A fresh start composing music for TV drama
Paul was one of twelve finalists of the 2006 New TV Composers scheme who took part in a weekend workshop where he had the chance to work with TV composer George Fenton and conduct the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Here he looks back on the experience and updates us on his work since, which includes writing the music for a one off BBC Four drama "Who Killed Mrs De Ropp?"
Q1. Tell us how you came to enter the 2006 New TV Composers scheme and about the weekend workshop you attended as part of the scheme.
I've been in the industry for years but hearing where the rubber meets the road, where opportunities are made, is the kind of knowledge you can't get by going on the internet. Out of the whole weekend the biggest experience was conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Q2. What happened after the weekend workshop?
I got a call from BBC Worldwide to say that the producer/director of a BBC Four one off drama, "Who Killed Mrs De Ropp?" had heard my showreel and would like me to pitch for his show. I was given a two minute segment of pictures to compose for and got the commission. It was like climbing on a roller coaster. I've never had to write so much music in such a short space of time!
Q3. Talk us through the process of composing music for pictures.
Sometimes I start with just one note and eventually a thread appears. It's like fishing. You keep casting your line ourt until something bites. As soon as it bites you keep developing it until you have something that's cohesive, supports the pictures, and gives the director what he wants.
Q4. What instrument do you play when composing a score?
I just play keyboards which is lucky since a lot of TV composing involves using samples as budgets will not support a full orchestra.
Q5. You've work for years in the record industry writing three minute pop songs. How different is it scoring a TV drama?
The discipline's completely different. Writing for picture there's no vocal and the music has to have its own character. Also the sheer volume of music that has to be written is huge. You learn to trust the first thing that comes up.
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