music selection for a film certainly isn’t an easy task. while VO and nat sounds are incredibly important to story, soundtrack (or in some cases, lack thereof) is also so important to drive just how you want your viewers to feel. to do that effectively, you really need to know the story and how you want your viewers to feel to select the perfect track or series of tracks.
for weddings, it’s all too easy to go to the top 40 or to pick a song your couple has decided on, but is that really fitting to the story or will it have the same impact in 1 year, 2 years, 10 years, etc? while we most certainly like our couples to share their music tastes with us, it’s less about guiding our soundtrack selection and more about really telling us about who they are, both as individuals and as a couple (do they like the same music? why, or why not? etc). what our couple listen to can be a huge tell tale of who they are.
back to song selection – for us, it usually starts with lesser known artists. the reason is quite simple – we want the songs selected to be our couples – we want the first time they see their film to be 100% about their story and nothing more. selecting song they haven’t heard guarantees there are no preconceived notions or memories associated or attached to the soundtrack. as a side note, it also helps…
an indie artist immensely and it feels great knowing we’re supporting musicians who will benefit immediately from licensing their music.
actually narrowing down to the specific tracks isn’t an easy task and does take some time. it almost always starts with finding the right feeling – do the songs feel right for the couple. for Ariel and Ricky, Sunbeam felt right from the start. knowing Sunbeam personally definitely helped, but how i feel when i listen to Sunbeam is exactly how i felt filming Ariel and Ricky and how i felt after putting together their film.
after finding the right musician, it’s about narrowing down even further to finding the perfect songs, and in this step we’re looking for tempo, where the crescendo’s hit, lyrics (if applicable) and the overall length. The Garden was a perfect introduction for Ariel and Ricky – it’s upbeat, fun and most of all, carefree – like them. at the same time, it has a great energetic opening which paired perfectly with the opening scene of Ariel and Ricky shipping rocks. for the end of the piece we cut to Let It go, again by Sunbeam, as it’s a much slower paced song to match the more emotional vows. it’s still a Sunbeam track, meaning it’s still fun, but it’s also much quieter and more subdued.
from there, it’s just a matter of laying them in the editing suite and finessing them so the levels of the song match the VO and nat sounds and the overall emotional spikes in the film.
now, soundtrack selection for our commercial pieces is a whole other story. one that we’ll tackle in another upcoming q of the week.