Music is the soundtrack of your life. – Dick Clark
Ever since I could remember, I’ve been fascinated with music. How it’s made, where it comes from, how artists are inspired to create it and how it inspires others in their own creations. MTV furthered that fascination by giving my childhood not only a soundtrack, but tiny little movies to go along with the music that was always around me. I can recall a scene from a video just as readily as I can recall the lyrics from a song or the exact moment where a guitar solo is supposed to begin.
When I began working on a movie back in 2009, I was drawn to the project because the writer/director had the same feelings about music and sound as I did. He wrote the script with certain songs in mind. Songs that evoked a feeling and helped to convey the emotions of the character. Songs that make you want to curl up and cry, jump up and shout at the top of your lungs, or simply observe the moment and let it sink in quietly.
Through the progress of making the film, I gained an even stronger appreciation for a good movie soundtrack (and also how hard it is to get rights to a song). Lucky for us, we were able to secure a very important song (Iron and Wine’s “Radio War”) for a critical scene, and that success was exciting. It was nice to see that our creative process was being honored by a well-known musician. It made us feel legit…real…alive.
When I watch a movie now, I pay very close attention to the soundtrack and how it affects my experience of the film. Does it pull me into the story, or does it break me away? Is it the inner voice of a character, speaking through another medium and giving himself the freedom to say what he otherwise cannot? Does it make me recall my own life and how the song has been a part of it? Is it a new song? In a different language? Does it even have words?
All these things swim around in my head and it gives me a deeper appreciation for the art of movie making. The thought and consideration that is poured into every second of big-screen glory. It’s a beautifully choreagraphed dance by many people, most of whom you will never see or even know about…but they all matter. Their creativity and inspiration is seared into it, giving it life and breath and depth, creating a moment in culture that expands the human experience and our understanding of one another.