The surreal nature of animation often allows for (indeed, often requires) music to take a more active role in the story-telling than in other genres of film. The music can often be highly stylized, and often needs to give the audience more emotional cues than in other forms of cinema, since we're not viewing live actors onscreen. I've been fortunate enough to work with some amazing animators on projects that allowed me a lot of creative expression. Here are some of my favorites.
The Thomas Beale Cipher
For this highly-acclaimed experimental animated short film, I used a combination of brass quintet and electronic instruments, to support the film's raw, rotoscoped visual style.
American Refugees: The Smiths
American Refugees is a project for Seattle University and sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to educate people about the changing nature of family homelessness in America. The Smith's had a distinct childlike hand-drawn visual style and a highly emotional narrative, told from a ten year old child's point of view. I chose to score the film with flute, harp, cello, bass and electric guitar in order to support the wide range of emotions the film portrays.
American Refugees: The Beast Inside
I chose to use beat boxing in the score, to highlight the interview subject's passion for hip hop and beat boxing. The idea worked so well that the director got American Idol finalist Blake Lewis involved and we collaborated on the opening sequence. In addition, I took sound design elements, such as footsteps, cars, and fast food noises and incorporated them into the score.
American Refugees: Super Dads
My score to this wonderful stop-motion film features everything from emotional underscore to circus music.
American Refugees: Home for Sale