AWAITING – FILM COMPOSER
One recent commission as a film composer was the score for the new British thriller Awaiting, directed by Mark Murphy. It was produced by Green Screen Productions, and starring Tony Curran, Diane Vickers, and Rupert Hill.
The film received its world premiere on March 1st at the Fantasporto Film Festival, in Porto, Portugal. It won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor (Tony Curran) at the Horrorant film festival in Athens. The Huffington Post described Simon Webb’s music as “a glorious score”.
Mark likes to work closely with the film composer right from the script stage. After several months of consultation and pre-production, and having visited the set a couple of times, the score was composed over a short period during the summer of 2014, in my studio in Suffolk. The initial concept (budget-driven) was for a computer score with a small group of instrumentalists, so this is how I started: Very much in the same sonic vein as Mark’s previous film The Crypt, which I had scored in 2013.
The film is a psychological thriller with horror elements. Mark had very strong ideas on what he did and didn’t want from the film composer. As it transpired he decided he didn’t want horror music, or anything that told the audience how to feel at any given moment. What he did want was a slow burn, epic and emotional score that would help drive the arc of the story: A string and choir based score.
So, after much deliberation, and great assistance from line producer Paddy Robinson-Griffin, we decided to change tack and use a real orchestra. Somehow Mark and producer Alan Latham found the budget, and I set to work on this new version of the score, relishing the challenge. It was now all about parts for the musicians, and lots of them, not wav files! And there wasn’t a great deal of time left.
Working with orchestrator and conductor Adam Clemens in Prague, in ten days and 40 cues, we put together the musicians parts: a large box full!
The final pre-production stage was to prepare click tracks with basic keyboard and guitar sonics parts. Guitarist Jay Stapley came into the studio in London and played his electric guitar in a very unusual manner, producing extraordinary sounds that I planned to combine with the orchestra.
RECORDING IN PRAGUE
Next we headed off to Prague to record with the Prague Filmharmonic: a large orchestra and choir. It was a very good experience, the orchestra was very obliging, we overdubbed the strings, and we achieved the epic sound that Mark was looking for. On a number of the cues there was the equivalent of 201 musicians playing!
We then brought the score back to the UK for post-production and mixing by Ian Tompson at Humber Road Studios in Blackheath.
Finally we completed the process with an initial pre-dub in Romania, and then further work at sound designer Nico Metten’s studio in Brixton, and completion at The University of York, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, where they have a state of the art dubbing theatre.
Here’s the trailer with one of the big orchestral cues, and assorted photos of the sessions.
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