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The Reel World

You can download a free pdf of excerpts from the 2nd Edition of The Reel World here.

Now some quick background.

Keyboard Magazine

Keyboard Magazine

Some years ago, before I composed for a living, I was a musician helping cook up cool sounds and musical ideas for films and film composers (I also worked on a lot of records, but that’s for another day). My work came to the attention of Keyboard Magazine, then the most prestigious mag for modern musicians.

The founder and editor of Keyboard was a gentleman named Dominic Milano. One very cool dude. We have remained good friends to this day. Keyboard Magazine started in a small building that he shared with two young entrepreneurs starting a home computer business called Apple Computer. But that was before my time. Dominic knew my work and asked if I would write a column each month on technology. It’s all I did all day, and so there was plenty to write about. And I started a column on synths, computers, studio technology and mostly about my own work. It was a sort of diary for nerdy musicians, and became a popular part of the magazine for a while.

But I started to get busy as a composer and I was no longer interested in writing about technology. So I proposed a new idea, to write about my various projects as a composer using as much technology as possible, but from a much more creative perspective. I called it The Reel World and it was a part of the magazine up until just a few years ago (though the last several years were sporadic).

At one point Dominic suggested turning the best columns from the series into a book. At first this seemed really exciting to me. A book! So I took all my articles and layed them out to try and come up with a way to organize them all. Some I just tossed aside. But others seemed to fit well into one of three main categories:

  • Art and Aesthetics
  • Craft and Technology
  • Career and Business

Once I did that, I sat and reread the whole thing. And I hated it. I had learned so much along the way, and technology had changed over time. A lot of it just didn’t feel all that useful. By this time I had worked on a lot of films and tv projects. So I spent the next year  just rewriting everything I knew about how to score films. How to break down scenes, find the emotional center of a moment, create a musical arc, use the tech to your best advantage, and how to make a career out of composing. When I finished, I added interviews with friends and colleagues to add more perspective. I spoke with John Williams, Hans Zimmer, James Newton-Howard, Mark Isham, Basil Poledouris, Marc Shaimen, agents, music editors, supervisors, studio executives, and more.

Finally it felt like a book. I released it in 2001 and it became a very popular book on the subject.I chose a kind of retro 50’s movie poster look:

1st Edition

1st Edition

It got a lot of terrific response and feedback. It became a standard text all over the world. It was an unexpected and very rewarding experience for me, and put me in touch with some very cool people all over the planet. Job done.

Only not really.

I kept working and growing as an artist. And the technology for composing to picture exploded. So after a number of years I went to my publisher and begged them to let me redo the book and bring it up to date in regards to everything. They agreed and the end result was another year of writing and rewriting, interviewing, editing, and expanding every element of the book.

And along with the new content came a new cover. This one:

2nd Edition

Click the link on the top to read a few chapters. The book is for sale on Amazon, or if you want a signed copy (and you know you do) then buy it right here on the website. Enjoy.

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