“Toys in the Attic” and “Assassins” for Orchestra

Toys in the Attic and Assassins were my last two pieces from my Berklee Online 2022 Spring semester. They were my two projects from Orchestrating the Film Score with Live Sessions. Similar to Lunar/Solar in Composing the Orchestral Film Score, I had to submit evidence of the various stages of composing a film score which would be recorded by a live orchestra, however in this class there were two recording sessions: one for strings and another one for woodwinds, brass, and percussion. I had to pick “scenes” to score, and I chose a horror movie scenario for the string session and a montage for the woodwinds, brass, and percussion session. Again, I had to submit a sketch, a mockup, a score, a full set of parts, and a Pro Tools session for each piece for the remote recording session with Budapest Scoring. I will also be editing videos of the recording sessions for these two pieces once I have more time.

Here is the scenario I chose for my string session: “Teen ghost hunters searching the attic of an abandoned mansion, looking for signs of a young changeling poltergeist that’s been encountered by several late-night visitors. All of a sudden, every toy in the attic springs to life, and the kids run for their lives!” I ended the piece with music that is supposed to signify that the kids have been turned into toys by the changeling poltergeist. I also had to make it a “hybrid” cue by including sampled instruments or synths. I included snare drum, bass drum, and prepared piano.

For my woodwinds, brass and percussion session I chose a “Montage of professional assassins preparing for a hit.” I chose to take an “Assassin’s Creed” approach to the scenario. This cue also had to be “hybrid” with the addition of sampled strings, in order to make it a full orchestral cue. In previous recording sessions, I noticed that the drums tend to be very boomy and bleed into all of the other microphones, so I had them muffle the drums with towels (except for the timpani). This gave the drums a dry, punchy sound which I liked and it was much cleaner when mixing afterwards.

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