Making Music for Film - Part 1

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During a series of posts, I’m going to discuss how I created music and sound design for an Australian feature film called EXIT (www.exit-movie.com). It appeared at film festivals such as the London Sci-Fi Film Festival and Montreal Fantasia Film Festival and is currently available on iTunes.
 
The story is about a group of people (called the “believers”) who believe that the city is a maze containing a lost door to another world. It focuses specifically on Alice, as she nears the end of her search and works to get the key to that final door. She meets and interacts with a number of believers who have their own methods for searching for the EXIT.
 
Now, my introduction to the film’s director, came about via Kevin Karlberg. I have played live (as Viridian) at many of Kevin’s parties such as War of The Worlds and Signal and we are both members of the Stable Music crew (www.stablemusic.com.au). He knew a film director, Marek Polgar, who needed a composer to tweak the music in one of the scenes of a short film and connected Marek to me.
 
Once we were initially introduced, Marek and I had a meeting to discuss the requirements of the scene. What started off as an analysis of the scene’s musical requirements evolved into discussions about electronic music as a sonic landscape, classic Melbourne techno parties and musical references such as the techno of Surgeon and the glitch of Autechre. Out of that meeting, I sent Marek an initial score to the scene, which he confirmed sounded like a good direction for the scene. We had further meetings to refine the concepts and musical content of the scene and I contributed additional music to the short film.
 
After the completion of the short film, we continued to have sporadic meetings and discussions about sound and its purposes within the soundtrack of a film.
 
Throughout this period, Marek commenced development of the EXIT feature film. Our more general discussions naturally evolved into more concrete observations about how sound could be used to portray the concepts and themes of EXIT.
 
We watched and listened to a lot of films and music and gradually agreed on a direction for the sound of EXIT, which eventually referenced films such as Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park and Gerry, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. It was also heavily influenced by artists such as Ben Frost and Ethan Rose and labels like Home Normal and Resting Bell.
 
Marek wanted a constant aural atmosphere throughout the film. To achieve this, a combination of music and textural sound was used. We tried to envelope the viewer in a constant field of sound within the EXIT world and use musical themes as plot “signposts”.
 
Through out future posts, I’ll look at scenes from the film and how the sound for them was conceived, composed and produced. Here’s a snapshot of scenes from the film: 

Comments

Peter says:

Is the soundtrack available on its own?

shaun.keyt says:

Hi Peter,
Sorry, there's currently no soundtrack release.

Klaus says:

Rad, nice write up!

mike.callander says:

Great work, Shaun!

Co-founder and Ableton Certified Trainer at School of Synthesis. DJ and live on the weekends. 

shaun.keyt says:

Thanks Mike !