Don Davis on Scoring Jurassic Park III

An Interview with Don Davis and Joe Johnson by Rudy Koppl
Originally published in Soundtrack Magazine Vol.20/No.78/2001
Text reproduced by kind permission of the editor, Luc Van de Ven and Rudy Koppl

Don DavisWelcome to JURASSIC PARK 3, the third film in a series created by Steven Spielberg, which is now carried on through his storyline by director Joe Johnston. The structure of this film is similar to its predecessors, but now the dinosaurs look meaner, especially with the addition of the evil Spinosaurus with its long jaw and razor sharp teeth, the variety of dinosaurs is staggering, the element of fear continues to be taken up a few notches, everyday characters that we can all relate to solidify the drama, and a new breed of composer takes the podium in the footsteps of film scoring giant John Williams. Composer Don Davis, who’s known for scoring the mega blockbuster THE MATRIX, has brought his orchestral talents to a medium that requires a certain musical sophistication. Davis, still being sensitive and totally respectful to Williams’ themes, has taken root in the tone for the original films, but, with his own clever wit, has symphonically turned many cues into progressions of wild scenarios that are highly original and demanding for any orchestra to play. For instance, the action cues aren’t merely high strung symphonic movements, but technically intricate compositions that cleverly play inside the subtext of the film to make it amplify its reality, a scary thought, but film scoring at its best. As Davis put it, “Williams’ style is deceptively simple; there is an inevitability to it.” And as you hear it, Davis’s style is loyal to the maestro whose music to JURASSIC PARK is legendary and a trademark in this genre.

It’s Tuesday May 15th and the second day of scoring for the upcoming summer release of Universal Pictures’ JURASSIC PARK 3. Composer Don Davis takes the podium at 10 a.m. to start practicing ‘2M3’, the first cue of the day – ‘Cooper’s Last Stand’ (2:43). Davis slowly constructs the cue by rehearsing the orchestra one section at a time, just like putting together the pieces of a puzzle that lead up to its final result. When he reaches the string section, specifically the violins, Don briefly comments on the intricate performance he needs from the players. As their bows are placed on their instruments, the challenge begins. The part Davis wrote wasn’t your normal scoring fare; it was way beyond the boundaries of traditional scoring. As the film’s characters head towards the jungle, all of a sudden all hell breaks loose as they flee towards their airplane waiting for them nearby. Their plane attempts to take off down a primitive runway, while another character, left behind on the island, runs towards the runway waving his hands in a last desperate attempt to have the plane stop and take him with them. Just as the plane is about to fly over him, a Tyrannosaurus Rex surges out of the jungle to grasp the man as the plane sideswipes the monster and then goes crashing into the jungle. What started out as an exercise in scoring a motion picture turns out to be a test of musical ability and endurance. The string parts of this cue are so fast, intricate, and rhythmically challenging that even a few passes can wear a trained musician down easily. The French horns are playing in such a high register that this cue turns into a physically demanding exercise.

This is happening during the first hour of a long day and it was obvious that this took a lot out of the performers. All through this session Don kept the players’ spirits high by communicating with them from the podium and constantly telling jokes or just simply by having fun and kidding around, he was loosening everyone up and they were loving it. They worked so hard through the day that by around 4 p.m. sheer exhaustion set in. It was a relief when the musicians finally finished their last cue of the day, a deeply emotional moment in the film with Tea Leoni and William H. Macy.

Two weeks had passed as I found my way back to the Newman Scoring Stage for the last day of orchestral scoring on Tuesday May 29th. It was 2 p.m. and Don’s rehearsals in orchestral intricacy began again. For the whole first hour Davis rehearsed the players, section by section, getting each nuance in every section just the way he wanted it. It was this cue, ‘4M2’ – ‘Tiny Pecking Pterosaurs,’ (3:18) – where every player was put to the test again. This is a scene where Sam Neill, Tea Leoni, and Trevor Morgan are on a cage-like bridge in a foggy environment; all of a sudden Neill looks up and says, “Oh my God, it’s a nest.” Out of the fog comes the giant mother Pteranodon lunging forward to grab the boy (Trevor Morgan) with its claws and flies away with him towards its nest full of hungry babies. At this moment actor Alessandro Nivola decides to jump off a nearby platform, overlooking a narrow valley and the nest, and parachutes to rescue Morgan from the infant Pterosaurs. After the mother drops Morgan into its hungry nest of children, he beats them off and runs for it as Alessandro is flying towards him with the parachute. At exactly the right moment Morgan jumps as Alessandro flies by to catch him, but eventually he drops Morgan into the water below. Then the mother Pteranodon attacks the others on the bridge, which breaks as they all fall into the water below. After performing this big cue two or three times, the exhausted players were finally finished. This cue emerged as one of the highlights of Davis’s ferocious score, and we could sense the overwhelming acceptance from director Joe Johnston when it was done, apparent to him that Don had given him the score of a lifetime.

On Monday June the 4th I travelled to Don’s studio in Calabasas, Calif. It’s a stunning location overlooking lush green valleys and a range of small mountains. As I drove into his driveway I realized that Don is not your everyday composer, his scoring sensibilities are completely original and highly sophisticated. If you ever have the pleasure of experiencing OSAKA, you get a spectacular orchestral score that’s in the tradition of the great John Williams, and when you hear JURASSIC PARK 3, you will know why Don was hired to score it. Davis offers an original way at approaching a film genre that’s in its third incarnation while preserving its musical identity from the past. The action cues are mesmerizing, the emotional heartfelt moments will stir you, and his apocalyptic orchestral creations, combined with the ideas of John Williams, will emotionally energize you. I sat down with Don to discuss how he got the opportunity to score JURASSIC PARK 3, his creative affair with the film music of John Williams, and his working relationship with Director Joe Johnston.

COMPOSER DON DAVIS

 Don Davis (Session Photography by Rudy Koppl)

How did you get the job to score JURASSIC PARK 3?
Essentially, I believe, John Williams was approached to do the score and it was very clear that he wasn’t available because he was scoring A.I. for Steven Spielberg, who is also producing this movie. John wanted to find someone who would be respectful to his themes and carryon the tradition that he had established in the other two without taking it on some weird exponential journey. He and (his agent) Mike Gorfaine discussed it, my name came up, John was satisfied with that, so he took it to Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy.

Is this your next major step in film scoring since THE MATRIX?
Absolutely! It was an established franchise, so it’s pretty certain to everyone that it’s going to be successful, but it’s also a really good film. It’s exciting working with that level of CGI animation and Joe Johnston is a director I’ve admired for some time. I’ve wanted to work with him ever since I saw HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS. The opportunity to work with Williams’ themes, within the boundaries that we tend to understand as John Williams’ style, is something that I’ve always wanted to do.

Did you have a lot to live up to, since John Williams scored the first two JURASSIC PARK films?
It was totally clear to me that what I was going to do on this movie was going to be compared to what Williams had done, and that’s a very daunting situation. In terms of making it my own, I didn’t really set out to put my own stamp on it. I was content with the concept that if I made Spielberg happy, Kathleen happy, and Larry and Joe happy, then I would have more than accomplished what I set out to do. As film composers, by necessity, we’re all dealers in style. We all have to be resilient enough to write in whatever style is required of us. The concept of accommodating the style of a composer like John Williams isn’t something that we’re not accustomed to. More aptly, the concept of not putting our own personal stamp on something is something that a film composer is often called upon to do.

What direction is your scoring style headed in, it seems like your writing is more intricate or technical in JURASSIC PARK 3?
In terms of the intricateness of the parts, if you’re going to analyze the style of John Williams or what John Williams has established as being a John Williams situation, I think the most notable thing is the intricate nature of all the parts. If I’m going to try to do something in that legacy, it had better be intricate, or else what’s the point? If it comes down to my style though, if I’m going to put my finger on one particular thing that I think is my style and I can extrapolate on, it would be THE MATRIX score. This has elements of the kind of minimalism I’d been thinking about doing in film for some time. Minimalism and John Williams are about as far apart as you can get. Once I established my style in THE MATRIX, I think that it’s a style I can expand upon in the sequels, but it’s not something that’s going to work in any other movie. Once you’ve established a style, you kind of negate it, right out the gate.

How did you first meet director Joe Johnston, and what was your impression of him?
I first met him on the set of JURASSIC PARK 3. This was at Universal Studios, Stage 12. I met and spoke with Joe a bit, but he was in his working mode, he was directing and had his hands full, I didn’t feel like I could take up much of his attention at that point. Spielberg came to the set that day, so that had Joe preoccupied as well. I did have a brief meeting with Steven and we talked about where the themes would go, how they would be used, and things like that.

Was Spielberg concerned with your respect for Williams’ score?
Yes, that was his basic concern. He wanted the legacy to continue in this film. I felt that he didn’t want something new and different to be thrust upon this film. He felt strongly that the themes should be used in certain instances, although he noted that on THE LOST WORLD Williams really didn’t use very much of the JURASSIC PARK theme, it only showed up in a couple of spots. For the most part THE LOST WORLD was entirely a new score. Still, we both felt that Williams’ themes should be used at least in certain instances.

What was the initial inspiration that opened the door to your score?
Once I was approached for this project, I immersed myself in the scores for both THE LOST WORLD and JURASSIC PARK. John Williams was kind enough to make the sketches for the other two movies available to me, so I went through them pretty carefully. My inspiration was actually to have this opportunity to write in that style. In this case it was in the polytonal style of Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

In the first steps of establishing the tone for Joe’s film, what did you do?
In the terms of choosing which parts of the picture to begin with, when we spotted there were several scenes that were incomplete and a few scenes were going to be re-shot. The opening for example, at that point they had planned to shoot a whole new sequence. In particular, when the airplane crashes on the island, they had some miniature shots that were still needed to be put in. The CGI in general was in its early form, so I went through the picture and chose spots that did not involve much in the way of CGI or any of these sequences that needed to be re-shot. The first scene I scored was the second scene in the movie that had music; this took place in Ellie’s (the Laura Dern character’s) house. Dr. Grant was there and they started to talk about Raptors, they reminisce about their experience in JURASSIC PARK, that was the first scene.

When it came to the ‘Opening Title’, you didn’t even score that until the last day of your scoring sessions?
That was the last scene I scored because they kept working on it. They added this footprint effect, this kind of rippling on top of the title. I really didn’t know where that rippling was going to be until after I wrote the cue, so I had to change it. After I’d written the cue I got an update of the scene and the ripples were in a different place.

What was required of you when mocking up this score?
I made the case with Joe that I didn’t think John Williams did mockups, so I didn’t really feel that I would be able to do mockups. If I’m expected to create a sound that approaches what John Williams does, I think my working method should be somewhat like John Williams. I really didn’t see how I could put that level of intricacy into the score and still plug it into the synthesizers and take the time to play it for the producers, for Joe, take notes, and do them again. I just didn’t see how I would possibly have time to do that in the course of this process. Joe agreed with me, so I was able to mock up the first four or five cues that I did. Joe and Robert Dalva, the film editor, came out to listen to them, we discussed them for a bit, and Joe was fine with not hearing the rest of the music before we went to the scoring stage. My scores were put into “Performer”, but it took a full day for Larry Mah and I to mix them so they sounded well with my gear. Then it took another day of my time to play it for Joe and Robert, essentially I lost two full days of writing for eight minutes of score that was mocked up. However, a film like OCTOBER SKY lends itself to being mocked up, playing the cues, and discussing every cu e, so it really depends on the style of the picture.

How did you deal with temp tracks in this film?
The film was completely temped with THE LOST WORLD and JURASSIC PARK, so the temp in this case was very apt in something that I could draw upon in terms of how it worked with the picture, the level of intricacy, the level of darkness, or the feeling of what was going on. In this case the temp was completely helpful. There were situations where they had full out John Williams’ theme and that’s what I did. There are always instances in the temp where it just doesn’t work because it wasn’t tailored for that scene, so there are certain instances where I disregarded the temp. When they did a temp mix for a screening for the Universal executives, they dropped some of the temp because it just wasn’t working. In some instances I went in a different direction that the temp did, but I didn’t go in a different direction than I thought John Williams might.

How many of John Williams’ themes did you use and how often were they used in the score?
Essentially there were four themes. There are two JURASSIC PARK themes – the Main Theme is the one that first appeared in JURASSIC PARK as they were entering the main gate, that rising fifth motif. The other one is a little bit more noble and majestic, this first showed up in JURASSIC PARK when the brachiosaurs were performing their tricks for Ellie and Dr. Grant. They really weren’t expecting to see dinosaurs. In this instance I used the Main Theme, or the one entering the gate, to denote something more general about the JURASSIC PARK idea.
There’s a scene in which the plane carrying Dr. Grant and the Kirbys flies over a meadow where the Brachiosaurs and other dinosaurs are grazing. That seemed to be the perfect place for the first JURASSIC PARK theme, the rising fifth motif to portray the glory of these beasts that were brought back to life. The second theme, the more noble theme, I used around the Dr. Grant character. I was trying to portray his nobility through that theme. There was a similar situation where a boat in which everyone was riding goes by a bank and the Brachiosaurs are displayed in their full glory on the bank, that seemed like a perfect moment for the nobility of the second theme to come in. Williams also had some material for the raptors and some material for the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Rex’s material was a fairly simple theme in various forms, while for the raptors, it seemed very fitting to me that Williams had a motif for muted trombones to denote the Raptors which involved the sliding of trombones. It was extremely apt for that situation, so both of those themes I used to a certain extent, when those particular monsters were portrayed on the screen.

Other than the four themes that you used from John Williams, would you explain the rest of your score?
There were two situations that I added to. There’s a new monster called the Spinosaurus that has a prominent feature in this film. This dinosaur is a part of the fossil record and is actually larger than the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and more definitely a predator. There was some dispute about the Tyrannosaurus Rex, whether it was a predator or a scavenger, but the Spinosaurus is clearly a predator and being bigger, it seemed destined for the movies. It required a new theme; I actually derived a theme from one in JURASSIC PARK. It was a pair of rising fifths, and I figured if those were diminished to tri-tones, it would make a fitting theme for this new monster. Also, there are new characters in this movie like the Kirbys and their son. I had a full theme for them that I was able to expand on every time there was some discussion or some reminiscence about what their family was.

Were a lot of your action cues orchestrally demanding to perform?
They’re hard to write, too. John Williams’ music is demanding – it’s not written for amateurs, that’s for sure. When you’re faced with chase after chase of monsters eating people, when you think about it, the reason that these movies are successful is because there is a fundamental human fear of being eaten by a big monster. In order to call those kinds of feelings in a musical setting, a composer has to look to the extremes of every instrument, and looking at the extremes of every instrument you’re calling on the performers to push the envelope. I relied very heavily on the French horns in a high register and it was difficult to perform this music because it’s precarious. It’s a precarious instrument, it’s difficult to play, and it’s difficult to play in that register, but the panic that’s evinced in the music by utilizing the range of that instrument, you just can’t get that any other way. The strings were pushing just as hard, but what it came down to was a demanding performance from all the instruments.

Does orchestrating and composing a film like this take a toll on you physically and mentally?
As far as orchestrating myself is concerned, I tend to do that anyway. I don’t really like to sketch because I get frustrated at having to crunch so much music into eight lines or something. Action music is going to have a lot of notes, it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be colorful, it’s going to be a bigger orchestra, it’s going to demand a lot more out of a composer. Frankly I don’t know how John Williams manages to get all that stuff in the sketches that he does. I would be very uncomfortable at trying to cram all that music in there. The act of composing for me is the act of orchestrating, it’s really not different.

Joe seemed like he let you run with it when composing here. Is that the type of faith he had in you?
He did, absolutely. He did give me a lot of freedom here. He certainly didn’t micromanage the score and I really appreciated that. I can’t imagine a better working relationship than I had with Joe Johnston on this film.

What did you learn by working with Joe Johnston?
Joe is a very meticulous filmmaker; he knows precisely what he wants. He doesn’t waiver in that decision. For me, working with any director is a matter of discovering what the director wants the film to express and therefore the film music to express. Joe’s confidence and his honesty told me what he was looking for in the film, that was very enlightening for me.

What did you learn by scoring JURASSIC PARK 3?
Looking at John Williams’ sketches became incredibly enlightening – just to discover the way John Williams will turn a phrase, the way he handles counterpoint and orchestration is really impeccable. His melodies are brilliant, but what’s really striking is the way he accompanies his melodies. It’s always inventive, colorful, and he really can increase the memorableness of the melodies exponentially. That’s really what I tried to absorb from his music when learning here.

What are your future plans?
I’m going to sleep for a long time. They are shooting THE MATRIX sequels now, but it will be sometime before I get to look at the footage. So please wake me up when that’s ready!

DIRECTOR JOE JOHNSTON

Don Davis and Director Joe JohnstonDon Davis and Director Joe Johnston (Session Photography by Rudy Koppl)When I first met director Joe Johnston at Don Davis’s studio, it was very surreal since he didn’t come across like a director at all. Johnston is a fascinating person, your everyday guy, friendly, warm, personable, and great to talk to. You can’t even tell he’s been directing major motion pictures since his first film, HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS, in 1989. Since then he’s directed one episode from the television series THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, the television film THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG INDIANA JONES: SPRING BREAK ADVENTURE, and three features including THE ROCKETEER, JUMANJI, and OCTOBER SKY. Before this, Joe was the Effects Illustrator and Designer for STAR WARS and the Art Director of Visual Effects at ILM for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI. Johnston also was the aerial sequence designer for miniatures in the Spielberg film ALWAYS, and was the designer of the 1999 animated feature IRON GIANT.

Joe’s relationships with both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have led him up this moment as JURASSIC PARK 3 becomes the next step in Johnston’s career. Joe had a challenge, after all he was following in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg, but he knew exactly what he had to do to make it work, “You have to ratchet up the terror a little, especially when you get into the second sequel. You have to promise the audience that you’re going to take it one more step and then you have to deliver.” In a summer filled with action I adventure-packed blockbusters, it’s a director’s challenge to make a film like JURASSIC PARK 3 different than the current everyday summer film fare that’s out there and Johnston knew exactly how to pull it off, “The difference is that you have to have a set of characters that you actually like. They are characters you can relate to and understand because they’re like you and me. It’s about what you get when you take ordinary people and you put them in extraordinary situations and they have to survive. The dinosaurs are going to scare, excite, thrill, and please everyone, but there’s also a story about a family here that hopefully we’ll all relate to.”

After the scoring sessions were finished, I was anxious to talk to Joe Johnston considering his cinematic accomplishments and the wonderful relationship he had with composer Don Davis.

How did you get into directing films?
I can’t say that it was always a dream of mine; I didn’t grow up wanting to be a film director. I had a whole career as a product designer, I had a whole career as a scenic artist, I had another career as a graphic designer, and a very brief one as an illustrator. I began to understand that I knew how to put some of these elements together, I could draw them so that they made sense, so that the camera told the story, because I think that’s what it’s all about. George Lucas, who I was working for at the time, understood that I knew how to do it and he started giving me second unit directing jobs on some low budget television movies to start with, that’s really where I learned how to do it.

What events led up to you taking over the director’s chair from Steven Spielberg for JURASSIC PARK 3?
Steven called me on the phone and said, “Would you like to direct JURASSIC PARK 3?”, and I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Okay, come in next Tuesday and we’ll talk about it.” (Laughter) At this time Steven was getting ready to do A.I. and he felt it was time for another JURASSIC PARK to get underway. He said, “I’ve done two of them and they can be a lot of fun and they’re a lot of work, but I have other things on my plate right now.” After JURASSIC PARK I even offered to do the sequel if he had decided not to do it, so I had sort of thrown my name into the hat.

Did you think you had a lot to live up to since this idea was created and brought to life by Spielberg?
I wanted the film to be a sequel of the other two. I wanted it to be part of the franchise, I never intended to go off and make something that would not be perceived as a film in the series, but I think f put a lot more pressure on myself than anybody else did. Making films is about the hardest thing you can do. The only way to do it is to give it everything you can. Maybe it’s that horrible Protestant work ethic of mine. I’m very selective about the things I do, I have to be able to read the script and see it. If I can’t see it and if it doesn’t entertain me on the first read, I pass on it. Life is too short to spend two years of your life on something that you cannot stand to get out of bed and go to work on every day.

How did you meet Don and discover his music?
I listened to three of Don’s scores and I definitely remember THE MATRIX. This was after I met him, because one of the first times I met Don, other than on the set, was with John Williams together in our editing trailer. We showed them a few sequences and then the next time I talked to Don, he came in alone. When I met Don he came across as very intelligent, I was totally confident in him.

How did you want Don to deal with the temp tracks in your film?
We temped most all of the film with John Williams’ score to THE LOST WORLD. It was just natural to temp it with these great two soundtracks from the other films. Williams’ music says JURASSIC PARK so clearly, it reminds people instantly of the first two movies. Now there’s this thing that happens between director and composers called “temp love.” When you listen to your temp score over and over and over again, you fall in love with it. Then you get on the scoring stage and the composer plays “2M3” and you hear it for the first time and go, “Oh God, I like my temp score better.” That always happens. Composers hate it, obviously, as well as they should. After you listen to the music a few times you start thinking, “That works pretty well.” Then, after you’ve heard it six or eight times, you never want to hear the temp score again. You’ve fallen in love with the music and it works for all the right reasons. I never heard a Don Davis composition and thought, “Gee, I like what we had before.” It’s the first time that’s ever happened to me like that.

How much of the score was mocked up by Don for you and did it give you a good idea of what the score would sound like?
It did. He only mocked up four or five cues, and that’s all I really needed to hear. I knew they were very crude, completely synthesized, and I wasn’t hearing the cues the way an orchestra plays them. Basically for me it was further reassurance that Don was doing the right thing. Instead of hearing the whole score mocked up, I would rather be surprised on the scoring stage. Something happens when you’re seeing the movie and you’re hearing the final music with it. In a way you’re the first audience. The movie changes so much, no matter how good the temp score is, the movie changes and becomes a different movie, hopefully a better movie when you hear it with the final music. If it’s well done by a composer who knows what he’s doing, suddenly it’s right, everything falls into place. Rather than hear that thrown together on a synthesizer, I would prefer to hear it with 102 pieces playing. Even rehearsing it, I’d rather hear it live and watch the picture, it’s much more rewarding and definitely entertaining.

Were you surprised when you heard the orchestra bring Dan’s score to life?
Many times after I heard his music I’d say, “Wow, that makes the scene work.” I said it to him too many times, it almost became a joke. Don had a tough act to follow here. He had to write in the John Williams style, but he doesn’t want to try to emulate John Williams. He didn’t want to write as John Williams. It’s Don Davis writing. I think he was walking a fine line here. In a strange way it’s the same thing I’m trying to do with the movie. I’m making this movie sort of in the style of Steven Spielberg, but yet I’m trying to make it my own film and I think it will be perceived as my own film because my style comes through very clearly. Don was up against something similar to that, in that he’s trying to write in John Williams’ style of music, but at the same time he’s making it completely his own.

Your film was practically scored completely from beginning to end. What was your main concern with Don’s score?
One thing I was very anxious to get across to Don was the darker, more frightening sequences, where there were Raptors, the Spinosaurus, or the Pteranodons, these were the scenes that I really wanted to push a little bit, to make it a little creepier and scarier. Don completely got that and understood it instinctively. When I heard him rehearsing it for the first time I was amazed. The first time you hear it’s always without picture, so you have to imagine what’s happening. It was always superior to what I had in the back of my mind as to what the music should be.

What did you learn by working with Don?
One thing was to sit back and relax and let your composer compose, knowing that you’re going to get something great on the scoring stage when you show up the first day. Relax and enjoy it. Don’t fret over whether “Is it going to be right?” or “Is the temp going to be better?” Don’t worry about any of that, let yourself be surprised.
The other thing I learned is that music has the power to elevate a film beyond what you might expect. There are films that are enhanced by film music, there are films that are partially made on the scoring stage, but the music in this film elevated the image to such a place that I feel that Don was truly a partner in the making of the film, he was a co-filmmaker if you will. I’d call him a co-director except the DGA (Directors’ Guild of America) would get on me about that!

What are your plans after JURASSIC PARK 3?
None whatsoever. I try to take as long as I can. I take as much time off as I can, in fact until money becomes a serious problem. That’s why I got into this business, really, in the first place – I like a lot of time off. The great thing about the movie business is that you can work and put money in the bank and then you don’t have to work. It’s not a race, it’s not about who can make the most films in their lifetime. I have no desire to make twenty-five films; if I make ten I’ll be happy.

SESSION FACTS

Composer / Orchestrator / Conductor: Don Davis
Where: 20th Century Fox Studios – The Newman Scoring Stage
When: May 14th, 15th, 21st, 24th, 25th, and the 29th
Orchestra: “A” Orchestra -104 Pieces, “B” Orchestra – 88 Pieces
Choir: Recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage – 20th Century Fox
When: May 30th
Voices: 60 Voices Mixed Men and Women, Choir Master: Sally Stevens
Engineer: Armin Steiner
Composing Time: Approximately Two Months
Length of Score: Approximately 79 Minutes
Grand Piano: Gloria Cheng
Music Editors: Joe E. Rand and Barbara McDermott
Pro Tools Operator / CD Mastering: Larry Mah
Contractor: Sandy deCrescent

A personal note

Thanks goes out to those that made this article possible: Producer Larry Franco, Ronni Chasen and Jeff Sanderson of Chasen & Associates, Cheryl Tkach and Nate Bruckner (Joe Johnston’s Assistants), and especially Director Joe Johnston and Composer Don Davis. – RK

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