“Lunar/Solar” for Orchestra

Lunar/Solar was my last assignment from my Berklee Online 2022 Winter Semester. It was my final project for Composing the Orchestral Film Score.

Over the course of the semester, we had to submit evidence of the various stages of composing a film score which would be recorded by a live orchestra (woodwinds in pairs, 8 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, 3 percussionists, and strings). I also added sampled piano, harp, and choir. We had to pick one of two “scenes” (there wasn’t actual footage, just the timings for a made-up scene) to score, and I chose the one about an alien invasion (instead of a car chase). The assignment for week 2 was to write a memorable melody and counterline, which I wrote with the intension of using for this piece. In the following weeks I had to submit a sketch, a mockup, a score, a full set of parts, and a Pro Tools session. Once all of the materials were submitted, there was a remote recording session with Budapest Scoring. There is also video footage of the recording session which I will edit together and sync with the recording once I have more time (probably not until after I am done with my Berklee program).

Here is a synopsis of the scene that I “scored”.

Aliens have set up a military base on the moon under a protective shield and they are planning to attack and invade the Earth. Thousands of fighter pilots from Earth, including our heroine Jane Sweeney, are sent on a preemptive attack. Unfortunately our ships are no match for the aliens’ advanced technology. After the battle, only about one tenth of our shops are left. Jane sees that the sun is erupting with solar flares, and even though she is being chased by enemy fighters, she manages to use the reflective shield underneath her ship to redirect the radiation from the solar flares at the moon base. The aliens’ protective shield shuts down and they are forced to evacuate and return to their home planet.

Jane receives a hero’s welcome as she does a victory lap around the Earth. She is awarded the highest medal of honor at a ceremony in a massive sports arena, which is broadcast around the entire world.

Here are the timings that I had to hit in the “film”.

0:00 — Music in on Jane’s reaction to noticing the solar flares.
0:07 — Jane’s ship hit by alien firepower.
0:10 — Cut to Jane’s reaction of concern, warning lights blinking in the background.
0:17 — Cut to Jane taking evasive action to shake the alien fighter off her tail.
0:19 — Cut to solar flares erupting.
0:22 — Jane suddenly flips her ship to redirect the solar flare radiation.
0:24 — Explosion on the moon and the dissolution of the artificial atmosphere.
0:26 — Cut to aliens panicked and gasping for air.
0:28 — Cut to alien ships evacuating and flying away.
0:30 — Long shot of Jane flying back to Earth.
0:31 — Fireworks explode. Jane flies overhead.
0:35 — Cut to TV screen in restaurant. Newscaster’s DX: “What a victory for humanity today . . . ”
0:38 — Jane flies overhead.
0:41 — Fireworks explode (Jane flies overhead).
0:54 — Fireworks explode (Jane flies overhead).
1:01 — Dissolve to interior of sports stadium with thousands cheering.
1:05 — Cut to Jane in uniform, sitting on stage with Planet Earth’s dignitaires who are dressed in full regalia.
1:09 — Jane stands up and pauses to soak up the moment.
1:15 — Planet Earth’s most distinguished dignitary places a medal around Jane’s neck.
1:17 — The stadium erupts with cheers.
1:20 — With a big smile, Jane waves to the crowd of thousands cheering her.
1:24 — The camera starts to zoom out on Jane, further and further until Earth is just a spec in the vastness of outer space.
1:30 — Music out on cut to first title card of end credits.

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