By Cameron Hawkins
Two early showings of the upcoming film “Score: A Film Music Documentary” sold out May 6 at the Nevada Museum of Art. The film combines interviews with famous film composers, such as Hans Zimmer, as they tell their stories of composing film scores and discuss how other composers have affected the industry.
“Score: A Film Music Documentary” is a great film that not only brings nostalgia to viewers thanks to the inclusion of many pieces of well-known music, but educates a general audience on the history of film music. After the screening, writer, director, and executive producer Matt Schrader and producer, editor, and cinematographer Kenny Holmes participated in a panel discussion. Holmes also happens to be a Reno native and former member of KRNV News 4. I got the chance to interview him about his experience creating this documentary.
ThisIsReno: You produced this film “Score.” What led you to move forward with this project?
The initial idea was from our director, Matt Schrader. He was very surprised to find out that there was no documentary on the subject. It is such an important part of film-making and it can make or break a movie. A lot of times it can make a bad movie good. It can make a good movie great. So when we found out there wasn’t one we thought, ‘We have the ability to do this. We’re journalists, we know how to shoot, we know how to edit. We produce stuff on a daily basis. Maybe we can try and do this.’ I think at heart I always wanted to make a documentary, so when Matt called me about the idea it was kind of serendipitous because I was itching to do one anyway and I was asking around to different friends to see if they had any ideas. It was kind of like perfect timing and it needed to be done.
ThisIsReno: Did you always have an interest in film? Did you want to be a filmmaker?
It’s hard to put my finger on what I wanted to do as a kid. We had a video camera at home. We would shoot movies and different skits. In high school I did a lot of different projects using video and same with college, which is how I got into TV. I did some video projects in a theater class at TMCC (Truckee Meadows Community College) and I was introduced to a guy at a local TV station by my theater teacher. I think at heart I wanted to do something cinematography or videography and I sort of accidentally fell into broadcast news. It sort of snowballed, and I honed my skills in news which pretty much translated right into documentary. I felt right at home doing the project. It just felt like a really long story versus in news, where I do one- to two-minute stories in a day.
ThisIsReno: For documentaries it can be hard to keep a focus on the story that you are trying to tell. How did you get that to work with this film?
Well, Matt Schrader did an amazing job writing and directing the film. We talked about how we wanted to piece it together. Obviously, there were things to hit on—history and how film scores have changed throughout the years and different things. We focused on asking composers about their favorite composers and giving anecdotes about each composer who is their mentor or somebody that they look up to. But then also, we wanted to cover all the aspects of the process. How does it begin? What is the first step? Once you have a composer hired, what do they do next? How much time do they have? What is all the process involved? As well as the history over the years, we also wanted to make sure we covered from beginning to end how it is made. We didn’t want to do all history or all process, but to weave it through to keep audiences interested and make sure they are getting the history and how everything unfolded the past one hundred years or so.
ThisIsReno: How much time did you put into this project?
That’s tough to say. Thousands of hours I would say. Between the editing, the shooting, and planning and different things. It took two and a half years from the beginning with late nights of editing and just watching movies. When we were piecing together finding examples in older movies, you know I’m 31, so there were movies from when I was a really young kid and movies I have never seen before. So I had to watch them and find the moments where the music hit and really flowed. So there was a lot of time watching movies and also finding ways to weave them all together so the audience won’t get bored.
ThisIsReno: What was your favorite experience when working on this project?
I think my favorite experience was being able to go to London. I had never been to London before. We were able to go to several recording studios in London that are legendary, one being Abbey Road where The Beatles famously recorded and all the original “Star Wars” movies . A lot of movie and recording artists use the studio for that. Just walking into those doors and kind of feeling that history, experiencing that. Being able to do something I love and at the same time I get to experience all this stuff. It was like the best of both worlds. The special thing is not only being able to go there, but take what we saw and show everybody. A lot of these recording studios are not open to the public. This isn’t a place that people can go, so you rarely see video footage of a recording session for anything, especially film. It’s really cool being able to show people what we experienced first-hand. That first-hand experience was really unbelievable.
ThisIsReno: What is the end goal?
Just getting it out there. When you do a project, the goal is for people to see it. The idea that it is coming out in theaters and it’s going to be put out there internationally…it’s just really exciting to know that we cast a light on a subject that was long overdue of being shown and the excitement people have for it and that it’s going to get out there.
“Score: A Film Music Documentary” will be released in limited engagements June 16 in the US. For more information or to see where it’s playing, visit: https://www.score-movie.com/ Check out the trailer:
Cameron Hawkins is a Journalism student at the University of Nevada, Reno. He hopes to have a career in Film Journalism writing about news and reviews in the industry. He is also a saxophonist who has played for 12 years and is a member of the University of Nevada Marching Band as well as the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity. In his free time Cameron likes to watch movies, play video games, and read comic books.