Making the amazing: Sound and music

Spider-man 2 DVD extra feature documentary excerpts
2004.11 (although probably interviewed from early in the year)
We learned earlier in the documentary from the editor that it was he who added 'Raindrops keep falling' to the film.
DE: "It's less time, almost always, on a sequal than the original. At least the three I've done have all been tighter schedules. So the pressure is actually higher and is usually more amusing."
Kevin O'Connell (sound re-recording mixer) and Paul Ottosson (sound designer) make comments about their collaboration with Danny Elfman to ensure music and effects wouldn't cause a "train wreck". There follows some images from the Sony Scoring Stage with orchestra.
DE: "The hardest part of the process is coming up with the tone of the film the first time, the main themes. That part just drives me nuts, so I don't have to go through the same kinda torturous thing. But instead I'm going to be able to do variations. and variations are always kinda fun. Now where I take something and turn it into something fresh or something I haven't done or something I wanted to do on the first one but never got the opportunity to do.
"In the beginning it's always like dipping into a well, and you have no idea how far down you have to go. So it's kind like 'I'm lowering that bucket again' and as many times as you do it you just never know. Am I going to get water right away or am I going to be lookin for more rope and more rope and more rope and still going 'nothing down there'. So that's the hardest part. It's that mystery each time. I once described it, because I was watching a painter friend of mine prepare to get into a body of work and he spent a long time getting his colours and pigments all lined up and all organised together, before he started a single painting, and while I watched him work I realised that's exactly what I do in the beginning. And when it's all completely laid out, it's all organised, I've got a creative thing called 'the template' and I've got all these sounds—'I think I'm going to be able to use that - I need something metal'—and I go through, and 'that's going to work'... so I just lay it all out and then I'll finally staart writing the first cue.
"I looked at the biggest scenes to score at first, but not action scenes. Action scenes are very time-consuming, but they're not the ones that the rest of the score is going to revolve around. I'm going to look for the big dynamic scenes, the big emotional scenes. I usually pick something in the middle of the movie that's a turning point—there's usually some big scene where a major conflict develops—because I now that if I can capture the most difficult cue in the movie [that I could back up from]... then I could go back to the top of the film and start working, not necessarily in order but as much as I can. But I know where it's going because I've already developed what U am now going to start playing with in the beginning, into its full blown version, and I am already confident that it's going to work well."
[Brass shot in action.]
DE: "For a score like Spider-man 2, there are 62 starts, 85 minutes, 60 different pieces of music [one cue sheet is visualized on screen]. I'm going like a freight train I really depend on some help to keep myself organised, otherwise I'll forget whole cues. It all starts to seem like a nightmarish puzzle, pieces are flying all over, and with luck, there's a point when they just seem to come together, and that's the best moment.
"I don't think there's rules for any kind of movies. That's what I learned from my master who's Bernard Herrmann. Growing up on his muic, I learned very early on that there were no rules, period. It's just any rules that you make up—if it works it works."
Visuals from the Sony Studios Mixing Stage, with speech from Ottosson and mixers about their 50/50 trade-off between score and sound effects, which in their opinion is more effects-driven than most films
Back to The Elfman Zone