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Blog // Sounds
September 28, 2006

How Film Music Works

Typically the score for a movie is not created until late in the film making process. Once the “rushes” for a movie have been assembled into their final form, a “spotting session” takes place where the director, producer, composer and other member of the team get together to discuss the music cues. These are the […]

Typically the score for a movie is not created until late in the film making process. Once the “rushes” for a movie have been assembled into their final form, a “spotting session” takes place where the director, producer, composer and other member of the team get together to discuss the music cues. These are the specific points at which the music will begin and end and the narrative, or dramatic function of the movie.

The following quote comes from the book Complete Guide To Film Scoring, where Alan Silvestri talks about the music behind the scene in Forrest Gump, where Forrest is running away from some children who are tormenting him.

“That is a really interesting cue from several perspectives. The start of that cue was a decision. Many people, including myself, may have started that cue when we first saw the bad boys, they may have started that cue when the rock hit Forrest’s head, they may have started the cue after Jenny said, “Run.” I didn’t want to just jump in there with music. It deserved more than that. So, the question really was, “what’s the cue ultimately going to be about?” Well, the cue is ultimately about the celebration of someone who thought they had an infirmity, and to their surprise, they discover they didn’t. When you consider what to do with the music on that level, all bets are off on the obvious stuff.

The cue basically comes in out of nowhere. He’s already started to run, but that’s okay because this isn’t a running cue; this is a cue about the awakening realization in Forrest that something he thought was an infirmity, in fact, doesn’t exist. Of course, we as an audience are seeing what’s going on, we’re seeing that this kid can move, we’re seeing the braces come off, and we’re way ahead of the game. We are getting all this, and we are smart folks. So the music isn’t about the audience seeing this kid’s gonna be able to run without braces; the music is about the kid discovering that he’s already been running, and he doesn’t need the braces. That’s really the emotional release of this whole thing.

That’s why the big musical moment has to be on the shot where he looks up with a smile that would just knock down people from coast to coast; this kid has just realized that he does not have this infirmity. That’s when we start to celebrate. Boom, we blow the top off it right then and there. Everything to that point has been a build-up to his awakening to that realization. Physically, then we cut back to the adult Forrst on the bench, and he says, “From that day on, if I was going somewhere, I was running.”

[tags] Film Scoring, Forrest Gump [/tags]

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