I wrote two soundtracks for a competition run by Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer (film score composer for Gladiator, Inception and many, many more). Update: if you’ve listened to my podcast series, Graham’s Shorts, you might recognise one of the tracks 😉
The Bleeding Fingers soundtrack competition
The competition provided us with sample audio tracks (“stems”) to use, mix and compose in any way we saw fit.
Ever since I was young, film soundtracks have held a certain interest for me (just ask my sisters who had to put up with my listening & humming of the soundtracks from Gladiator (Zimmer), the Mission (Morricone), or even Shawshank Redemption (Thomas Newman). I grew up in a musical household where classical music was played loudly on the hifi, and for me soundtracks became a natural extension of that.
So, the Bleeding Fingers competition was a fantastic opportunity for me to put some of my passion for film soundtracks into a composition of my own.
Hans Zimmer Wants You
The competition, titled “Hans Zimmer Wants You” promised the chance to become a ‘Bleeding Fingers’ staff composer in Hollywood – full time employment, benefits and the use of their studio, not to mention the chance to meet and work regularly with the man himself.
…I didn’t win
Well, that goes without saying really. However, I was interested in the feedback that Hans gave after the competition closed: he said that (to paraphrase), he wasn’t looking for a new version of himself, but in a similar way to how he had broken the mould of film composition and defined his own sound, he was looking for someone else who could bring their own flavour and sound to the industry.
When I read this and listened back to my compositions after hearing this feedback, I realised that I had in effect emulated Zimmer’s work – somewhat subconsciously, through listening to his work regularly – and also because the stems were produced by him and carried something of his sound.
I entered the competition at a time in life when I was looking for a bit of a kick up the butt with direction and work – around the same time I applied to a camera operator job in Dubai, and soon after started seriously considering further training in web development.
Have a listen to the winning compositions on the right hand side / below.
I do sometimes wonder what life would be like had I won. Different, certainly – but not better I think. Composition remains one of my great passions and something I even do occasionally get to do for a job, but as with anything – if you just end up doing that one thing (and particularly just for money), the enjoyment of the thing can become dulled over time.
What’s your favourite Hans Zimmer score? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @grahamormiston
THE JUDGING PANEL INCLUDED:
HANS ZIMMER, LORNE BALFE, JUNKIE XL, JACOB SHEA, RUSSELL EMANUEL, STEVE KOFSKY
The winning entries
Pretty amazing, no?