Community Spotlight with Christopher Rinaman, Film Composer, Orchestrator

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Community Spotlight with Christopher Rinaman
Film Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Trombonist


Christopher RinamanWork and Current Projects:

Early in my career, I was interested in jazz arranging and writing for large ensembles. That led me into wanting to compose for films, and I had the chance to work as an assistant to Howard Shore for a time, which was an amazing learning experience. Currently, I’ve been working on an indie film called, “A Father’s Diary”, with a talented director from Bangladesh who lives in Toronto. I’ve also been writing a lot of orchestral music for several production music libraries, which I really enjoy. And because of the pandemic, I just recently arranged and mixed a few of the “socially-distanced” orchestra videos that many organizations have been doing in lieu of concerts this year.

Creative Process Composing for Feature Films, TV, and Working with Independent Filmmakers:

My experience as a composer has mostly been with independent filmmakers but, having been a part of feature films as an assistant, I was able to see that the process is generally the same— there are just many more moving parts with larger productions. The main goal is always to work with the filmmakers to create music that is a part of the film and serves the purpose of telling the story of the film. That is really what any music for media— film, TV , or commercials— is there for.

Film Composing Challenge and Solution:

Every film has its own challenges, which is part of what is so fun and enticing about composing for film. I’ve done a few student films, and I love working with student filmmakers. Sometimes the challenges in those projects can be tiny budgets or technical problems with the film, or lack of actors! On one student film I collaborated on, I played a small, non-speaking part in the film, and I am definitely not an actor!  But often these projects have a ton of creativity and are really fun to work on.

Top 3 Tips for Aspiring Directors on Workflow and Collaborating with Film Composers:

(#1.) Think about the purpose of the score and what the music is going to add to the film. A film score shouldn’t be just tossed on top in post because you think every film should have one— it should have a voice and add something to the film.

(#2.) Temp scores are used everywhere, and often I like to know what the director is thinking by picking a certain piece for the temp score, but give your composer the space to be creative and accomplish the feeling of the temp, without being constricted by having to “sound-like” the temp score.

(#3.) When giving notes, I love when a director says, “this isn’t working because…”, or “we’re not getting the feeling of ….” rather than just, “I don’t like the oboe.” Specifics can be helpful but talking about what the score should accomplish and how it’s not there yet, is really what helps me to find the musical  voice for a film.

Christopher Rinaman



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