Film.Music.Media: Podcast
Rachel Portman (Composer: ask the river)

Rachel Portman (Composer: ask the river)

July 8, 2020

Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman is one of the most prolific composers working today. Her amazing filmography spans so many different genres with amazing filmmakers with films like Emma, The Cider House Rules, Hart's War, Chocolat, Oliver Twist, The Joy Luck Club and many many more.

Rachel discusses her path to becoming a composer, and how she decided to stay in the UK and build her life and career there. We deep dive into her writing process, and she talks about where the first note typically comes from. We also discuss what traits she loves in directors that make her job a lot easier, and how she's gotten to work with some amazing directors.

We also explore her new album, ask the river. Rachel composed this instrumental album over a year as a way to really get in touch with the natural world around us. It's a beautiful album experience that allowed her to write freely away from picture for something that's truly personal. Rachel also performs a piece from the album on her piano.

Rachel Portman's storytelling abilities with music are truly astounding. She has managed to carve her own unique path with her career, which has made her one of the most respected and admired composers in the field. Her score to Emma also made her the first female composer to ever win an Academy Award. It was a true pleasure having Rachel Portman on this episode of All Access.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Queenie Li (Music Production Coordinator: Bad Boys For Life | Mission Impossible: Fallout)

Queenie Li (Music Production Coordinator: Bad Boys For Life | Mission Impossible: Fallout)

May 30, 2020
Filmmaking and visual storytelling overall are a team effort, and to truly understand the process it's important to shine the light on some of the amazingly talented people working behind the scenes. For this interview we have the pleasure of being joined by the talented Queenie Li.
 
Queenie is a Music Production Coordinator who has been working with composer Lorne Balfe over the past few years. Queenie is an integral part of Lorne's music team, and she has worked on everything from small dramas to some of the biggest blockbusters of the year. Take a unique inside look of what it's like to work with one of the most in-demand composers working today.
 
Queenie talks about how she applied for an internship at Remote Control Productions, which led to her meeting Lorne. We discuss what her responsibilities are, and what she's doing at every stage of the scoring process working alongside Lorne.
 
Queenie shares how Lorne has become more than a boss, but a friend and mentor who has helped her learn the ropes of the industry. We talk about some invaluable lessons that can only be learned by diving in and overcoming nerves. Queenie also shares some of the skills and programs that anyone looking to work in this industry should master.
 
Queenie is an incredibly talented and hard-working industry professional whose work is integral to how production moves forward during the scoring process. It was an absolute pleasure to gain her insight and hear her perspective on what it's like working in this industry.
 
A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas
 
 
Rebecca Sugar (Creator: Steven Universe)

Rebecca Sugar (Creator: Steven Universe)

March 1, 2020

Rebecca Sugar helped define a generation with her groundbreaking series, Steven Universe. For this All Access we welcome the creative mind behind the world of Steven Universe as she shares her story of growing up in suburban Maryland, her love of animation and music, and how she landed at Cartoon Network Studios where she ultimately pitched the idea for Steven Universe.

For this All Access we sit with Rebecca as she talks about what her initial dreams and aspirations were when she was young, and show she discovered animation. She shares stories of going to school, and how she was hired at Cartoon Network Studios where she was part of the crew for Adventure Time. We talk about how Steven Universe started at the ground level, and how the series has evolved over the seasons. Rebecca also shares the process of creating the ambitious Steven Universe: The Movie, including an in-depth look at her songwriting process and mapping out the songs in the movie. Rebecca also talks about working with composers Aivi & Surasshu on the series as well as on the movie. She talks about what she loved about their sound, and how their score to Steven Universe brings the world to life.

Other topics that we discuss include being open and vulnerable in storytelling, overcoming the pressure of putting yourself out there in the world, what themes and ideas she wanted Steven Universe to cover, working with her entire production team and how the team became a family, the overall animation process, and so much more.

Rebecca's skills as an artist, writer, director, producer, musician, singer and songwriter all make her one of the most talented storytellers working today. She wears many hats, but also loves the collaborative process of animation. We are thrilled to have Rebecca on this episode of All Access.

You can catch Steven Universe: Future on Cartoon Network, new episodes begin airing on March 6th, 2020.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Chad Cannon (Composer: American Factory)

Chad Cannon (Composer: American Factory)

February 22, 2020

Composer Chad Cannon has worked with composers such as Joe Hisaishi, Howard Shore, Alexandre Desplat and Tyler Bates. His love for storytelling comes from his love of human stories. As a composer, Chas has quickly established his unique voice as a storyteller, and all of that is evident in his score for the Oscar-winning American Factory.

American Factory won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. The film is an important look at factories and the people working in them. The film is about a Chinese billionaire who opens a new factory in the husk of an abandoned General Motors plant. We see hope lead to how high-tech China clashes with working-class America. The film is also backed by Michelle and Barack Obama's Higher Ground Productions.

In this interview we learn about Chad's unique path to becoming a composer, and how he ended up in Japan working with legendary composer Joe Hisaishi. We dig into American Factory and how Chad approached the score, including what it means to score non-fiction and help the story of real everyday people.

Chad is a true talent that brings a wonderful touch to his projects and it was an absolute honor to have him as a guest. You can stream American Factory on Netflix.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Nathan Johnson (Composer: Knives Out)

Nathan Johnson (Composer: Knives Out)

November 27, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Nathan Johnson's versatility as a composer and a storyteller can be seen across all his scores as well as all his projects he does outside of film composing. In this All Access we take a trip down memory lane as Nathan talks about growing up with his cousin, director Rian Jonson.

Both Nathan and Rian dabbled in music and filmmaking when they were younger, and that blossomed from being family members messing around to the two of them being creative partners. Nathan has scored every one of Rian's films except Star Wars: The Last Jedi (for obvious reasons).

In this All Access we dissect scores such as Brick, The Brothers Bloom, Looper and of course Knives Out. We also dive into Nathan's work as a director with some of his extremely amazing music videos and other visual art. Hear about Nathan's general approach and process to scoring plus tons of amazing stories such as when Rian Johnson invited him to the scoring sessions of The Last Jedi.

It's a joy to sit down and just talk and dissect creativity with a composer and visual artist such as Nathan, who has the rare perspective of coming at music with so much else in his creative repertoire.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

John Powell (Composer: How To Train Your Dragon 3)

John Powell (Composer: How To Train Your Dragon 3)

November 18, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Earlier this year, we had a fantastic All Access with How To Train Your Dragon trilogy writer/director Dean DeBlois and John Powell. But for our 3rd All Access with John, we wanted to explore the last chapter in the HTTYD trilogy from John's point of view as well as take the opportunity to revisit some stories that we touched upon way back in our first All Access.

Part reboot and part new examination, John talks about his path to becoming a composer as we examine his career's beginnings. We tackle a variety of different topics as we always do as John opens up about his process and approach to writing music to picture. John reflects back on the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy, specifically how he found his own life reflected upon the films. We also talk a lot about ending the trilogy and how John carefully crafted the score.

Sitting down with John Powell is always a pleasure and joy, and it's terrific to have him back on a brand new All Access!

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

John Lunn (Composer: Downton Abbey)

John Lunn (Composer: Downton Abbey)

November 15, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Composer John Lunn has built a career that spans across multiple genres in film and television. For over two decades, John has contributed music to make worlds come alive, carve out characters and inject the emotional core of the story into the narrative.

In this All Access, we caught up with John while he was in town to walk through his career and discuss his approach and philosophies with scoring. John shares his techniques for starting a brand new TV series, as well as how the music can evolve or not evolve across seasons. John also talks about his technique for coming up with a main title theme, and how he tends to write a few episodes worth of music first and let the music speak out to see what melody rises to the top.

We also dive into Downton Abbey, and what the approach was to return to that world with the feature film that takes place after the end of the series. John talks about how working with the same crew and talent made it feel like it was picking back up right where they left off.

John Lunn is one is not only one of the kindest people around, but also a magnificent storyteller. It's an honor to have him on All Access.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Michael Giacchino (Composer: Jojo Rabbit)

Michael Giacchino (Composer: Jojo Rabbit)

November 3, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Michael Giacchino's scores have brought to life some of our most beloved stories whether it's a videogame, TV series or film. He has worked across every genre, and has built found relationships with some of the best filmmakers in the industry. But It's his amazing talents as a storyteller that make people gravitate towards his music.

For this All Access we were able to squeeze some time with Michael during his press day for Jojo Rabbit. We dive right in and discuss the approach for Jojo Rabbit, and how director Taika Waititi sought him out to score the film.

Michael talks about his childhood and his path to becoming a composer, which wasn't the original plan at all. Michael's passion was filmmaking, and he went to film school to become a director but his side hobby in music ended up setting him on the path he's on now.

We talk about subjects such as working with directors who are friends, and what happens when there's a disagreement. We also cover topics like knowing the business side of the industry, where the first note comes from, how to tackle sequels, how to jump into an established franchise, why Michael prefers not to read the script, if Michael will ever return to games or TV, where he stands in the "Marvel is not cinema" debate, what he and Matt Reeves plan on doing with The Batman, and what has been the worst butchering of his last name so far!

Michael is one of the most established auteur composers working today, and it was a true pleasure to have him as a guest on All Access.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Hildur Guðnadóttir (Composer: Joker | Chernobyl)

Hildur Guðnadóttir (Composer: Joker | Chernobyl)

October 4, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Emmy-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir has quickly become one of the most prominent composers in the industry. Her musical journey started when she was young, but it was later in her life, and after finding a musical collaborator in Jóhann Jóhannsson that she became more involved in film composing.

Hildur talks about her childhood and growing up in Iceland. And we talk about how she met Jóhann, and what the creative spark was between the two. She talks about the process of working with him, practically as a co-composer on every score of his and how they were always on the same wavelength.

Hildur discusses scores such as Mary Magdalane, Sicario: Day Of The Soldado, Ófærð (Trapped), her Emmy-winning score for Chernobyl and of course Joker.

Hear how Hildur actually went to a power plant to sample the metallic sounds of the structure itself to help build her score for Chernobyl. And hear how she collaborated with director Todd Phillips on Joker, who loved her work so much that he called her up and offered her the job. Hildur was onboard Joker early enough that she was able to write some of the score based solely off the script. Todd Phillips then played her score on the set to help build scenes, while Joaquin Phoenix actually had an earpiece that fed her music to him so he could shape his performance from the music right on the spot.

Hildur is one of the most talented and unique voices working in the industry today and it was a real pleasure having her on All Access to dive into her process.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas

Carl Thiel (Composer: Seis Manos)

Carl Thiel (Composer: Seis Manos)

October 1, 2019

[Watch the video interview on our YouTube Channel]

Composer Carl Thiel's bold sounds and storytelling skills have graced some of the most standout scores across film and TV. Carl's storytelling sensibilities got the attention of filmmaking auteur Robert Rodriguez, where the two's shared love of visuals and music made them click instantly.

Carl's additional work on Rodriguez's features quickly lead to a co-composing relationship where he scored projects like Planet Terror, Spy Kids 4-D, Machete Kills, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series and many more.

Carl's most recent score is to the new Netflix anime series Seis Manos, which hails from creators Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodríguez. The ultra original concept sees Carl having to blend genres such as Chinese martial arts, anime, 1970's Blaxploitation, Mexican cinema and more.

We dive into Seis Manos and explore how on Earth did Carl blend all those sounds into something cohesive to bring the series to life. We also look back at Carl's childhood growing up in Mexico, going to High School in Canada, and finally planting his roots in Austin, Texas. Carl also dives into many of his past scores and how he originally wanted to be a director or cinematographer, but his love for writing music won the battle.

Carl's amazing sensibilities and wonderfully bright personality shines directly into the music he writes, and it's a joy to have him on All Access.

A Film.Music.Media Interview | Produced & Presented by Kaya Savas