My Life in Music: Composer Sandy Herrault

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Some of the most important moments in my life have been when someone asked me a question. When I was 7 years old, a teacher in the Philadelphia public school system queried, “What instrument would you like to play?”  I answered with the only name of an instrument I knew, “violin.”  This started a pursuit of perfection on the instrument and an involvement in area-wide student and adult orchestras in Philly.  After graduating high school, I attended West Virginia University as a violin major.

Years later when I joined a Celtic Rock band, one of my band-mates asked me, “Can you write parts for these pieces?” “Yes,” I answered though I really had no experience at the time.  The next 12 years were filled with writing fiddle parts and solos for various types of bands.  The genres I became familiar with kept expanding.  I currently perform with a modern Celtic Americana band, The Merrows, www.myspace.com/themerrowsband

When I developed an interest in making music for film, I had no idea how to start.  One day I was jamming with a guitarist outside an office building, when I met Composer Marcus Brown.  We discussed music composition for film and Marcus asked me, “Can you write for multiple instruments?”   “Yes,” I replied, thinking, well, I’ve actually never done that, but I should try.  That led to a discovery; if I can envision what I want around a melody line, I can create it.  I went home and immediately started using my composing program to write for up to three instruments.  Then I expanded it, up to seven individual harmony parts.  Yes!

I came to another crossroads when my husband posed a question while I was writing my fourth book of music for violinists. I decided it should have piano accompaniment.  My husband asked me, “Can’t you write your own piano parts?”  I contemplated and responded, “I don’t know, it won’t be easy.”   I should know by now to listen carefully when I hear those life changing questions!  I tried and I am happy to say I wrote the piano parts for Smart Violin Method Book Four, which is going to print in early March 2011.  Details coming soon on www.smartviolin.com

I recently met Filmmaker Steve Gibson, Jr., and was inspired to write music for the Fall of the Hunter’s Moon trailer. Now Steve has asked Marcus and me, “Can you compose the score for the film?”

My Life in Music: Composer Marcus Brown

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My background in music began with the piano at age six.  Like many, I found myself in love with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” and “Für Elise”.  I couldn’t get enough of beautiful piano pieces, despite a host of strict piano teachers. I continued playing however, attempting to wrap my mind around how composers created.  At age 11, I begged my dad to buy me my first trumpet and from then on, my musical world opened up to other genres. I commenced interpreting and writing parts for music around the age of 12, influenced by the sounds of the big band composers and bandleaders ranging from Duke Ellington to Glen Miller.  Since childhood and thereon, I have retained the pursuit of developing and composing music, namely original music.

I have recently been slated as composer for Fall of the Hunter’s Moon, along with Sandy Herrault, arising from a fortuitous encounter with filmmaker Stephen Gibson. Gibson, who listened to the budding elements of my upcoming album, offered me an opportunity to explore my first foray in composition for a feature-length film.

I am currently developing the leitmotif for FOTHM by studying the background of the characters and the music that would seem to fit them. Despite the medium, I approach composing through the eyes of my musical influences, likely to be best described as “engaging a virtual musical avatar”.  In this case, I am attracted to the works of composers and arrangers like Quincy Jones and Ennio Morricone as well as those who faithfully write for film such as Alan Silvestri, Hans Zimmer, and John Williams. Their music spans generations and has transformed how film is perceived. I listen to and study their compositions and ask myself ‘How would they do this?’

Recurring themes are probably my strongest skill as a writer of music. I love the notion of arpeggiation that disappears into a composition, but yet continues to guide or even direct the composition. I am attracted to FOTHM because of the varying thematic elements where I can utilize my musical abilities. The film contains protagonist internal and external conflict, mystery, myth, life and death, and even fantasy. Although each character will have their own musical identity, Gibson’s vision is to bring together all the musical themes at a point during the film. This is excitingly challenging and elaborate.

Film represents an opportunity to reach across borders and boundaries. I have traveled to places in the world to include Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. I have watched many films, without subtitles, in a completely different language that I did not speak. Where language or barriers otherwise exist, the music within a film has the tendency to explain. The music brought me closer to the characters and I was led as a result to understand what the director intended.

I absolutely adore the art of filmmaking and of course am inextricably attached to music. I am honored to have been asked to compose for Fall of the Hunter’s Moon.

LR2 TO LEAD PANEL DISCUSSION AT MOREHOUSE COLLEGE

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L R Squared Productions hosts Micro-Budget, Major Film, a panel discussion led by indie filmmaker Stephen Gibson. Held on the campus of Morehouse College, Gibson and producer John Cleveland will discuss their latest feature Fall of the Hunter’s Moon and the changing landscape of independent film.

If you will be in the greater Atlanta area on April 21st, please join us at 7:00 p.m. for this wonderful event.

In Fall of the Hunter’s Moon, John ES Richardson plays the Shaman of the White Eye Clan, the evil antagonist of the Hunter.  A member of the Haliwa-Saponi tribe, his lineage shapes who he is today.  Below, he shares some of his history with our tumblr audience.

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                                                             ***

Haliwa-Saponi (Saponi means : people of the Red Earth or Red Earth people) are a group of American Indian people who migrated from Fort Christanna in Virginia to “The Meadows” which includes Warren, Halifax, Nash, and Franklin Counties of North Carolina. Native origins descending from Saponi, Nansmond, Tutelo, and Tuscarora Indians give the people its tribal foundation.

According to the 2000 Census, Haliwa-Saponi is the 3rd largest tribe in NC with approximately 3800 people.  They hold the largest and oldest pow wow in the state of North Carolina each year. The Tribe also has a strong government and active community involvement in local, state and national Indian Affairs and issues concerning its people. 

Haliwa-Saponi tribe serves its native community with programs such as economic development, meal sites, day care, housing programs, educational classes and workshops.  Haliwa-Saponi members have established a K-12 charter school in Hollister, NC, where tribal arts, foods, and language are being taught in addition to general educational requirements. 

More information can be found at:

http://www.doa.nc.gov/cia/index.htm

www.haliwa-saponi.com

Watch on lr2productions.tumblr.com

Fall of the Hunter’s Moon Back Story Featurette

Behind the Moon: Casting Director Allison Gaines

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Q:  Your name is Allison, those close to you call you Ally, do you have any other nicknames?
 
A:  Oh too many! Al, A, Ally-Cat is a favorite- Lemon Drop was recently added.

Q:  What were you like growing up, were you more of the dress-up girly girl or a rough and tough tomboy? 

A:  I was the rough and tough tomboy wearing bright red lipstick.

Q:  What was your biggest challenge working on Fall of the Hunter’s Moon [FOTHM]?

A:  Being a part of FOTHM was an amazing experience, however I could do without the 25-30 degree all nighters- I have thin blood. I can accomplish just about anything in warm weather.

Q:  Was working on a Indie Feature something you ever envisioned for yourself? What do you think makes you perfect for your role on the team?

A:  I never envisioned doing anything like this.  But, it seemed to be a good fit because I am open to new adventures, and I love people. I’ve learned so much in a short amount of time.  I enjoy the folks I work with and am learning from. I’ve been able to establish friendships from this experience. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Q:  You’re from Ohio, Is Lebron the villain or the victim? The hero?

A:  In Ohio, Lebron is the villain. [To] me personally, he rose to fame so quickly because he is an amazing ball player. I don’t fault him for having a big head; it’s sort of understandable in his situation, but I think he should just own the villain instead of trying to convince people otherwise. Just follow in Kobe’s footsteps. Be an ass and play some ball. Can I say that? (laughing)

Q:  Haha. Yes- you can say that.  So would you rather go a day without deodorant or a day without brushing your teeth? (sans breath mints, mouthwash, etc.)

A:  I would have to say a day without deodorant. If you stay layered, it can be hidden. It’s difficult to go a day without talking.

Q:  Describe the character in FOTHM that seems most like you. Why?

A:  The character in FOTHM that seems most like me… hmmm… I honestly can’t pick just one. It would have to be a mixture of characters. Suzy is a sweet, easygoing charmer. Alicia is the fashionista that wouldn’t be caught dead in the country and Julian let’s his heart lead him.

Q:  Is there a unique family tradition you can share with us?

A:  When I was younger, my mom would wake myself and my siblings up on Christmas morning playing piano music. That was our cue to come downstairs and open presents- on that cue, my twin would throw up. Every Christmas, never failed. I guess that’s more of a memory.  

Q:  In your wildest dreams, where do you want to see the movie go?

A:  In my wildest dreams, I want the movie to be seen not just all over the country, but in multiple countries. I think the concept for the film is so unique. To see how excited people are at just this stage with only a promotional documentary and a back story featurette, excites me. Considering the limited resources we had to work with, FOTHM is… phenomenal. So many people have demonstrated their love and support in different ways- I can only hope that will continue. Film festivals, premieres, the whole nine. I see L R Squared Productions going very far.

Q:  Seriously, what is up with the dumplings?

A:  Chris Medico* did this to me!!!! Hahaha I have never tasted anything more delicious and the fact that I’m realizing I actually can make it myself makes it so much worse. My sister told me I have “food obsession tendencies.” I really never thought about it until these dumplings came into my life. I’ll make some for you- you’ll see what I mean.

*Chris Medico is our wonderful Director of Photography.
 
The Behind the Moon Series highlights the Cast, Crew, L R Squared Productions, Family & Friends supporting FOTHM.  Check back weekly for new interviews.

Watch on lr2productions.tumblr.com

Fall of the Hunter’s Moon Promotional Documentary

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