The Penultimate Draft – Blogmas #5

I’m at (fingers crossed) the stage of the penultimate draft on this project. Between the last draft and this one was a massive overhaul in tone to really shift the vibe of the film to a far more dark, serious and ominous arena.

Penultimate drafts are a funny place to be. I’m close to the final score, but there are places where I’m still not sure if I’ve completely nailed the tone the director’s after. There’s a little bit of apprehension – how much is left to do (probably not that much), do I have enough time to complete it (of course!), will I have enough time to play around with the polish and mix, which is really the most fun bit (hope so!)…?

This last part – the polish and the mix – is where all the music starts to feel real. The strings are usually where the most love is needed. I sketch strings with a sample library that demands very little of my computer, and then I swap or layer them up with more realistic strings and soloists to give it that human feel. If I have time, I’ll record in some violin for any particularly exposed corners. On larger budget projects, I’ll send off parts to a solo cellist or even get an ensemble recording.

Then the mix seats all the various intruments in their own space in the frequency spectrum and stereo field, so the blend and stand out as needed. I love to get stuck into mix – it’s so satisfying to hear it all come together.

But for now, I’ve sent my penultimate draft out into the ether for feedback notes, so I wait. And try to think about anything else til I hear back.

Image: bouncing down this penultimate draft

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