Film is the ultimate artistic expression!
A bold statement perhaps? What about music, art, literature?
Well, these along with performing arts are all part of Film, right? And when expressed in the right way and at the right moment, impact upon us far more emotionally than they might singularly.
As a professional songwriter, record producer and artist I’ve made music my life, and yet film is what truly hits all of my senses!
Yes film/TV has all the creative elements throughout, however it’s those special moments I’m talking about… when you are watching a truly great film! You’re fully invested, emotionally charged and then it happens… ‘The Arts Collide’, and hit all of your senses at once!
One of my favourite examples is a moment from the Clint Eastwood film ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ where Francesca (Meryl Streep) is sitting at the traffic-lights behind Robert’s (Clint Eastwood) pickup truck. Her hand poised over the door handle as Robert sits on a green traffic-light waiting for her to leave her life behind and join him. This is a deeply emotional scene that I can never quite get through without developing a jaw cramp and throat hernia!
In this scene the most beautiful music is introduced called ‘Doe Eyes-Love Theme’.
A deeply touching piano and string section perfectly written to convey the emotions on screen. We have of course performance from these legendary actors. We have the written word that has scripted this moment, along with the most beautiful cinematography as we watch Robert’s truck drive away through the rain, out of Francesca’s life, viewed from her rain-splattered side window! All of these arts collide at the perfect moment to create something so much more than their single parts could ever achieve!
Another example of this is from the Robert Zemeckis film ‘Castaway’ when Chuck (Tom Hanks) has finally managed to escape from the island.
Intentionally no music was scored whilst Chuck was captive on the Island. Now at the emotional peak where the audience is vulnerable and completely invested into the story, the beautifully composed and performed main theme written by Alan Silvestri is introduced. With the exception of part-time cat torturers, I defy any human to not feel emotionally moved by this scene! We have all the arts as before with the addition of CGI artists. The subtle, yet powerful performance from Hanks, the haunting images as the island disappears from sight, along with the music create an unexpected narrative. Chuck is happy to have escaped the island, and yet sad to leave the place he has come to know as home.
Which of all the Arts is most important to get right for this emotional collision to work? Music of course! Why? Because one… I’m completely biased and two, because it’s a universal language that speaks the same emotions to (nearly) all humans. Sad/reflective music, like piano/violin is heart-pulling and emotional. Perky ukulele with a joyful whistle (heard on way too many ad’s) is happy/optimistic sounding. Most people feel the same emotions that music evokes (except for me where the latter is just annoying!)
If the music had been, let’s say… dark/menacing during the car/traffic-light scene, Meryl would have had her hand poised over the door handle ready to throw herself out onto the tarmac once her hubby hit 70mph! Tom and basketball friend would have capsized and drowned one mile off shore! If the ukulele/whistle music had been used instead Hanks and ball-friend would have been re-united with their loved ones, free from ‘hell rock’ and lived happy ever-after! Meryl would have been, well… still sad because Clint is considerably better looking than hubby, but you get my point, right? Music makes a big difference to how we perceive a scene.
I hope that this will resonate with you, to become aware of those special moments in film, and inspire you to create your own moments where ‘The Arts Collide’.
Author Greg Fitzgerald joins the Music In Film panel at Raindance Film Festival on Friday 29th October, 2021
Greg Fitzgerald 2021
Record Producer, Songwriter, artist, Mix engineer and Mastering engineer Greg Fitzgerald has worked with major recording artists and record labels. He has achieved No.1 chart positions in the UK, Europe Korea and Australia as well as two top five U.S Billboard chart positions.
Greg produced and Co-wrote the title track for Kylie Minogue’s ‘Fever’ album, which has sold over 8 million copies worldwide. Additionally ‘Fever’ won a ‘Brit Award’ for ‘best international album’. Greg also Co-Produced and Co-wrote ‘Burning Up’ from the same album, which featured on Kylie’s ‘Showgirl’ tour ‘mixed with Madonna’s Vogue. ‘Burning Up’ was also used in a ‘Slim fast’ Television advertisement campaign in the U.S.A.
Greg produced & Co-wrote ‘Forbidden Fruit’ for Jessica Simpson’s album ‘In This Skin’. Album sales exceeded 7 million copies.
Greg’s production music has been synced globally for companies including –Sky-BBC-NBC-Ch4-Discovery-ITV-Ford-Audi-Footlocker. His portfolio continues to expand.
Additional credits/Collaborations include:
Madonna ‘Revenge’ (co-write with Madonna & Rick Nowels)
Daryl Hall & John Oates, 3 tracks on ‘Do It For Love’ album co-production/writing. 500,000 sales+
Tina Arena, Production & co-writing on 4 albums. Sales 100,000+
Di-Rect. ‘Hungry For Love’ Co-write (#1 Holland)
Avicci, Lulu, Atomic kitten, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Holly Valance, Cathy Dennis, Jamelia, Emma Bunton, Gareth Gates, Sarah Whatmore, Heaven 17 & many more…
Recent Music Work:
Writer for Warner/ Chappell ‘VIP POP II’ album
Writer for Universal Beach club album
Writer for Warner/Chappell ‘Prisms’ album
Producer/Writer Lucy May-Little By Little (album)
Writer for Warner/Chappell ‘ Tropical House’ album
Writer/Producer for Warner/ Chappell ‘VIP POP’ album
Remixed ‘No Way’ & ‘Always Love You’ for Gilbert O’Sullivan achieving radio 2 A & B list.
Co-writer ‘bump It’ Girl’s Generation ‘Lion Heart’ album. Billboard # 1
Writer/Producer/Performer Mr G Sings-‘The Caged Bird Sings’ Ultra Records.
Producer ‘Rhydian’ 3 tracks -Carry The Fire-album
Writer/Producer/Performer -Universal production music ’24 hours of dance’ album.
Producer- Jain Wells- 2nd studio album (title TBC) Choiceless awareness records
Mix engineer-Rhydian ‘One Day Like This’ ‘Various tracks #1 classical chart
Producer/co-writer Lucy May ‘Paper Heart’ ‘What you looking At’ & ‘Dishonest things’. Released Jan 2013
Producer/Co-writer- 2 tracks for Natalia Druyts album ‘Overdrive’ #2 Belgium
Writer for Universal Production Music ‘Dark Cool and Cinematic 3’ album. Released Early 2013
Avicci. Vocal Production
The Noisettes. Production/charity record
Writer for Universal Production Music ‘Boyz Vs Girls’, Big Vocal Shorts, and Clubland 8 albums. (Release 2012)
Writer for Warner/Chappell albums ‘Indie Nite Out’ & ‘Clublogy’ (Release 2012)
Produced Jain Wells ‘To Be Real’ album for Choiceless awareness records (Release 2012)
Producer -Rhydian ‘Waves’ album for Conehead UK (Released August 2011)
Producer- The Saturdays ‘Had It With Today’ Geffen Records
Composer- original soundtrack for ‘The Estate’ feature film. (Released July 2011)
Writer for Universal Production Music, ‘Essential Underscores’, ‘Clubland 7’, ‘Grand-Stage Hip Hop’, and ‘R&B Flavours’ albums. (Released 2010/2011)
Co-producer/co-writer Natalia Druyts ‘Wise Girl’ album for Sony/Bmg #1 .The first single ‘All Or Nothing’ featured on ‘Spion van Oranje’ movie