July 24, 2017

Keeping The Dream Alive

Why Your Goals Make You A Better Music Editor, And Vice Versa

Without going Dr. Phil/Dr. Drew/Dale Carnegie on you guys/gals, we’d like to offer a thought that will (hopefully) inspire you to come to work every day with a smile on your face and a skip in your step. What are we talking about? Your dream. That glorious idea in the back of your mind that gives you impetus to keep working your “day job” while you imagine this idea coming to fruition.

Whether it’s a film you’ve envisioned, your own album, writing a how-to book or novel, developing a podcast series or maybe starting your own service company, the road to realization begins with your current work. And here’s why: developing your dream requires more than just that Aha! Moment. You need a plan—usually starting with a business plan—and then picturing the steps you need to take to make that dream happen.

As you develop this plan, you’ll want to apply everything you currently do at work: excellence in editing, attention to every detail and superb organization. Oh. And keeping a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) throughout the day is also crucial.

So as you go about the not-so-fun aspects of logging SMPTE codes, filing cue sheets and working on the next quarter’s budget, imagine this is YOUR business. What would you expect of someone working for you on YOUR dream?  What paperwork do you visualize necessary to see YOUR goals materialize? How are YOU going to market your final product/service?

At CSS Music we’ve dreamed of hearing our music in television and seeing our name in that LOOONNNG credit list of motion pictures. And thankfully, we’ve seen/heard both. And we can tell you from experience that keeping a “steady as she goes” attitude and tackling problems as they arise will result in success.

So when you’re laying in a CSS Music track in your next show, keep that PMA and strive toward excellence. It will definitely pay off when you begin/continue working on your dream. From the founder of McDonalds:

"Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." -- Ray Kroc.

July 20, 2017

What The French Connection Taught Us

Silence CAN Be Golden

In 1971 William Friedkin directed the Academy Award winner for Best Picture, The French Connection. This groundbreaking film starred Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider as NYC cops hot on the trail of a French heroin smuggler. American jazz composer/trumpeter Don Ellis wrote the score providing an interesting blend of modern jazz with traditional film underscore elements.

But what really grabs your ears in this film is…nothing. Just the ambient New York City street sounds. And surprisingly, this use of background only, sans music, was used in some of the most intense action scenes. For example, the extended foot chase sequence where “Popeye” Doyle (Hackman) pursues one of the bad guys along the subway line definitely has you on the edge of your seat. And all that you hear is ambience and the sound of running feet; and it IS pulse pounding!

Do you suppose Don Ellis was begging William Friedkin to let him score this scene? Or perhaps he saw/heard the results as inspired genius? Either way, this technique of editing the chase with only the actual sounds can really perk up your ears!

How would you apply this in a reality television show? Here’s an idea: your show has a situation where something has been forgotten and time is of the essence to resolve the situation—maybe someone forgot a particular item or something breaks that must be immediately repaired.

You don’t want to eat up precious screen time dragging out the scene but at the same time, the crucial nature deserves highlighting. By using quick cuts between 1) The people waiting for the forgotten/broken item, 2) The person racing to pick it up and 3) The party who holds the solution, a French Connection mood can be modeled.

Sure, we here at CSS Music are sort of shooting ourselves in the foot (ouch!) suggesting this technique, but we know you’ll want to incorporate many of our fine tracks for other scenes. Plus, you just might find our MAX-EFX library comes in handy as a B roll source. Our goal at CSS Music is to make your productions as creative and imaginative as we can, even it means suggesting the “silence is golden” rule.

July 15, 2017

Perk Up Your Production With Percussion

Why A Good Beat Moves Your Show

Composer Antonio Sanchez created one of the most ingenious scores for the film Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance.) Were there soaring strings, evocative woodwinds and triumphant brass statements? Nope. The entire score for this four Oscar-winning film was played on the drums. And did it ever move this uniquely unusual movie!

 You probably notice percussion tracks adding excitement to films and television shows more frequently these days, particularly in action sequences. Without melodic instruments, two things can be accomplished. First, you can mix the music much louder to intensify a scene and secondly, you’ll find that dialog will (usually) find a perfect place in the audio spectrum to be heard above the drums.

The CSS Music library provides a couple ways to bring you the power of percussion. If you’re looking for a driving Dance groove, there’s typically a “breakdown” section in one of our Club-House-Trance-Electro tracks that you’ll find on our Hand Picked Genre menu on our home page. We also have an entire disc devoted to drums with Super Themes Volume 56 “Drumscapes.” This collection covers everything from hip marching drum lines to cool hip-hop to blazing fast percussive underscores.

Another option that doesn’t quite offer pure percussion but does give you stripped down rhythm mixes can be found in the CSS Music PowerTrax library. In addition to full mixes, each PowerTrax tune comes with a corresponding rhythm mix. You’ll also find some useful mix-outs in some of our latest releases. Simply type “cue” into our Build-A-Search engine and audition some of these odd-length tracks.

Maybe the poor drummer (Q: What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend? A: homeless) will finally get some respect. Whether it’s an African call-and-response, a funky groove or a jazzy drum set like in Birdman, the use of percussion will really add new colors to your shows.