In the spring semester of 2007, composition major David Martina gathered a group of composition students to discuss the possibility of initiating a campus organization that would address film music. David stated, “We envisioned an organization that would educate students about the realities of the film scoring industry, providing them with educational resources, a better understanding of how the film business works, a chance to interact with professionals in the field, and an opportunity to interact with other departments on campus, primarily the film department. In addition, we sought to involve film directors as well as composers, so that film directors would gain a better understanding of how the visual and audio elements in film work together.”
Working with Conservatory faculty, primarily Robert Denham and Mike Watts, the student-led Film Music Guild (FMG) was launched in 2007. The Guild meets regularly, featuring guest speakers who cover a wide variety of topics. Past speakers have included film composer Brian Tyler (“Constantine,” “Eagle Eye,” “War”), J.A.C. Redford (“One Night with the King,” orchestration for “Wall•E”), and Mike Watts (Conservatory faculty member; orchestration for “ The Passion of the Christ,” “Bruce Almighty”). Guild meetings regularly attract 20-40 students. In addition to presentations by professionals in the field, the meetings serve to connect student filmmakers and composers. The Guerilla Film Society, a student filmmakers’ organization, recently co-hosted an event with the FMG which featured guest speaker Mark Joseph, who has a wide range of experience in media, including consultant/development for “The Chronicles of Narnia,” “Holes,” “Amazing Grace.” According to Dr. George Boespflug, Director of the Conservatory, “ The interaction between Conser vator y composers and student filmmakers has been a Conservatory goal, and the Film Music Guild is providing an additional link to foster greater connectivity between student composers and directors, as well as the Cinema and Media Arts Department and the Conservatory.” In addition to serving composers, the FMG offers filmmakers a musical perspective on filmmaking. Filmmakers are encouraged to look at film in musical terms, and include music in the storytelling process.
As well as learning about the craft of film composition, composers are learning about the business side of the film industry and the importance of networking and marketing their abilities. Along these lines, guest speaker Lisa Margolis (Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Warner Bros.) addressed the issue of licensing rights for pre-existing music. The FMG has fostered a spirit of collaboration within the student composer community and with student filmmakers. That, combined with educational opportunities, makes it an important resource for all composition students interested in the film industry. “We expect the Film Music Guild will grow and flourish and be part of the Conservatory landscape for many years to come. We are grateful to David and associates for launching this important student organization, ” stated George Boespflug.