By Julie Fortin
Class of 2010
We’ve all heard the musical scores in Hollywood’s blockbusters, and this year, the annual Walpole High School Film Festival is lessening the gap between Hollywood and Walpole in the production of completely original music for each film.
This year, in the 7th Annual Film Festival, a group of students – Earle Donahue, Eric Garr, and Chris Donovan – is designated to compose original, non-copyrighting music and scores for each of the nine films in the festival, and seven short films. There is a small group of students designated to produce music for the films, each movie having their own producer. In order to produce these scores, Mr. Alan has installed software on the computers called Soundtrack Pro, while Earle also “play[s] around with software called Fruity Loops” at home, says Earle. Additionally, the students use the software Logic Pro.
Production of a score usually begin after the editing on a scene is finished. The producers will try to “get ideas from any sort of footage, or even the script,” says senior Eric Garr, but utimatley, the edited scene is essential in the song’s success. After the scene is constructed in the way the director envisioned it, using the director’s ‘vision,’ then music may be added. The director’s ‘vision’ is a constant reference in Film class, and reflects the director’s mental vision of the finished movie, and is necessary to the completion of the movie. With the near-finished product, instead of just a vague idea of what’s needed, the musicians begin hammering away at songs. “The actual composing [of the song] is not too difficult,” says senior Eric Garr;nontheless, time still proves to be an issue. These scores usually take an extremely long time to finish because “certain sounds must line up perfect with the characters’ actions in order to effectively set the scene’s mood,” says Earle. For example, in one of the scenes, Earle had to watch and time his music by a character’s reaction to a myriad of boys circling around her. Without the proper timeline, the scene would not have the same effect the directors wanted. By composing the song to a director’s edited sequence, the music will ultimately complete the director’s ‘vision.’
Despite the endless amounts of time and effort spent on each song (Earle spent an accumulated seven to eight hours making the one minute long song for Prom Date’s opening), the music producers can still create a wide variety of beats and songs. Some are even like “the songs they play in elevators,” Chris says. Eric Garr, another one of the music producers, admits that “all music is relative,” and uknowingly borrows aspects of songs from other artists. Chris Donovan agrees, saying, “I have these tunes in my head, and I’m sure some of them are bounced out into the muisc I make.” For one of his movies, Earle is making music with a “poppy, techno theme,” in which he uses “dance beats, synthesizers, and electric pianos to make some phunky techno beatz.” As of right now, there are only limited vocals in this year’s movies, as Maltese Faulker’s scenes include singing by actors, and Eric Garr is incorporating songs by a local band, Bite the Bullet. As the deadline approaches, this year’s festival is more stressful due to the added pressure of completing songs on time, so Mr. Alan says he’s “hoping to make music its own year-long element of the Film Festival” in order to avoid all of the last-minute scrambling. With aspects of the Film Festival always expanding, this year’s festival and festivals to come are bound to continue to get better.
Although this process may seem tedious and unnecessary – as the Festival has been successful without it for six years – this new feat comes as a challenge for Film students, gets more students of different interests involved in the popular class, and allows students, if they wish, to enter their movies into international festivals. Earle recognizes the challenges of his new job in the Festival, but is grateful for this new “test of [his] musical abilities.” With the talented student producers, combined with the skills of the directors and crews, the Seventh Annual Film Festival will no doubt be impressive, and continue to draw in crowds from the Walpole High School community and beyond.