Roller Coaster Awards and Screenings

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Roller Coaster Awards and Screenings

Since its premiere in Hollywood last November, the short film Roller Coaster has been on quite the ride, playing in film festivals nationwide and picking up some awards along the way.

Upcoming Screenings

If you're in one of the following areas, there are some upcoming screenings!

Jersey City, NJ
Sunday March 6, 2016 12:40pm

Brightside Tavern Film Festival
141 Bright Sreet
Jersey City, NJ 07302

 

Pasadena, CA
Wedesday March 9, 2016 7:45pm

Pasadena International Film Festival
Laemmle Playhouse 7 Movie Theater
673 East Colorado Blvd,
Pasadena, CA 91101

West Chester, PA
Saturday April 23, 2016 9:15pm

West Chester Film Festival
Chester County Historic Courthouse
2 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19380

West Chester, PA
Sunday April 24, 2016 2:30pm

West Chester Film Festival
Chester County Historic Courthouse
2 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19380

Awards!

I'm excited to share that Roller Coaster has received numerous awards these past few months, and even more excited that a few of these were for my music score!

International Independent Film Festival Awards

On March 4, 2016, Roller Coaster chalked up FOUR awards from the  International Independent Film Festival Awards in Encino, CA. The film won Silver Awards for Narrative Short (executive producers Jared Odrick, Karl Holtz, Rolando G. Vega; producer Bradley Hawkins; assoc. producer, Michael Ortiz) Directing (Bradley Hawkins), Actress in a Lead Role (Sarah Hawkins), and Original Score (Jim Casella).

Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards

On Feb. 21, 2016, Roller Coaster added two more awards to its growing collection at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards in Hollywood. The film won for Best Comedy/Dramedy (exec. producers Jared Odrick, Karl Holtz, Rolando G. Vega; producer Bradley Hawkins; assoc. producer, Michael Ortiz) and for Best Actress (Sarah Hawkins).

IndieFEST Film Awards

On Nov. 16, 2015, Roller Coaster won five International IndieFEST Film Awards
just one week after its Hollywood Premiere! The film was honored with Awards of Merit for Short Film (exec. producers Jared Odrick, Karl Holtz, Rolando G. Vega; producer Bradley Hawkins; assoc. producer, Michael Ortiz), Direction (Bradley Hawkins), Editing (Daniel Hoppes), Music Score (Jim Casella), and Sound Editing/Sound Mixing (Tyler J. Bailey).

For an ongoing accounting and to listen to the original score, visit the Roller Coaster page.

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How to be Bored

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How to be Bored

This is worth a listen. Extra credit if you listen to the whole thing in one sitting without clicking away to anything else. 

This book by Eva Hoffman (scheduled to be released in March) touches on a topic that many of us can relate to in an over-stimulated era.

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Stormbreak for Orchestra

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Stormbreak for Orchestra

I recently finished work on an adaptation of Stormbreak for symphony orchestra. This piece was originally written for medium-easy percussion ensemble (with optional wind ensemble accompaniment) and it's been a popular piece in the Tapspace catalog.

This new version maintains most of the approach of the original but adds a slightly new twist to the middle section where the snare, toms, and timpani players each take a small solo. It makes use of a lot of col legno from the strings, adding to the percussive nature of the piece.

I created this mock-up recording in Logic Pro X using Virtual Drumline and various string, brass, and woodwind libraries from Cinesamples. Since the piece is primarily a stand-alone percussion ensemble and the orchestra is added to it, it can get a little thick and heavy-handed at times. A lot of music I write ends up this way. The insecure part of me struggles with this. My rational side recognizes that this is just supposed to be a fun, educational piece that hopefully keeps players and audiences engaged. 

This version of Stormbreak was commissioned by Nathan Matherne from the Cibola High School Symphony in Albuquerque, NM. It will be performed at their New Mexico State Orchestra competition in April 2016.

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The Eternal Domi Síbe

The Eternal Domi Síbe

In 2009, I composed a piece for percussion ensemble called Compound Autonomy. I recently recalled something about my naming process of the piece. 

I'd practically forgotten about this (or maybe I'd hoped to erase it from my memory), but when I first wrote this piece, I had subtitled it The Eternal Domi Síbe. Here's what that's supposed to mean. 

Much of the foundation of the piece is based on a repetitive pattern of the solfège syllables "Do" followed by "Me" (the minor version of "Mi"), in a pattern of 7 beats. "Síbe," roughly translates to "Seven" in German, the language spoken in Zürich, Switzerland - home of Nik Bärtch, the composer whose music inspired me to write this piece. 

Whew...talk about an intellectual exercise! Reflecting on this, it seems really contrived to manufacture such a complicated, mysterious-sounding subtitle. I love Nik Bärtch and his music, but I never used solfège nor do I speak German. Get over yourself, dude! 

I'm glad I didn't publish it that way. The finalized subtitle "for percussion ensemble" does the trick just fine. Hopefully the music will speak for itself without needing to allude to some sort of forced meaning.

I made a Thing

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I made a Thing

This summer, I had the privilege of working with one of my childhood band directors, Bradley Hawkins, composing the music for a short film that he wrote and directed to feature his daughter, Sarah Hawkins. The film is called Roller Coaster, and it contains hardly any dialog at all, which means the musical score had to maintain its own role as a sort of character in the film.

Having not worked on a film project in a while, it was fun (and challenging) to dive back into this process. The film's Hollywood premiere is occurring next week on November 11th, followed by a Bay Area screening on the 22nd, and hopefully a bunch of festivals after that! 

The original score is now available here, along with more info about the film.

 

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Peru Amazon Jungle Sounds

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Peru Amazon Jungle Sounds

While spending time in the Peruvian jungle, I captured a variety of impromptu sounds of the area and combined them into this one recording. It takes me right back! This was recorded low-tech on an iPhone in the Amazon rainforest near Iquitos during the summer of 2015.

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Humanizing Virtual Drumline through Doubling

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Humanizing Virtual Drumline through Doubling

Virtual Drumline sounds quite realistic out of the box, but with some sequencing trickery, you can make it sound even more so. A few months ago, we wrote an article about Humanizing Playback in a Sequencing Application. If you haven’t read that, be sure to check it out. This trick is going to rely on you knowing those skills!

In this article, I'm going to show you how doubling or tripling a track using different patches can bring more life to that part. The best part is, it’s really easy! For the sake of illustration, we'll focus on four measures of a marching snare line track in Logic Pro. 

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Hyundai NCAA spots and Making Of documentary

Hyundai NCAA spots and Making Of documentary

This summer, I was hired by the Santa Monica music house, HUM, to arrange the music for a national Hyundai/NCAA football campaign. As is often the case with commercial work, the timeline was very tight. The finished product features a voiceover by Jeff Bridges and a full marching band arrangement of “Saturday Night” by the...

Virtual Drumline help

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Virtual Drumline help

I receive a lot of questions about the sample library I developed with Tapspace called Virtual Drumline. It seems that many of the questions involve implementation within notation programs like Finale or Sibelius, and because percussion mapping and notation can be somewhat complicated, it can lead to a bit of a learning curve if you're just getting started.

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