congratulations to him to speak the truth about what happened between him and McQuarrie on the last M: I. 

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I think there are plenty of composers who are extremely capable of writing the music we like to listen to, but either the nature of the film/director/producers dictates that they write in a style that doesn't fit what we want, or they don't get hired at all,

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(I just posted this at FSM as well)

 

I hate this for him because I think he is one of the most talented composers around today and he just cannot catch a break. I thought it had happened with Rogue Nation but, then they dumped him for a boring score in Fallout.

I tell ya, he would be my first call if I was a director. He'd become my John Williams and I'd be his Spielberg but, alas, I am just an IT guy in Alabama. Sorry Joe.

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There's absolutely still plenty of great music being written for films, sometimes even greater music written for television as well. What are you all on about? I agree it feels like it is a bit harder to come by than in the past for me, but that's because it's not always on the biggest blockbusters these days.

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3 hours ago, Alan said:

So I'm guessing from all of this that the ex-friend is Christopher McQuarrie, the deal he was swindled out of was Mission Impossible: Fallout and the Zimling is Lorne Balfe.

 

That was my conclusion too. Sad to read. Kraemer, like so many talented but underutilised, seemingly outcast composers, deserve so much better.

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22 minutes ago, Erik Woods said:

 

Ugh... I hate doing home work for other people and I'm sure you'll just crap all over what ever I write 

 

Not at all, Erik. 

 

Thanks for the list of names, I would *sincerely* love to see some of your suggestions rise up and be given the opportunity to prove themselves and indeed carry that torch. Fuck, I'd love nothing more. But apparently film scoring work isn't really the right environment at the moment for that kind of thing to happen. Artistry doesn't seem to be nurtured in a way we would like it to be, or at least to an extent where it can make a big splash on the scene. 

 

Yet I believe that real talent, the blood n guts god given stuff, does rise up above these challenges. And if it doesn't, it was probably never really good enough to begin with. 

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13 minutes ago, Fabulin said:

"Great"? Please name 2 examples from each of the past 5 years, Williams and Powell excluded.

It's as if you don't even listen to ANYTHING OTHER than Williams and Powell with a comment like that.

MASQUERADE HOTEL, GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, MIDSOMMER, SHAZAM!, TRAUMFABRIK, UNTAMED ROMANIA, MAX & ME, MARY SHELLEY, THE MIRCALE SEASON,  EL FOTOGRAFO DE MAUTHAUSEN, THE EMPEROR OF PARIS, WATERSHIP DOWN, BENJI, JIM KNOPF UND DIE WILDE 13, OUT OF THE SHADOWS, MARY POPPIN RETURNS, THE CLOVERFIELD PARADOX, BLACK PANTHER, READY PLAYER ONE, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, PHANTOM THREAD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD, ALBION THE ENCHANTED STALLION, CELLO, REBEL IN THE RYE, A CURE FOR WELLNESS, THE RENDEZVOUS, 95, THE RED TURTLE, PETE'S DRAGON, GODS OF EGYPT, 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE, DARK WAVES, SWISS ARMY MAN, NERVE, MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT, THE CAIRO DECLARATION, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, WONDER WOMAN 1984, FUKUSHIMA 50...

 

Whoops... that was more than two. ;)

 

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16 minutes ago, TSMefford said:

There's absolutely still plenty of great music being written for films, sometimes even greater music written for television as well. What are you all on about? I agree it feels like it is a bit harder to come by than in the past for me, but that's because it's not always on the biggest blockbusters these days.

 

I think Kraemer raises a much broader issue than just the quality of the music.

 

It's about the state of the industry and the ever-worsening conditions faced by young composers, which appears to be a direct result of the very aggressive business model of that company. Film music has slowly morphed into little more than a moneymaking factory, with aforementioned company monopolising the work by undercutting established composers, lowering the pay and conditions for all except the "brains trust" behind this model (the one whose name studios want on their posters).

 

Everything about that company seems insidious to me. Seemingly taking advantage of eager young composers while paying them peanuts, but always dangling that carrot in their face of being 'the next Lorne Balfe.'

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16 minutes ago, rolltide1017 said:

I tell ya, he would be my first call if I was a director. He'd become my John Williams and I'd be his Spielberg but, alas, I am just an IT guy in Alabama. Sorry Joe.

 

At least you can fix his composition computer.

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2 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

What did he say now again?

 

He said: "One of my closest friends made a deal behind my back that swindled me out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and then dumped me for a Zimling and this was after assuring me that working for him/her was the same as having a "savings bond". "

 

Someone should tag Lorne Balfe in Kraemer's tweet, I'd like to see what his reaction would be.

 

Let them fight - GIF on Imgur

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1 minute ago, Edmilson said:

 

He said: "One of my closest friends made a deal behind my back that swindled me out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and then dumped me for a Zimling and this was after assuring me that working for him/her was the same as having a "savings bond". "

 

Someone should tag Lorne Balfe in Kraemer's tweet, I'd like to see what his reaction would be.

 

Let them fight - GIF on Imgur

Just a reminder... this isn't Lorne Balfe's fault. Would you say no if a director came up to you can said, "Wanna score the next Mission: Impossible film?" 

So, I hope no one tags Balfe because 1) that would be rude and 2) Balfe is actually a really, really nice guy who doesn't need to be dragged into this.

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23 minutes ago, Quintus said:

Even B-movies and lesser had very fine music written for them. 

 

Heck, even Star Wars got a decent score.

 

2 minutes ago, Erik Woods said:

Just a reminder... this isn't Lorne Balfe's fault. Would you say no if a director came up to you can said, "Wanna score the next Mission: Impossible film?"

 

Well, not everyone has the habit of backstabbing their closest friends. ;)

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2 minutes ago, crumbs said:

I think there's a much wider issue than just the quality of the music.

 

It's that the artform of film music has transformed into a monstrous moneymaking factory, with one (very obvious) company aggressively monopolising and hoovering up all the work by undercutting the established composers (thus lowering the overall pay and conditions for all involved).

 

They appear to be taking advantage of eager young composers keen to break into the industry by paying them peanuts with the lure of being the next... Lorne Balfe?

 

Oh I absolutely do still agree with that. That is a problem for sure.

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I remember when I first heard Balfe on Crysis 2 (yet another higher end video game score) and I thought, "hey here's another guy to watch." But then he went to Hollywood and blended in with the rest of the current dirge, took the pay and slotted himself in. 

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