"Sounds Perfect" at Cannes

I am deeply honoured that Sounds Perfect, a film that I wrote the music for and that has already appeared at a number of festivals, has now been selected for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in France this month. SoundsPerfectCANNES

The film, an adults-only comedy, was made for the inaugural Tropfest NZ Festival in 2012 and was a finalist, winning several awards. It has since gone on to play at about seven festivals around the world.

Dave Dobson is a self -proclaimed 'audio enhancement engineer' in the film industry. While his uninspiring workmates are happy to churn out the same clichéd slaps and squelches film after film, Dave hears a higher calling.

I put the music together in a matter of hours (they got it to me a day before it was due) and it definitely isn't characteristic of any other writing I've done but it makes me laugh and serves the film well.

It's amazing how we creators just do what we do and then sometimes a film just gets picked up and has a life of its own.

Cannes takes the cake, but it is also about to screen in the:

  • Wet Your Pants Comedy Film Festival in Indianapolis
  • Iron Mule Comedy Series in New York
  • LA Comedy Ninja Film Festival

Congrats to the Sideways Team (www.sidewaysproductions.co.nz). Bring on our next project!

"On The Rocks" off to Tropfest!

On The Rocks

An accidental ‘serial pet killer’ thinks his luck has changed when he stumbles across a beautiful mermaid – but he soon finds she’s no fairy tale girlfriend.

Just before Christmas I had the pleasure of working once again with the guys at Sideways Productions on the music for their new short film, On The Rocks. After having great success with our efforts last year on Sounds Perfect...

  • Official selection, AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2013
  • Official selection, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Official selection, WAIROA MAORI FILM FESTIVAL (NZ) 2013
  • Official selection, imagineNATIVE
  • Winner, best actor, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Winner, best Maori director, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013

...the pressure was on. But we're very happy that On The Rocks has made it again into Tropfest with its world premiere being on 16th Feb at the TSB Bowl, New Plymouth.

If you're around New Plymouth, go and check out the festival.

"Sounds Perfect" goes to Austin

I am super proud of my friends at Sideways Productions who are enjoying success with their film, Sounds Perfect, including selection for the Austin Film Festival. Sounds Perfect wins!

  • Official selection, AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2013
  • Official selection, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Official selection, WAIROA MAORI FILM FESTIVAL (NZ) 2013
  • Official selection, imagineNATIVE
  • Winner, best actor, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013
  • Winner, best Maori director, TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND 2013

Dave Dobson is a self –proclaimed ‘audio enhancement engineer’ in the film industry. The adult film industry. While his uninspiring workmates are happy to churn out the same clichéd slaps and squelches film after film, Dave hears a higher calling.

I did the music - an interesting mix of styles and themes.

It's a hugely enjoyable yet slightly disturbing watch. Not for younger viewers or those with sensitive eyes!

The best of 2012

2012 was a year full of great things, cool things, intriguing things, wonderful things and things to completely knock your socks off. Here's my list of the best (musical and digital) things of 2012. MUSIC BLOGS

Sibelius 7One of the first things I do each day is read all of the blog posts that are waiting eagerly for me in Google Reader. There are three feeds that, without fail, I will read and learn something from every time.

  • Of Note - a Sibelius and Finale blog by the legendary Robert Puff.
  • Sibelius Blog - hints, tricks and interesting stories about Sibelius by Philip Rothman (originally Daniel Spreadbury).
  • Technology in Music Education - if you're a music teacher of some description you'll love hearing about how the latest technologies can be used in music education.

MUSIC BOOKS

behindbarscover I'm usually not a big reader of actual books but there are some that sit pride of place on my shelf, actually, only when they're not sitting open on my desk.

  • Behind Bars by Elaine Gould - my bible of music notation. I'd really love a digital version too!
  • How to Write for Percussion by Samuel Z Solomon - the title sounds very underwhelming, but is a wonderfully comprehensive guide to writing for percussion.
  • Essential Dictionary of Orchestration - mine is looking old and tatty - a good sign! It's an essential reference for instrument ranges, general characteristics, tone quality descriptions, technical pitfalls and more.

MUSIC RESOURCES

SpotifyThe internet is just one big overwhelming resource! There are four in particular that I have used a lot this year and deserve a mention.

  • Spotify - gone are my days of wasting money buying music only for a specific occasion or to only listen to a few times. Now I can access everything, anywhere, for only a small fee.
  • MusicNotes - I've been buying a fair bit of sheet music lately and you can't go past MusicNotes for the best range, quality and easiest website.
  • MacProVideo - a massive range of resources for users of pro audio (and other) software.
  • MusicPrep.com - has wonderful resources for Sibelius and Finale and even links to books on scoring, notation and orchestration.

MUSIC INSPIRATION

YouTubeYou're procrastinating and you find yourself mindlessly surfing the internet - these are probably the places where I would end up.

  • Scoring Sessions - for any orchestral film soundtrack fan this is a wonderful site of photos, news and videos from scoring sessions in Hollywood, London and more.
  • YouTube - most of the world's pro audio software and hardware companies have channels on YouTube. A recent great watch was the Vienna Symphonic Library Artist Videos.
  • TED - amazing talks from amazing people.

MUSIC SOFTWARE

Pro Tools 10Most of my job would be a nightmare, or quite simply not possible, without the help of some wonderful computer software so a much deserved shoutout goes to them.

  • Sibelius 7 - they've had a rough year but a big salute goes to the number one notation software.
  • Logic 9 - the stalwart DAW in my studio, always impressing.
  • Pro Tools 10 - a new acquisition and some great projects done already, clearly some big steps forward since I last used it a few years back.

MUSIC APPS

FiReI rely on my mobile device rather a lot, here's my top three "I could not live without" music apps. I did a full post on musical iOS apps earlier in the year, click here to visit it.

  • FiRe - a professional field recorder wonderfully adequate to do a great recording when out and about.
  • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music - dealing with music notation and teaching students all the time means I'm always checking this great app.
  • Dr Betotte - a metronome like no other. 5 volume sliders and mute buttons to, tap tempo, halftime feel, adjustable swing feel functions, multi beat mode...

CLOUD SERVICES

EvernoteThe "cloud" is a hot word at the moment and rightly so - there are some fantastic ways how you can have your data anywhere, anytime and on any device.

  • Evernote - probably my most opened app. Most databases, documents, lists and resources are all on Evernote and thanks to the cloud they are all universally accessible.
  • Dropbox - constant backup of my system and access to it anywhere via the iOS app. Also great to email large attachments to clients for download.
  • Xero - my in-the-cloud accounting software. I can write and send invoices, amongst other things, on my iPhone and have access to it at all times.

WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

mailchimp-logoEvery musician needs an online home and maintaining mine, learning about the finer details and marketing it is a real hobby - three things make it an absolute joy.

  • Wordpress - always makes developing the website a breeze. Special mention goes to Automattic who has produced many of my most loved plugins this year including the breathtakingly-good VaultPress.
  • MailChimp - I have a newsletter, which evidently you can sign up to here(!), and they always impress me with the service they provide.
  • SoundCloud - could easily fit into several categories mentioned in this post, but I'll add it here. I remember the days when it was such a huge deal (and sometimes expense) to embed audio on your website, but now SoundCloud makes it quick and easy and it looks beeeeautiful.

I hope you enjoy checking out some of these. Got any to add? Leave a comment below.

I survived 2012. This is how it was!

The New Year means it's time to have a look back over the past year and see, through my blog posts, what has taken shape and what I have to say for myself! January started with a very well deserved "Shout-out to VaultPress" after they marvellously got my website back up and running after a meltdown!

3100508059_5c99a0f9e1_zFebruary is the start of the school term and I posted about the preparation work I do for schools.

My typing fingers must have been tired at the end of March - it started with two popular posts, iOS apps for music professionals and Digital music stands vs iPads, following on from, again, two very popular posts I did in 2010.

2012-05-15 APO Open Days 236

Following that were four posts on current projects - "Working on workshops" looked at some teaching workshops I was involved with, "An opportunity to make the floor rumble" talked about my upcoming new work for the Auckland Philharmonia and the Auckland Town Hall Organ. I conducted at the Bay Of Plenty Music School once again and my post, "Bay Of Plenty music school hit Rotorua!", pre-empted my visit there, and finally "Opening up an orchestra" reviewed the first two Auckland Philharmonia Open Days were I ran the "meet the composer" area.

In April I reviewed my time at the Bay Of Plenty Music School in "Making music in Rotorua" and posted photos in "Checking out the pipes" after an inspiring tour of the Auckland Town Hall Organ.

My Confession image May is music month and "A month of New Zealand music" checked out the events me or my music was involved with. It's also 48 Hour Film Festival time and our film this year was "My Confession…".

In June I talked about my involvement with Auckland Symphony's "Night Of The Proms" concerts in "Promenading in the colony" and I posted "Questions for a composer" after answering questions for a student's school assignment.

In July I posted my one word review of each piece from the "Nelson Composers Workshop 2012" where I was very happy to go this year as a mentor.

APO "Tiraki" workshopAugust is KBB Music Festival time and I also posted on the ongoing saga regarding the future of Sibelius in "What the heck is happening with Sibelius!". My piece, Tiraki, started to take shape after another workshop with the Auckland Philharmonia.

September was rather dormant on the blog front but in October I reviewed “What Lurks Among Saints” after being invited by a student I met earlier in the year.

The-Hobbit1In November I had the privilege of "Playing my role in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", and I posted about the experience.

December was busy with a number of projects. In "Little pieces of Christmas" I talked about a bunch of Christmas arrangements I did for the Auckland Philharmonia and Auckland Symphony orchestras. I also talked about a film I was involved with, called "Sounds Perfect" and its selection into the Tropfest final in “Sounds Perfect” to be in a final". I then prepared music for some very fine New Zealand singers and talked about it in "Preparing for some legends!".

christmas-musicFinally, no year is complete without a "Merry Christmas" post thanking you for all of your support during the year and the compliments of the season.

Another year ticked off the list, another year doing my absolute dream job - let's get ready for an even better 2013!

"Sounds Perfect" to be in a final

I recently wrote the music for Sounds Perfect - a short film by Sideways Productions which has made it to the finals for Tropfest New Zealand 2013. Tropfest International is the world's largest short film festival. Sounds Perfect image

Dave Dobson is a self –proclaimed ‘audio enhancement engineer’ in the film industry. The adult film industry. While his uninspiring workmates are happy to churn out the same clichéd slaps and squelches film after film, Dave hears a higher calling.

A disturbingly amusing and enjoyable film.

All finalists will be screened at an outdoor gala event at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, on Sunday 27 January. This is a free event and you are welcome to come along, bring a picnic and join in that buzz that is the inaugural Tropfest NZ screening. The winning film will be announced on the night. Venue opens at 5pm, films start 6.30pm.