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What does it feel like to compose an award-winning score for a short film? What goes into a project like that?

That’s what we’re going to be looking at in this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:25 – The story behind David’s award-winning compositions
  • 01:56 – The Long, Lonely Walk
  • 03:00 – Desolation (Broken)
  • 04:18 – Suspense
  • 05:18 – Meet Me Here
  • 07:07 – Closing thoughts

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Transcription:

Hey, it’s David Andrew Wiebe.

You may have heard me talk about my award-winning compositions in recent episodes of the podcast.

So, in this episode, I thought I would share a little bit about The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack) as well as a few audio clips from the score.

These compositions won Best Original Score at:

  • Hollywood on the Tiber Film Awards
  • Vesuvius International Film Festival
  • New Jersey Film Awards

This came as a surprise even to me and wasn’t imaginable when I originally went to work on this score five or six months ago. So, let’s rewind…

Five to six months ago, I started an intensive two-year leadership program.

A long-time collaborator reached out to me and asked whether I’d be able to compose for his short.

I wasn’t sure how much time I’d have to dedicate to this project, but I said “yes.”

But of course, it wasn’t long before the chickens came to roost.

The producer gave me a relatively tight deadline for the music. And so, while I’d already started the process of writing, I now had to deliver on my promise in short order.

Based on the subject matter of the film, I knew I wanted to feature the acoustic guitar in the score. So, I made some sketches and sent them over to the producer.

At first, he was worried that the score might end up coming out sounding like Brokeback Mountain, but when he layered the music over the footage, he could see the merit in my approach.

And so, with his approval, I set to work on turning my demos into full-fledged compositions, with strings and piano playing a supporting role to the acoustic guitar.

The score opens with a song titled “The Long, Lonely Walk.”

#1 – “The Long, Lonely Walk”

In the opening scenes of The Nobody Prayer, the protagonist is seen walking along a path on a hill with the Calgary skyline in the background.

I probably don’t need to say much more about this tune because what I just said paints a nice word picture.

The song carries a dark, melancholy feel because that’s where the leading character is at mentally and emotionally for most of the film.

It’s the first composition in the film and on the original soundtrack, but it’s not the first song I started piecing together. This next one is:

#2 – “Desolation (Broken)”

“Desolation (Broken)” is the centerpiece of the score. It’s the first song I started working on for The Nobody Prayer.

In a short film requiring about five minutes of music, it usually happens that one song does most of the heavy lifting, and in this case, it was “Desolation.”

Compared to the other tunes, which tend to feature more repetition, or what one might call “mood music,” this one is longer and features more movement. It’s a song with structure, as it goes from dark and melancholy to urgent and emotive.

There’s a bluesy lick in the middle section, and that was pure inspiration. It just felt right.

I don’t think it would be too much of an exaggeration to say that “Desolation” is the main theme of The Nobody Prayer.

Then comes a track called “Suspense.”

#3 – “Suspense”

In The Nobody Prayer, the leading character starts out despondent.

But as the short unfolds, he experiences a significant shift in emotion.

The “voice of God” calls to him, letting him know that everything is okay.

So, I knew I needed a song that bridged the earlier songs in the score, which were decidedly gloomy.

“Suspense” is obviously somewhere between woeful and hopeful, and from that perspective, the title might be a little obvious or tongue in cheek. Oh well.

The film ends on a happy note, and that’s why the following track was written:

#4 – “Meet Me Here”

“Meet Me Here” is the happiest song in the score, and that’s because the score follows the character arc of the lead, from feeling completely desolate and alone to finding hope in his identity, from upset to resolution.

This song features percussive “slaps” on the acoustic guitar. I knew from trying this in an earlier demo that I’d need to use automation rather heavily to tame those beasts, and I was successful in that.

What’s fascinating about this guitar part is that it was quite easy to perform. Sections that should have been obvious and easy on the guitar ended up tripping me up, and sections that should have been harder to capture came together relatively quickly.

Scrapes, string noise, body shifting, muted notes, and other minor noises were all left in to create a more authentic feel.

When The Nobody Prayer opens, the lead is unstable, and I wanted this to be reflected in the music too. I didn’t want everything to sound perfect. It needed to have an unsettled feeling.

Something else a trained musician will probably notice is the fact that all songs in the score are in the same key.

Although it is easier to compose everything in the same key, that’s not why I did this.

In a short film like this, to demonstrate a change in mood and feelings, I found it much easier to create this transition with multiple tunes in the same key.

The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack)

You can listen to The Nobody Prayer (Original Soundtrack) wherever you listen to music online – Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, TIDAL, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, Deezer, Napster, and elsewhere.

You can also go to MusicEntrepreneurHQ.com/Nobody and choose where you’d like to listen to it.

Closing Thoughts

Are you interested in finding out what it took to compose an award-winning score? Would you like to learn more about my process? Then you’ll want to check out our latest product, Members Only Audios, because that’s where I bear it all. For a small monthly fee, you get access to the entire archive of Members Only Audios published to this point, as well as new, value-adding music career tips and insights delivered on a weekly basis. Go to MusicEntreprneurHQ.com/Members to learn more.

This has been episode 255 of The New Music Industry Podcast. I’m David Andrew Wiebe, and I look forward to seeing you on the stages of the world.

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