Interview Report-Summary of the Interviewee

Question

Interview a working professional composer (Film/TV/Video Game) about the 10 career questions as discussed in class.  You are encouraged to ask more and present these questions in any way you see fit.  But you have to at least ask and get answers about and report on these ten.

Write a summary report of who you interviewed, why you chosen them and the answers you discussed with your interview subject.

Sample paper

Interview Report-Summary of the Interviewee

This pape reports on an interview I had with Michael Giacchino. Michael Giacchino is an American music composer for video games, television and films. Giacchino is highly famous for his work and he has received a number of awards that include three Grammy Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and an Academy Award. Giacchino was born in Riverside Township, New Jersey in 1967. His interest in film started at the age of 10 where he had started combining music and images. He at this stage requested his parent to be put in art school, a wish that was granted.  He studied music at Juilliard after studying film at the school of Visual Arts in New York. He launched his career at Universal and later transferred to Disney. He studied orchestration and instrumentation as a part time course while still in Disney, at the University of California Los Angeles. He did his first PlayStation video game temp music in 1994, where he used orchestra. He has since composed a number of music to be used in video games, films, TV series, and short films. Giacchino, who is currently 51 years old, was selected for this interview for a number of reasons which include his accessibility. Although he is a busy man, he was ready to offer me his time for an interview. I preferred Giacchino due to his compositing diversity. Giacchino does not only compose for films, but also for TV series, video games and theme parks rides. He seemed quite knowledgeable and flexible, and I was highly interest in knowing how he does it. I was also fascinated by his love of technology and easy integration of his composition in the modern world, to create more fitting and exiting compositions. Below is a summary of my interview with Giacchino,

 

Interview Report

Giacchino did not get to film composition by chance, but he actually embarked on a journey to study to be a film composer. According him, he realized his love for combining pictures and music and creating motion when he was just ten. He found it fascinating and he thought of influencing his parents to assist him in joining art school. He was lucky enough to convince his parents, and started his career journey. Giacchino managed to study in school of Visual Arts in New York. He learnt a lot of things he needed to know about visual arts and at the end of it all, he felt that he needed to supplement this by learning music. At this stage, he was confident of his ability to roll in this career, but his first serious engagement in the field made him realized that he needed to learn instruments and orchestration, which he did. All this gave him the skills and knowledge he needed to be successful in this career.

Giacchino wished he was better at instrumentation when he was starting his career. According to him, he always found it difficult to complete satisfactory composition in the early start of his career, mostly due to lack of enough instruments skills. The situation got worse when he joined Disney where the need to be unique and exiting in the composition was high. This pressurized him into searching for this skill that he needed most. He thus enrolled in UCLA as a part time student, to study the orchestration and instrumentation to improve on his skill and knowledge on the two. Giacchino, also noted that it was possible to learn the use of instrumentation and orchestration in the field as he was working, but it would take long to master. He needed to have the skill to be in control of his career and the desire to grow and be famous in what he was doing could not allow him to learn as a slower pace. According to him, learning this gave him the composing independence he needed, without relying too much on assistance.

Giacchino clearly stated that in today’s competitive world, one can work for free as a way of demonstrating what you can at the beginning of the career. In his opinion, this is called building portfolio. He regarded it as a way of introducing oneself in the market and showing your abilities, talents, and unique style to the world, just like a form of personal marketing. However, this should only be done at the beginning or while targeting a certain company for employment or a contract. However, he discouraged free work after the establishment and growth of one’s career.  According to him, people should learn to value the effort of others. Thus, after building a convincing portfolio, a composer should only focus on paid production.

The most important quality that Giacchino consider while employing an assistant is skills proficiency and creativity. According to him, an assistant should be able to do basically everything that he can do in terms of skills and knowledge, and also have a high sense of creativity and unique style that can supplement this. This according to him is to ensure that an assistant can stand in for him during work pressure, without any complain from the client.

An assistant or team member in Giacchino team can be fired easily if he or she demonstrates some sense of breaching privacy and confidentiality agreement, for instance when an assistant share a piece in progress with competitors or an outsider. This according to him would be a great loss to him and his team and thus, it cannot be forgiven. It also shows possibility of similar crisis in the future and thus, it would be easier to dismiss such an assistant immediately.

Getting into the same page or being in the same page is the most difficult and important aspect of the director or composer collaboration according to Giacchino. In Gicchino’s view, it is very important for the director and composer to understand one another before writing of a single note of score. Director and composer will need to meet and discuss music in different parts of a production. They will also need to agree and work together to build trust.  This is hard according to Giacchino since it is influenced by the personality of the person one is collaborating with. It may be simple in some instances and very difficult in others.

Giacchino greatest fear as a composer is developing a single bad project that would ruin his reputation. According to him, building a reputation is considerably hard, especially since it involve producing compositions that people will like and building trust through consistency in terms of quality. A composer always fears that the new composition may fall below the last one in terms of quality, and receive negative hash tag. One thus needs to work hard to remain consistent and always build products that will protect ones reputation in the market.

According to Giacchino, not every person who had interest in music and production gained parental support or a chance to study. Some people may have talents but lack guidance or enough money to do public performance. So to him music and movie services such as YouTube/Netflix/Pandora are opening the curtain to those who have been locked out in the past. He also noted that the new streaming services will definitely bring change. According to him, the new technology is not meant to replace the composers. Serious films composer will be needed for serious films that hope to attract high level of audience. He also noted that the level of competition will also push upcoming film makers to focus on quality, which will bring them back to composers. So he does not expect this to affect composers’ significance in the industry. In his opinion, the new services may change the business model at first. However, people should see it just as a means of broadcasting what has been created. Thus, the creation or production model will not be affected by this, maybe the broadcasting model.

Giacchiano noted that he has a high preference for films both long and short as well as video games. In his opinion, he loves composing for films due to variation such that one is able to use different rhythm structures and tempos to bring out different moods based on the point of performance. This plays a great role in utilizing his skills and creativity than in TV series or theme parks where monotony may be required.

Giacchiano advice to upcoming composers was to focus on noting their weaknesses and work on them and to perfect on their area of strengths. He said this can be done through experimentation to identify new styles and techniques. Giacchiano also noted that upcoming composers should know that the market is very competitive and thus, one needs to work hard as an individual to position him or herself as a composer. The Worse advice that Gicchiano received during his career involved copying the style of others. He later realized that a style defines a person and having a unique style helps one to position oneself in the market. Since then he was able to be who he is in the music composition industry.

The interview which took around 45 minutes was quite informative to me as a student. I learnt a lot that may be of great significance to me as an upcoming composer. Giacchino was highly composed and confident in his answers and advice. He managed to answer all questions without dodging. He was highly humorous, friendly and approachable, something that made our interview easy and successful. The 45 minutes were quite exiting and informative.

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