We are pleased to announce our next guest in the series of Northern Sounds "Meet the Artist" Interviews featuring:
Composer Shawn Clement is a well-known film and game composer and one of the biggest names in reality TV, widely credited for helping to establish the tone and style of the genre's sound. Currently, he has scored two upcoming video games, Ubisoft's animated "Open Season," based on Sony Pictures Animation's first feature-length CG animated film (available Sept. 19, ten days prior to the film's Sept. 29 release) , and Disney's "Kim Possible: What's the Switch?". He also wrote scores for the hit games "The Sims 2" and "Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu.
Shawn studied music at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and moved to Los Angeles and launched his composing career launched soon afterwards. In short time, he was scoring for television shows including some of reality television's first series', "World's Scariest Police Chases," and "World's Wildest Police Videos." As the go-to composer for the reality TV market before anyone knew how successful it would be, Clement is credited with establishing the definitive dramatic musical style of the reality genre and he set the tone for reality TV scores for years to come. In recognition of his definitive style, ASCAP presented Clement with a film and television award for Most Performed Underscore in 2000.
Perhaps Shawn's most notable television series, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," came in the midst of his reality-television reign. The acclaimed cult series proved that his talent extended beyond the world of reality shows. In addition to scoring the series, he returned to his songwriting days to create several original songs for it. Other television credits include "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" and "I'm Still Alive." His expansion into film followed, with film credits that include "2004: A Light Knight's Odyssey" (with John Travolta, Samuel Jackson, Christian Slater, Michael York, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Anne Archer and James Earl Jones), "We Married Margo" (Audience Favorite Award winner at the HBO/U.S. Comedy & Arts Festival), and "Last Chance" (Best Original Drama winner at World Fest).
It is a privilege to have Shawn as our guest. We are now inviting questions for Shawn from forum members. If you have any questions you would like to ask Shawn about his reality TV or game work, projects he is working on, how he scores, the music business, or have any other questions; now is your opportunity to ask him.
At the end of the questioning period, your questions will be presented to Shawn and we will then post his response in interview form. Please post your questions below or email/PM them to me.
Thank you for your participation.
Let the questions begin!
I agree and a privilege to be able to ask questions to such a tremendous talent. Welcome Shawn Clement and congrats for the ASCAP film and television award.
Berklee College of Music is such a great place to have studied, is it possible for you to say what you consider to be the single most important thing you learned while attending there... or what lesson you have found to be the most valuable in your success as an Artist and Composer?
I've watched you name pop up all over the place for the past 8 plus years it seems. Congratulations on such a successful career!
Buffy was an incredible series and a major part of the show was the music. I know Joss Whedon is a musical kind of guy (If you can count `They got the mustard out!' music ) and I wondered if he spent more than the usual amount of time on the series music. How involved did he get with you on creating atmosphere, etc.?
With Buffy you could go from horror to comedy in the blink of an eye. Did this create musical challenges for you?
Thanks in advance for any replies!
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams …
24" 2.4 Ghz iMac, OSX 10.4.10, MOTU 828 MKII, 2 Glyph 250 Gig external drives, Logic 9, Finale 2008 GPO, JABB, Strad, Gro, Reason 4, EWQL Storm Drum, Adrenaline, Symphonic Choirs, SO Gold,All Arturia Synths, Many NI Synths, Spectrasonics Synths, KH Strings, VEPro on a Windows 7 4x 2.8 Ghz 12 gig of RAM
Well, where to start? I'm going to jump all over this since composing for media has been my passion for a long time!
1) How did you initially break into scoring scene? Was it through the video game side or did you do some television work first? How did you get your first scoring job?
2) How do you feel that your education at Berklee factored in to what you do now? Did you also make contacts at Berklee that helped you out when you started working?
3) Do you find that you have a preference for either TV or video game work? The reason I ask is that I've read about some of Jeff Rona's experiences regarding the demanding schedules of working on a TV show (I remember him talking about racing to the FedEx office at the last minute to meet deadlines). Do you find either TV or game work more demanding than the other?
4) I'm a little bit familiar with the process that can go into scoring for TV, but have no idea about video games. Could you explain the process? Specifically, I assume there is someone that fills a director type role. Is there any equivalent to a spotting session, where you get to see the game and how it works before you start writing, or is the music typically developed as the game is developed? Is it like writing a library of music for the programmers to choose from to fit the game scenes? I'm very interested in the details of how this all comes together.
5) Do you use essentially the same set of composing tools for all your scoring work? Would you care to tell us about your setup?
6) I don't know if you have a family at home, but do you think this kind of work would place particularly high demands on family life, or do you have a somewhat regular schedule?
I'll stop there for now. I've got lots more questions but want to let others have a chance
Thanks to both Gary and Shawn for this opportunity!
Do you have any tips for someone trying to break into the video game music market? Is it better to apply to a company or work on your own?
Prowland the posting Ninja
Hey, can you describe to us where most of your sounds come from when you're doing game music? For instance, what sample libraries do you own? Do you own any Garritan libraries?
Thank you Gary for this wonderful opportunity!!
I am in love more with his music than his awards. So i will skip the "how did you get in the game" questions and ask him something regarding composition!
1) With which instrument you tweak your melody first? Do you harmonize it before or after? While composing do you play by ear or write music? Which groups of instruments do you do in different situatons(action, tragedy, mystery, romance)?
And i really can not think of anything right now but i will come later and fix these.
I am wondering what instrument is your major instrument: Keyboard, Clarinet, Trumpet, etc.?
What software do you use to realize your score, or, are you a paper and pencil kind of writer?
And, because I am intersted, who did you study composition from or are you self taught? There were some great composers at Berklee