Filmmakers Global Network ::
Community Spotlight with Mike Hall
Sound Designer, Composer, Engineer, Producer
Most of my work is composing scores and sound design for film however with the world dealing with COVID-19 most of the film industry has been at a standstill so the last several months. I have been doing sound design for gaming projects as well as a lot of record producing work sort of going back to my roots of working with music. I mix and master albums as well as do guest guitar or vocal work for other artists. Currently I am working on some music for an upcoming tv pilot as well as arranging music for a record for an artist from Brazil.
Creative Process for Film Composing:
Each project can be different, and you have to be open to how various directors work. Most usually they will send me a screen play and that will give me a feel for the amount of music or styles of music needed though generally I can pretty much get a feel for the music in my head at my first meeting with the director as they are describing the overall story to me. From there I will create and send samples to the director to give them a sturdy idea of creatively what I’m thinking. If there is a difference in ideas it should be settled as soon as possible. Often times they will send scenes as they create them and then there are times where I will send all the music and they will edit the pieces as they see fit and I will never actually see a scene until the final edit…and there have also been times especially with overseas projects where I will never see the final project. I am simply a contractor supplying the music. Either way, when working in film you have to always remember you are one small piece of the massive work and collaboration of talented artists who bring the film to life.
Challenge & Solution:
Oh you know there are always those hang on tight moments to projects….Usually what comes to mind there are always those last minute sounds they needed yesterday so can you have it to them within the hour type of things….Usually it is a sound design issue….We need this particular sound….sometimes easy…like a car door slamming or gun shots but sometimes like game designers will need a sound for a particular monster or creature of some kind and they send you a picture and you need to figure out what might they sound like if they were real. It’s fun if you have time to experiment and be creative….not so fun if you need to come up with something right at this moment.
3 Film Composing Tips:
I would say the absolutely number one thing which I touched on is learning to be as fluid as you can when working with others. This goes for any career you are in….The easier you are to work with the more others will want to work with you. People like directors tend to stick with those who they know they can easily work with. You may not even be that talented yet in what you do but if people feel comfortable in working with you and they can always rely on you they will keep having you come back. No matter how good you are or how many college degrees you have…if you can’t get along with others you’ll never hold a job. Another thing I would say is really listen to the director to their ideas…..get as much information about what it is they are looking for right from the beginning because what this is really doing is helping yourself and saving yourself a massive amount of work and headaches later….and also when others see you listening and caring about what it is that they have to say will tell them you are very interested and respectful of the project…..again, in turn if they see that you care and are genuine about the work they do they’ll feel comfortable working with you and keep hiring you back as their composer. Finally, I would say this fits with whatever you do. Find inspiration in the work that you do. Don’t take on a project just because it’s a paying gig. If you’re not into it you won’t do your best work. Be true to yourself and only work on projects which inspire and have meaning you. In return, the work will have meaning to you.