24 Nov 2017

Tom MCLEOD: Cut to Music

From Resound, 9:05 pm on 24 November 2017

This audio is not downloadable due to copyright restrictions.

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Luke Dollmann. Recorded by RNZ Concert, 1 September 2010.

Tom McLeod

Tom McLeod Photo: Tom McLeod/Duo Photography

Tom McLeod’s musical background spans many worlds, bringing a diverse range of influences to his work in film and television, theatre and orchestral projects. In 2015 he won the “APRA Best Original Music in a series" award at the APRA Silver Scrolls for his score for the TV show Girl vs Boy. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including The Phoenix Foundation, Tim Beveridge, and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

About 'A Hero’s Tale', Tom says, ‘the piece was commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra for a new kind of short film film competition they were running at the time - one in which the composer gets to write the music first, and everything else follows. When I was asked to create a score for a new kind of film competition – one in which the composer gets to play a pre-emptive role in the creation of the film – I drooled over the limitless possibilities. No story to contend with, no action to hit, no structure to abide by, and a brief as broad as “Pixar meets a light comedy Ben Stiller film” – no problem!

Some considerable hours later, there I was staring at the blank page. Should it be a light-handed romantic comedy or an over-the- top farcical comedy of errors? Was it Meet the Parents or A Night at the Museum? Was it Finding Nemo or Ratatouille? Well, maybe I could just cover them all. In six minutes. Soaring. Epic. No problem!

But really, who can afford to make expensive, epic short films? Surely the score would need to accommodate a more personal, intimate, quirky or simple story? Hmmm. More blank pages. If only I knew what was going to happen, when, where, and to whom. And then it hit me like a John Williams symphonic stab... I could create a six-minute story of my own! I could invent some characters, some action, and most importantly – I would know what kind of film I was writing. Brilliant! Several hundred attempts later, I realised why they actually have writers. I decided I had to keep it simple. How about we just make it a tale about a hero? A romantic, quirky, intimate, slightly fantastical, epic, farcical comedic kind of hero... film. Six minutes long. No problem…’

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