I’m not sure what the majority of teenagers do while hanging out with their friends, but given the lack of teens running around Hampstead Heath in period costume with a camcorder, it’s probably not what my friends and I got up to.
Our filmed scenes of the witches from Macbeth didn’t come to anything much (I don’t remember much of the actual filming but I do remember setting Maeve’s hair on fire and giving Rosie a monobrow and going to Waitrose afterwards to buy food still in full costume and getting a kick out of the looks on peoples’ faces…) I did write a soundtrack for it, but we were much bigger on the filming side of things than the actual editing business so it never got attached. Something similar happened for our next project – a spoof Harry Potter movie – but in fairness, Maeve’s camcorder got nicked with most of our footage and we rather lost enthusiasm for it after that. I really hope someone out there is enjoying our footage of us stuffing Esther in the cupboard under my stairs and Snape/Rosie spitting bitterly on the ground.
The first film project I was part of that actually had the soundtrack attached at some point was a short 20-minute film that my cousin Elad made for his A-level equivalent Drama in 2007. I wrote three pieces for it over the course of several months and was probably the first real lesson in client relations (i.e. that they are always right (except when they aren’t) and also that they are much better at telling you what they don’t want than what they do). Elad and I at the time were both very stubborn and sure of our opinions (it’s like we’re related or something) and it led to many merry arguments but we got there in the end. I like to think we’ve both mellowed out since…
So the story of the movie is basically as follows:
A girl goes to stay with her gran, who lives in the same apartment block as a friend of hers. This boy has a couple of friends on the block, one of whom is clearly in charge and he decides he doesn’t want to hang out with her on account of the fact that she’s a girl probably so they make this plan to ditch her by playing hide and seek and making her swear not to stop searching for them until she’s found them all. Then they go hide on the roof, and sneak out periodically to fetch sweets. The boy who is friends with the girl is racked with guilt about this but doesn’t have the courage to do anything about it. The last part of the scene is them all going back to their homes and lighting Hanukah candles with their families while she is still outside in the dark looking for them. She carves a message on a tree and swears never to forget this.
Many years later, the girl meets the guy who is now working evenings as a bartender, and she recognises him but he doesn’t recognise her. She leaves him his number and they start dating. They go out for a stroll, and by chance end up coming accross the place he used to live. He takes her up onto the roof and tells her about coming to hide there with his friends. The next day he gets an email from the same in-charge friend who now lives in London asking him to pick him up at the airport. He goes and waits for ages, but the friend never shows and later he gets a text from him saying he missed his flight. He goes to meet the girl and her friends for some drinks, and wakes up the next morning in the middle of the desert with no clothes on, as it turns out she set this all up just to get him back.
The first bit of music (“1. Hanukah”) I wrote is for the earlier years. Elad wanted it to sound a bit like the theme from Edward Scissorhands, so I took a well-known children’s song about Hanukah and made it sad and tinkly and a bit edgy. I remember having a disagreement about what constituted “too edgy”, in the end Elad won out, he was probably right.
The second is for the dating montage (“2. The Dating Montage”). Elad wanted it to be minimal and not very deep, given the girl’s pretence of love, and sent me a piece from the soundtrack of Amelie. I wrote a short thing on the piano and went through until I found a sound I liked and stuck with that.
The third is based on the first, and is for the ending (“3. The One At The End”). I went to town on all the edgy that I wasn’t allowed in the first piece and I remember being pleased with the result.
Elad’s school gave out awards for the movie projects, of which there were six or eight in total, and we as a group picked up all of the awards but one (including best original score)…but then again no one has ever had any doubt about from which side of the family we got the stubborn perfectionism.
Here are all three pieces in full (above), and three excerpts from the movie where the music is playing (below) which a friend and I spent a long evening subtitling the other day (another life lesson: Never use Windows Movie Maker for anything. Ever. No matter how simple. Just don’t.)