Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Meet Douglas Pipes, Musician/Composer/Funny Man

Yesterday I had a short but important conversation with the music composer, Douglas Pipes. He has the Fine Cut of the film (I don't say Final here because I know I'm taking out a couple of frames to clean it up) and he had questions -- about music, sound, vibe, feeling. We talked about what he needed to understand the "vibe" that I wanted, and I listened. Officially, he has all the temp tracks on the iPod and a little table chart that I created that said where each track should go in the film. And he'll be taking it on vacation with him to the Caribbean. So picture this: Man lounging on sailboat, drinking beer, laughing with friends, remotely composing (in his mind, of course) the lovely and bittersweet score to our friendly little bridal film. Very nice.

I'm amazed that this project has come together the way it has... and I look back at all the little seeds I've planted along the way to get here. Douglas is one of those flowers.

I first met him when I was 29, aka young and having lots of fun living on the beach. We became immediate friends and have remained in touch throughout the years. I was fascinated back then - and still am - by his talent, sense of humor, and simply just the way he is. But he knows this. He was at the time playing in a band, singing, writing songs, and generally figuring out the next big thing. I was really impressed by the work he'd already done on other films. He'd done film soundtracks and played some of the music for me. One night we were hanging out in the basement, or the garage (I forget what that room was exactly, but it had a piano there, and his computer) and I asked him to show me how he did the music. He was surprised... do you really want to know? why are you asking me this? But I did really want to know. So he walked through the software he used, how he worked with the timeline and extending or cutting the sound to fit the scene. I remember sitting in there, writing in that room, pen and paper, with him next to me, headphones on, breathing hard, just working on music. It was sweet. (I wish I had a picture of us from that time, but people just didn't have cell phone cameras then folks)

When my original composer decided early on that he didn't have the time or interest in this film, I immediately thought of Douglas. In fact, I had thought about Douglas much earlier but figured he was too busy, too talented, and just too big to work on this short film. In the end, I thought, heck, won't hurt to ask. He responded immediately via email. "Yes! Would LOVE to!"  All I could think was "wow"... and then, "Thank God."

In the years since those idyllic days on the beach, he's gone on to do many cool things. Finished his degree. Worked in an ad agency. Composed for shorts, features. His most well-known work to date is the 2006 soundtrack to the animated film, Monster House, which my daughter has seen at least half a dozen times.

His most recent big film was Trick'R Treat, a  feature released by Warner Brothers in 2008. It has received universally great reviews from blogs and critics, and has a huge following among horror film fans.

Next up on his plate: Dinner with moi. Then we finish the film.

I know I've said this a lot, but we are indeed so very lucky to have him on our team. Douglas is the Big Fish here, and I promise to cook him a mean dinner... with Cat Stevens in the background.

Douglas Pipes

Douglas Pipes is a film music composer whose music has appeared in a spectrum of short and feature films including City of Ember (Universal Pictures) and the 2006 soundtrack to Monster House (Columbia). His loud, brassy instrumentations have drawn comparisons to action-music composer guru Alan Silvestri. He has won a variety of awards for his compositions including World Soundtrack Awards, Royal Television Society, and Gold Spirit Compositor Revelac√≠on (Spain). Doug’s most recent work is the score of horror film Trick ’r Treat.

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