That made me wonder: how does the music for a series come to be? And of course I had to go and find out, so I tracked down one of the people that was credited with the music on our object of affection: Royce Craven. Being the nice guy he is, he agreed to a little interview and all my questions got answered. Spoiler: I was right about Elly's theme! Oh, and Royce built a plane; I just had to find out more about that while I was at it.
Royce is co-credited for the music on COTB with Bryan Patterson. Other than a great composer (I think we can all agree on that), Royce is a software developer (hey.. we have something in common!) and is currently working on cool software for music production. Check out his website at www.bwalk.com.au or read the interview where he explains a bit more on what he does nowadays.
I was born in Victoria in Australia in the 1950s and have lived with my partner and her daughter since 1983.
In the 1980s, like actors, you needed to either have an agent or be a performing musician around the local scene (and be seen) and network with anyone involved with the industry.
The producer, Jenny Hooks, and all the directors knew what they wanted, but after spotting where the music should go, left most of the other details to us. This is often the way you work in TV and as you are usually one the last people to work on the show there is great pressure to quickly get the job done.
After an episode is edited, usually the director, producer and composers sit though a viewing (or two, or three....) and work out how the music is to work. That is, is the music a link to an earlier episode or is there some danger or drama unfolding or perhaps underscoring is needed for a new character?
The episodes are done in a staggered parallel way. That is, while we were composing for one episode, another episode would be being edited and another would be being filmed etc. The cast works on a new episode with a different director as the previous episode's director continues on with the editors, then with us and so on with all the crew from the different processes involved in a drama production.
Music, generally, is built with a contrast between the new and the familiar. There is a careful balance though, as it quickly becomes boring if it is always familiar, but distracting if it is all too new.
Only for us to help with the process.
The ABC has all the master recordings (or perhaps they lie in landfill somewhere) and own the distribution rights when associated with the production.
This music was written in 1988, so you only have to wait another 37 years [until copyright expires] and you can do whatever you want with the music. 8 )
We continued to score TV documentaries etc for some time, but Bryan, being the brilliant person that he is, is also a gifted writer and journalist and concentrated more on that. He continued to write and released some orchestral CDs under various names, that I engineered and mixed. Now, after retiring from journalism, he is back composing with an old friend of ours.
You might need to check on that.
Photo by unknown photographer. Provided by Royce Craven. Used with permission.
When I am engaged in composition, I am sometimes slowed down with the sound design process. That involves mainly programming the synth and effects needed for the piece. I rarely use the patches that come with the instruments, so it can take a long time to get the sounds I want.
To speed up this process, I have developed a few software editors for synthesizers and software for real time manipulation of sound. As these applications usually take a lot of time to develop, I feel it is a bit of a waste if it is only to be used for my work, so I often make it available on my website. www.bwalk.com.au
Well there you have it! I don't know about you, but I learned a lot from this interview. Make sure to visit Royce' website when you get a chance and drop him a line on his forum if you like!
Now, if I could just learn to play an instrument...
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