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Topic: First Comedy Cue

  1. #1

    First Comedy Cue

    Hi all,

    Well, this is my very first attempt at a ‘comedy’ cue (so be gentle… but firm). I have to admit it has been fun to get out of my comfort zone. The libraries used are:

    • GOS
    • PMI Steinway
    • Vota
    • LOP (bass drum, tamb, triangle, cymbals)
    • Roland JV Orch card (still planning on getting QLSO or Vienna)

    This is a short 1 minute (1.4 Mb) cue at a point in the film where ‘church goers’ are over the top acting immature and ridiculous (thus the Celesta handling the melody of this old time Hymn – “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day”). This particular hymn is a comedic element in the screenplay as well.

    You will probably hear my HUGE need for a solo string library (had a violinist try to record it last night and it didn’t turn out so hot – he said I was possessed for writing such a part). It really isn’t that difficult, though. Solo string recommendations would be appreciated (with this film’s meager budget I have to save all my ‘live musicians’ monies for Sharmy’s Do-bro guitar )

    Certainly compositional and mixing ideas would be appreciated (I did a very quick stereo mix into SX).

    Go here:


    Then click “Heard the Bells – Comedy”

    Many thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Hi Rob,

    You\'ve already made me laugh. Using VOTA in a comedy piece is enough to crack me up :-) Too bad it\'s so far down in the mix. I couln\'t pick it out.

    The mood definitely comes across as comedic. No problem there. And the implementation is really well done. Very nice. And the violin sounds real! :-) :-) :-)

    The only weakness to me is that it may be *too* comical, but that depends upon the scene that acompanies it. If it\'s really mad cap - pies in the face and such - then I think that this would work very well. If the comedy is more restrained, then this may be too fast and energetic. I think it\'s the tempo that concerns me the most. You want the music to support the scene - but not to drive it.

    I like the double-reed/pizz section the best, followed by the bent notes on the violin. Those parts are quirky without being clown-like. I like the fast flute part the least. It sounds almost maritime. But even the parts I like seem a bit *too* up tempo without the context to back it up.

    I\'ve written just a handful of short comedy cues (my first ever composition for \"film\", well, home movie), and the context was more of a dark or sarcastic comedy. I\'ve written squat for light or madcap comedy. So don\'t take my feedback too seriously. (Ba. dump.)

    And check out the Spider! thread for an example of Kirk Hunter\'s Solo Strings, though it\'s anything but light comedy. The library includes both up and down slides, which may work well for comedy. The violins are on the bright side (to some - not me), but then you wouldn\'t want a dark sound for comedy, would you?

    Finally, are there any movie scenes that are similar to the scene that you\'re composing for? You might check how those composers approached it, and how well their tempos and intensities worked with the scene. The film that comes to mind for me is Rat Race. It\'s zany, with a group of people acting nutty. But I have no recollection at all of the score.

    Best of luck in getting it \"just right\" with a minimum of changes.

  3. #3

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Hi Jon,

    Thanks alot for the great suggestions. I have had this piece at a number of different tempos and this one fits the madcap scene the best but I also have contemplated using a very slow to accelrando version as well. That also worked. I haven\'t showed this to the director yet. I will slow it down a few bpm and give it both ways. Again good idea.

    I\'ll check out Kirk\'s Library. I\'d really love to find a solo string library that would do comedy AND Schindler\'s style (I know, I want it all -- just cheap. [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] )

    VOTA is just on the opening and closing stabs - probably could bring them out more - I just thought they should be \'nestled\' for this piece. I usually have them at \'in your face\' levels.

    Thanks again Jon.


  4. #4

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Kirk has written me that the update will include a \"Gypsy Violin\" sound, recorded from a Cappa, rather than the Strad of the main library. It will include various runs and arpeggios as well as some very heavy sustain notes played on the higher registers of the lower strings. That may give the library the variety needed for your range of styles. If you keep your melodies in a limited range, you can also use the upper register of the viola, rather than the violin. Kirk\'s viola is really great at producing a mournful sound.

    In a week or two, I should have time to do a thorough review of the library. Needless to say, it will be positive (and also honest - like all libraries, it has its limitations and shortcomings). And, no disclaimer needed. I\'m just a happy customer.

    And good luck with the director. I\'m sure you\'ll make him a happy customer as well.

  5. #5

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Originally posted by JonFairhurst:
    Kirk has written me that the update will include a \"Gypsy Violin\" sound, recorded from a Cappa, rather than the Strad of the main library. It will include various runs and arpeggios as well as some very heavy sustain notes played on the higher registers of the lower strings.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">That sounds terrific. I will be eagerly waiting for your opinion after having gone through it completely.

    BTW, I want to thank you for your comment of letting the scene drive the music and not vice versa. It was amazing the scene played out better with a slightly slower tempo.

    Thanks again.


  6. #6

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    How are the samples working for you, Rob?

  7. #7

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Hi Craig,

    Thanks for the nice comments. There will be at least another 4-5 cues I\'ll need your dobro talents on. Also I have a \'title track\' pop tune that I\'ll need 6 string and lead on.

    I am really looking forward to one or the other (Vienna or QLSO). I see that Maarten has done an adaption on \"Peter Wolf...\". Probably want to buy it after I hear that.

    Hi Frank,

    I just got the gig files - I will load them up this afternoon and report. Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.


    PS: I just noticed that this cue has a low level (around -3dB). Is anyone (or everyone) running their \'stereo pan law\' at 0 dB?????? I don\'t want to lose \'space\' and proper panning but this level seems low to me.

  8. #8

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Hi Rob,

    This is wonderful. So bright and such tight production. Are you using a jv-1080? If so, what orch card? I think there are a couple...

    Also, sorry for the dumb question, but I tried to save this, but when I clicked file>save as, \"save as\" after the entire piece was loaded and reset to play, \"save as\" was greyed out.


  9. #9

    Re: First Comedy Cue

    Hi Joanne,

    PARTY!!! I got a call from the Director and Screenplay writer/co-producer yesterday saying that I got this film!!!! Thanks to everyone for helping me not sound so clueless.

    As far as the JV card, it is their \'orchestral card\' (not sure what it is called - but should be listed on their site.) Hope this helps.

    The file should save (it was an mp3). I am not sure what is going on there (see how clueless I really on this puter stuff.)

    Thanks again for your comments.


  10. #10

    Re: First Comedy Cue


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