Friday, August 27, 2010

The Night Shift: Sounds of the Night

The Night Shift is the production diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in "post" in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

The sound of the Night Shift

A shark attack. A knife-wielding madman stalking his showering prey. A small boy and his alien buddy taking a moonlit bicycle ride. These three seemingly disparate events all have one thing in common: distinct, evocative film scores.

Can you think of Jaws, Psycho, or E.T. without mentally hearing snippets of the soundtrack? I know I sure can't. I also know I can't hear three notes of John Carpenter's score to Halloween without thinking about Michael Myer's Shatner Mask, or the beginning phrases of John William's Jurassic Park score without getting it stuck in my head; it's not Christmas until I hear his gorgeous Home Alone soundtrack.

And yeah, I'll admit it, at my Senior Prom, my heart did go on.

Even as I type this, Thomas is whistling the theme from Indiana Jones. Movie music doesn't just score the film. In many cases, this is the music that scores our lives.

Music says what dialogue can not. I mean, which is more exciting: A guy running upstairs, huffing and puffing, "I think I can," or a guy running upstairs, face filled with determination with Rocky's theme playing in the background? The story is the heart of the movie, but the music is the soul, helping the audience connect with the film's characters on a deeper level.

Our film's composer, and really, Fighting Owl Film's composer in residence, is Soren Odom. In addition to writing all of the music for The Night Shift (and every score since Shadows), Soren is also the voice of Herbie, the limbless skeleton.

Soren was gracious enough to take time out of his insane schedule (believe it or not, he's only 21 and still in college!) to answer a few questions about himself, the movie, and his process.

Erin: Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Soren: I'm currently studying at the University of South Alabama with a major in Film and a Minor in music, and am in my senior year
Erin: How did you get mixed up in this crazy film?
Soren: One day during my freshman year I was told, friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend style, that some help was needed on set of Camp Hill [Fighting Owl Films' first short] and I took this as the jump start I needed to get into what drives my creative spark, which is making movies. I soon became fast friends with Thomas and the rest is history
Erin: Can you walk us through the process of composing a film score?
Soren: When Thomas has an edited version of a scene he's happy with, he gives me a copy of the sequence which I watch several times to determine my mood. I try to just improvise on a keyboard of some kind to obtain my tempo and where my changes need to be. Next, I orchestrate what could be the final arrangement of the music and will, hopefully, get some great musicians to lay it all down
Erin: What can we expect from the finished score?
Soren: Thomas' directions for the short were, "Indiana Jones meets Army of Darkness." So I tried my best to mix the dark low strings and brass of Danny Elfman and the effortless structure of John Williams. I said "tried," so there it is. Ha ha.
Erin: Herbie? Loveable wiseacre, or limbless pain in the rear?
Soren: A little bit of both. I believe Herb is the conscience that Rue lacks, helping Rue and mentoring him on the ways of the afterlife. However, Herb is also a whiner who would rather complain than accept the fact that sometimes he's not being showered with attention.
Thank you, Soren!

We're still editing, and starting to send off scenes for special effects work. ADR (additional dialogue recording) has begun for some of our actors, and a book of distributors should be delivered shortly. It's slow, but steady, with everyone taking their time to make sure this movie's put together as well as possible. We're also screening the short as often as possible, in as many festivals as possible, to keep interest piqued while we finish the feature. Right now, the soundtrack of my life is Flight of the Bumblebee mixed with the Benny Hill theme. God, help me.

Next Week: More on post-production madness! Until then, you can follow The Night Shift at You can check out the poster, trailer, cast and crew, and some fun downloads. Heck, if you like, you can even be our friend on Facebook and Twitter (@NightShiftMovie), where you can follow more of the progress of the movie.