The Digging Dragons.

Deep down in an underground city, there lives a race of dragons called Tryoodastians who enjoy tunneling and mining gems. They aren’t scary dragons, they are actually very cute and quite likable. When they get attacked by evil bugganoid creatures, someone has to step up to do something….. and I get to write background music!

Tryoodastians

(The sketch of the main characters)

I mentioned in my previous post that I would be working on an animated film by Josh Grinlinton  called Tamarack. I started this blog with a brief description of the animated short, and now I’m gonna tell you a bit more about my part in the film, as it is a bit more involved this time around!

My previous two films have either had a specific sound that the director wanted, or they didn’t warrant anything more than a few instruments simply because the film took place in a small world. Tamarack will allow me to expand my sound to a string orchestra with a full percussion part and flute. The film will be an animated short, but I still feel like I can carefully use the larger sound without making the audience expect something feature length.

For the strings, I will be using East West’s Symphonic Orchestra Gold. I am getting pretty dang good at making sample library strings sound good, but for Tamarack I will take it to the next level. I am going have Eli Hougland play both the violin and viola parts. I will then mix her recording in with the string library to make it sound about as real as it can get without multiple real players. Naturally, I will also mix in my own cello playing to help realize the cello section. Bass will probably stay sampled. Poor bass. Oh well, they can get over it.

For the flute, I am going to bring in  Hillary Rowley-Weiss to play all the flute lines and possibly a bit of piccolo. It will be a solo flute part, so no flute libraries will be needed! I am thinking the flute will act as a sort of leitmotif for the main characters of the film. Warm, low flute lines will be utilized to try to reinforce the feeling of comfort and safety in the close-knit society the Tryoodastians have. When the bugganoids attack the city, the flute will be taken out of this comfort zone with shrill overblowing and jagged rhythmic patterns dominating the music.

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(Grinlinton’s completed model for the bugganoids, called Iibrexians)

As far as percussion goes, I am throwing the idea around to record all the percussion parts with Morgan Greenwood. The only problem that arises with that is a decent space in which to record. It is a possibility to bring some of my sound panels into UMKC’s percussion studio along carefully placed mics. If that idea doesn’t work, my percussion sample libraries are really amazing. Maybe someone reading this has any ideas? John Chittum? Either way, I use East West’s Storm Drum, Ra, Gypsy, and Orchestra Gold. So if worst comes to worst, I use amazing sampled drum parts. So far, the percussion instruments I am calling for are glockenspiel, marimba, vibraphone, bass drum, various sizes of toms, cymbals, triangle, shakers… it is a full section. In my sketches, I have used pretty much all the standard issue percussion I can think of. the percussion will complement the strings in a way that allows convincing climactic arcs and an all around full sound without needing brass or a full wind section. Full winds would be a bit too big for this production.

Brian Denmark and I will be creating all the sound for the film. Our goal is to give the film complete foley. Initially, Grinlinton had plans to have minimal sound design and mostly focus on music, but Brian and I think we can bring this baby to life.

We have already recorded things like crushing garlic, food mixers, singing bowls, pot lids, and a rubber band. When I go to Joplin the weekend of Spring break, I plan on going out to a couple small caves I know about. I have plans to record different types of walking, jumping, and stomping around and to get an all around familiarity for cave ambience. Heck, I know how to get ahold of a pickaxe in Joplin so I could even bang it around in a cave and get some mining sounds. If anyone has any further suggestions, hit me up!

So all in all, I am weirdly excited about this film. I am super passionate about writing music for film professionally one day, so I take every opportunity to make damn good work whenever I can. I will be posting various foley and music samples on soundcloud as Brian and I record and refine them.

To keep up with Grinlinton’s side of things, follow the film’s tumblr here.

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