Why I Love Collaborating With Directors

Graffiti: Together, We Create! on a brick wall

Just to get this up front and out of the way: this isn’t some sappy loveletter. It’s not, “I love directors, they’re so creative and visionary and I couldn’t possibly do what I do without them,” blathering piece of sales rubbish to make you want to hire me (though that would be good, the hiring bit).

This is the real reason I like collaborating with directors:

Directors are a source of raw materials, just as the music I make is a source of raw materials for directors. The raw material could be a film or a theatre piece or just a brief for any kind of project. read more

Blank Pages and Creative Angst

Manuscript Music Ah, the blank page. The start of a project.

It’s hideous.

Totally over the excitement of being offered the project, accepting, signing on the dotted line… I find myself here. Again.

So much potential – for both fabulousness, and failure.

Sometimes you just have to make a start no matter what. It is sooooo much easier to keep going once that first move has been made.

Easier said than done, though, right? (We’ve all been there.)

I wonder why we put so much pressure on ourselves, why we care so much, for the first draft to be so good? If it’s complete arse then at least no-one else needs to hear it. read more

Just Because You Don’t Like It, Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Music

I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve heard a friend, in response to a piece of music or film or some other piece of art, proclaim, “It’s rubbish,” (or use much stronger language šŸ˜‰ ) when actually what they mean is, “I don’t like it.”

That bugs me a bit.

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not losing sleep over it.

“It’s Not Music”

However, what really gets my goat is when someone will simply write off a piece that doesn’t fit their specifications for tunes that they enjoy listening to by the sweeping statement: “It’s not music.” It drives me up the wall! read more

Finding Unexpected Inspiration

Inspiration, the source of creativity. I would say that mine usually comes from the film or script that I have in front of me, or conversations with a director. These are, at least, the most obvious source.

Unexpected Inspiration - Ladybower Reservoir

This morning I drove from Sheffield to Manchester for my final day working with Slung Low at the Lowry theatre in Salford. During the last two days, Slung Low has working with drama students from Salford and Oldham Universities researching and developing the war show ‘Beyond the Front Line’. read more


inspirationĀ n

  1. stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity
  2. the state or quality of being so stimulated or aroused
  3. someone or something that causes this state
  4. an idea or action resulting from such a state
  5. the act or process of inhaling; breathing in

From English Collins Dictionary – English Definition & Thesaurus

Inspiration is a pretty essential requirement of getting the most out of the job as a film and theatre composer. It’s definitely possible to compose music without it, but where’s the fun in that?Ā Inspiration is the moment where the idea flashes into your mind that gets you all fired up about the potentials and possibilities of the project ahead; it should the motivation behind your actions.

So what inspires you? What is ‘breathed into’ you that makes you want to create? read more

Do You Live Your Life Creatively?

Had to share this blog post about creativity and the myths that surround it: Myths about Creativity | Tickled By Life, by Shalu Wasu.

Go have a read… then come back here if you like. šŸ™‚

I particularly enjoyed reading his attitudes about the application of creativity to all aspects of life, not just so-called creative jobs:

“To be alive is to be creative and to be creative is to be alive”.

I’m constantly grateful that my work insists on creativity as a pre-requisite, but do I apply it to other aspects of my life?

Hmm… my schedule is certainly very creatively arranged at times! Perhaps I could be more creative when performing music that I’ve played many times before, instead of going through some of the same habitual motions of bowing patterns and vibrato. How could I be more creative with my relationships with other people? Or with the structure of my day? With how I engage with the world? read more

Early Bird or Night Owl?

Or more specifically – do you work better in the morning or later in the day, or later on, into the evening? It appears I’m definitely the former. I’ve left it until the evening to write this blog post and it’s proving a lot harder to form some sort of coherent structure!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a lie-in. If I had the choice I’d sleep late every day. But in attempting to get up consistently early the last few weeks, it’s patently obvious to me now that my mind is clearer and I work faster and more efficiently in the morning. I’m making the comparison with today: I woke up an hour later than usual. That may not sound like much but it feels like I’ve been playing catch up all day (despite leaving this post until the evening to make up a bit of time). read more

The Usefulness of a Chord Progression

It's verrrry difficult to copyright a short chord progression, say, of four chords or thereabouts. In fact it's impossible. Having a music composing mental block? Go find a chord progression from your favourite piece of music...