Creative Spark: Christopher Young

Creative Spark: Christopher Young


Young:
“CREATIVITY” IS ONLY A WORD, AND IT’S OVERUSED AND MISUSED, BUT IT IS THE WORD THAT
WE’VE DECIDED DEFINES THE ACT OF GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY
ON THOSE SOUNDS IN YOUR HEAD. IF YOU DON’T HAVE THOSE SOUNDS
IN YOUR HEAD, THOSE NOTES, THEN YOU’RE KIND OF IN TROUBLE. WHEN I START ON A MOVIE, THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS,
OF COURSE, IS WATCHING THE FILM
WITHOUT TEMP MUSIC. IT ALLOWS ME TO IMMEDIATELY HAVE
MUSIC START DANCING IN MY HEAD. AND THEN SHORTLY THEREAFTER
WITH THE TEMP MUSIC PLACED IN. ALL OF US FILM COMPOSERS
SEEM TO THRIVE ON THE IDEA OF HAVING A MOVING IMAGE
GENERATE THE MUSICAL IDEAS. IF WE’RE IN THAT SPOT WHERE WE’RE HARD-PRESSED
FOR A MUSICAL IDEA, JUST RUN SOME FOOTAGE
IN FRONT OF US, EVEN IF IT’S
A TOOTHPASTE COMMERCIAL, AND WE’RE OFF AND RUNNING. SO I WILL WATCH THE FILM
A FEW TIMES, AND THEN I’LL STEP AWAY FROM IT AND I’LL WALK AROUND
FOR ABOUT 7 TO 10 DAYS AND JUST SPIT INTO THE CELLPHONE ANY MUSICAL IDEA
THAT POPS INTO MY HEAD. [email protected]! DA-DA-DO-DA-DA-DO,
DA-DA-DO-DEE-DA-DOE [email protected]! [email protected]! BRRRRRM [email protected]! IN THE COURSE OF A DAY, I CAN COME UP WITH SIX, SEVEN,
EIGHT DIFFERENT THEMATIC IDEAS. THEN AFTER THAT’S COMPLETED,
I GO BACK TO THE PICTURE AND SEE WHICH OF THESE IDEAS
ARE VALUABLE. I HAVE SOME ASSISTANTS HERE. THIS IS REALLY WHERE
THEY FIRST GET INVOLVED. THEY HELP ME BELIEVE THERE’S SOMETHING
THAT’S REALLY VALUABLE, ‘CAUSE I’M SO SELF-CRITICAL,
I’D GO, “I DON’T THINK ANY OF THESE
ARE GONNA WORK,” AND 99% OF THEM
GET FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET, BUT AT LEAST THEY’VE GOT
THE GEARS MOVING. Man: I FEEL LIKE THERE MIGHT BE
A FRIENDSHIP THEME BETWEEN MONKEY KING
AND THE MONK. Young: I’LL SUBDIVIDE THE MOVIE
INTO THEMATIC CATEGORIES AND THEN LIST ALL THE CUES THAT
ARE RELEVANT FOR THAT CATEGORY. I’LL TACKLE THE HARDEST,
MOST INVOLVED SCENE, AND THAT’S USUALLY THE CUE
THAT I WRITE FIRST. I THEN PULL OUT MY CALENDAR
AND GO, “HOW MANY DAYS DO I HAVE
TO GET ALL THIS MUSIC WRITTEN?” THAT ALLOWS YOU TO KNOW,
EXACTLY HOW MANY MINUTES DO I HAVE TO WRITE IN A DAY,
YOU KNOW? AND THAT’S THE LAW.
IT’S SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. YOU HAVE TO GET THAT DONE. THAT’S YOUR PRIMARY OBJECTIVE. YOU KNOW, WE DON’T MAKE
GREAT PARTNERS, I DON’T THINK. YOU KNOW, IF WE HAVE KIDS, WE WISH WE COULD BE THERE
WITH THEM ALL THE TIME, BUT EVEN WHEN WE’RE THERE
WITH THEM, WE’RE NOT REALLY ‘CAUSE WE’RE THINKING ABOUT,
“I GOT TO GET BACK TO WORK.” THIS LITTLE JIMINY CRICKET
WHO’S SAYING, “STOP THIS CHATTERING
WITH YOUR KIDS. GET BACK TO THE PIANO.” THE FIRST THING I’LL DO
IS WATCH A SCENE, AND I’LL TRY TO CLEAR MY HEAD
OF ANY MUSICAL THOUGHT AND THEN, IN A PRIMITIVE,
UNINTELLECTUALIZED MANNER, RESPOND TO THE SCENE
AND THINK JUST ABOUT, “WHAT IS THAT PATTERN,
THAT OSTINATO, THAT RHYTHMIC IDEA THAT’S GONNA
MAKE THIS SCENE WORK?” WHOA, WHOA, BANG! AND USUALLY WHAT I’LL DO
IS I’LL SIT AT THE PIANO AND BASH IT LIKE A LITTLE BABY. [ DISCORDANT PIANO NOTES
PLAYING ] THE BEST ACTION CUES
I’VE EVER WRITTEN HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GENERATED
BY MY INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE. IT’S HOW VISCERALLY RESPONSIVE
IT IS TO THE SCENE. [ DISCORDANT NOTES CONTINUE ] AND THEN I’M READY
TO HAVE A SCORE PREPARED. THIS IS WHERE MY ASSISTANTS
COME IN. MY ASSISTANTS BECOME MY HANDS. THEY PUT INTO THE COMPUTER
THE EXACT NOTES THAT I WANT SO THAT THESE SKETCHES — SKETCHES ARE REDUCTIONS
OF THAT MUSIC. THESE THINGS
ARE THEN PRINTED OUT, AND THEN I HAVE MY SYNTHESIST,
MY MAIN GUY MAX, HE WILL INPUT THE SKETCHES
THAT HE GETS. “THAT’S WHAT THE STRINGS
ARE DOING? GOT IT.” AND HE INPUTS, “OH, THIS IS
WITH THE BRASS? OKAY.” THEN HE PUTS IT
AND HE SHAPES IT, THEN I COME DOWN
AND LISTEN TO IT. WHAT DO YOU THINK
FILLING IN SOME? SOUNDS PRETTY QUIET TO ME. Max: YEAH,
PROBABLY THIS WHOLE SECTION COULD COME UP A LITTLE BIT. Young: WHOLE SECTION
YOU THINK CAN COME UP? WE SHAPE IT TOGETHER. THE DIRECTOR COMES OVER.
HE HEARS IT. IF THE DIRECTOR LIKES IT, THEN THE SKETCH THEN GOES OUT
TO THE ORCHESTRATOR, WHO TAKES MY SKETCH AND THEN HE BLOWS IT UP INTO
THE FULL SCORE FOR THIS ONE. [ DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS ] TO TRY TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE
SETS OUT WANTING TO DO. YOU KNOW, I LOOK AT MY SCORES, AND I KIND OF DIVIDE THEM
INTO TWO CATEGORIES. THOSE SCORES
I’M COMPLETELY ON MY OWN, AND USUALLY IN THOSE SITUATIONS, YOU’RE REALLY ABLE
TO BE CREATIVE AND DIFFERENT AND SPECIAL. THE ONES THAT HAVE TEMP MUSIC THAT YOU’RE TRYING
TO DANCE AROUND, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN’T HELP
BUT WALK AWAY FROM THE MOVIE AND GO, “I WONDER WHAT
THE SCORE MIGHT’VE BEEN IF I’D NEVER HEARD THE TEMP.” THE WEIRD THING, AS YOU KNOW,
ABOUT ANYTHING THAT’S CREATIVE IS THAT THERE ARE NO RULES. THERE’S NO DEFINITIVE
REQUIREMENTS THAT MAKE ONE BETTER
THAN THE OTHER. IT’S ALL IN THE EYE
OF THE BEHOLDER. BUT I’VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME
STUDYING MUSIC, SO I KNOW WHAT’S GOOD,
WHICH IS AVERAGE, AND WHICH IS
NOT REALLY THAT GREAT. AND I’M ALWAYS CHALLENGED,
AND I WANT TO GET BETTER. I’M STILL OBSESSIVE
ABOUT WANTING TO GET BETTER. [ MID-TEMPO DRAMATIC MUSIC
PLAYING ] YEAH.

13 thoughts on “Creative Spark: Christopher Young

  1. Thank you for continuing this amazing "creative sparks" series !

  2. More composers please.

  3. Amazing <3

  4. Love this – I had no real idea as to the specifics of the process of composing for a movie. Several take aways that apply to writing, specifically, the way he pulls out a calendar and schedules his time to meet deadlines!

  5. Amazing ,love this series.. I work as a music producer/composer and this is so inspiring to watch.. Thanks..

  6. MORE

  7. THIS. IS. SO. TRUE.

  8. Gracias a Jennifer Lawrence por ganar un Oscar a la mejor actriz del año y un ganador de un premio Oscar a Christopher Young mejor banda sonora original en musical o comedia por "Carpenter: Based on a true story"

  9. YES, music is also so patternized it helps with my textile repeats 💕

  10. This composer is a genius!
    I loved his music for Ghost rider and priest
    I love your method of composition

  11. I friggin love these type of videos! I'm amazed that he doesn't watch these films on a bigger screen so as to emulate the theater experience. Nonetheless most of Chris Young's film scores fill any theater with the most wondrous compositions.

  12. Loved the scores to Copycat, The Core, Entrapment, Virtuosity, Bat 21, Set it Off

  13. I love how he sings melodies with his Tom Waits type of voice.

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