Archive for life

The Soundtrack of Our Imaginary Lives

Posted in Creativity, Film Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2015 by Gideon K

Life is strange. You get caught up and focused on some things that you ignore or neglect something else. Then, when you lift your head up to have a look around you realise that more time has gone and wonder if you could have spent your time more productively or effectively.

It seems fairly typical of my creative patterns in some way – to start one thing, eventually get to the end of it (and I’ll allow myself some credit here – it may take a while, but I do finish the projects I start), then plough into some other kind of project straight afterwards that is perhaps on a completely different tangent to what I’ve been previously working on. I sometimes question how much of that is creative restlessness and a desire to explore new or unfamiliar ground, and how much of it is a form of escapism. Instead of sticking to one or two disciplines and mastering them, I fumble and play, I dabble with a number of things and don’t really master any of them.

I’m not sure yet.

But speaking of mastery, I believe this year I have put in at least a few more of the hours that will count towards clocking up the 10,000 hour minimum genius quota. Mastery of what, if anything, is a different subject.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year learning about recording and engineering sounds and music. What motivates me is the need to be able to record my own music on my own, at home whenever I felt like it, and to have those results be presentable in some way.

Part of this was brought into focus by putting out an EP earlier this year of punk/alt rock covers that were recorded mostly at home on my crappy soundcard and my old computer. I took it to get mixed by a pro, but it made me want to improve my home-recording skills.

 

To cut a long story short, most of the music I have been working on this past year or so has been soundtracks to short films. Like most other creative avenues I have dabbled in, film music is not something I had given much thought to or foreseen myself having a go at much before. I had done a piece for one of my brother’s film projects when he was studying, but nothing since then until July last summer.

I plan on putting down a few words in due course about some of these projects, but for now here is a little showreel I have put together of some of the music I have made for moving image.

 

Certainty vs Uncertainty

Posted in Creativity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by Gideon K

Who actually wants to know for sure what consequences an action will have?

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

Personally I get a thrill out of not knowing exactly how my life is going to end up, so I have a kind of rule of thumb in terms of keeping myself occupied, entertained and excited.

In any given scenario there is usually a point at which you have to make a decision about how either to act, or not act.

Example: You’re walking down the street and you see someone with a funny hat or a really cool pair of shoes.

Option 1: Don’t say anything and carry on.

Option 2: Talk to them, tell them whatever you were thinking and make use of that little observation your mind has given you.

If you don’t say anything, you know exactly what is going to happen – you’re both going to keep walking, and your day will carry on where it was going.

Option 1 = Certain

If you do start talking to them, you don’t know what is going to happen. You may find out that you both get along very well. You may find out that the person is a total prick. You may just share a brief moment of laughter, or perhaps nothing at all.

Option 2 = Uncertain

This is a very simple example. But utilizing it can help turn seemingly everyday drudgery into something more… adventurous.

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Let me put a disclaimer here that before taking the uncertain option you should take into account whether the outcome will be either:

a)      Be likely to cause offense and discomfort

b)      Put you or anyone in danger

c)      Contrary to your principles or moral standards

ie you don’t HAVE to tell someone they smell bad, just because they happen to… – it might hurt their feelings.

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How does this relate to creativity?

Well say you’re writing a certain type of song, with a certain kind of feel. You get to a point in the song where the obvious thing would be to end with a bridge and a repeated chorus.

You know what that would sound like before you’ve even written it. That’s the certainty option.

Why not try something else? Try changing the tempo of the song. If it’s a rock song, make it switch at the end to a waltz or a tango. Slow it down, speed it up. The worst that could happen is that it could sound crap and you just move on to the next thing.

Break out of your comfort zone. Certainty is boring.

“Uncertainty and expectation are the joys of life. Security is an insipid thing.” – William Congreve

I hope you find this useful.