I wrote an extremely long e-mail to marinshellstone yesterday about how I felt about the score she had provided for me for The Early Mixes. She was very thankful and asked if I could whittle my epic down to something manageable for her website. I took a machete and condensed everything down to the two paragraphs that now appear on her testimonial page. What I originally wrote went a little bit more like this (it has been edited):
As you know, The Early Mixes premiered before it's first real audiences on Friday night.marinshellstone will also be having a composition performed by the Reno Pops Orchestra for one of their upcoming Composer's Night series. Congratulations!
As profuse as I have been thus far with praise for your work, it has not been enough. With your score, people came away from the film satisfied and commenting on the humor and the drama. You helped to maintain the film's proper focus.
I am not alone in how I feel. Both Dan and Sandy were absolutely floored by what you produced, and it was very vindicating in some ways to hear their brand new reactions to scenes they'd seen a thousand times already. Dan has told me that he will never again question how different a scene can be made by the proper music choice, and Sandy couldn't help but complement the skill of the musicians every time we did a pass on the film.
After the screening, there was quite a bit of praise for the score as well as the songs.I consider this to be complementary as I don't necessarily subscribe to the notion that the best score isn't consciously perceived. We made decisions that would specifically call attention to the score, not least of which was the idiom itself, which most decidedly kept the score discrete from the songs to give the internal life of the characters its own voice. And it seems to have worked.
To be frank, the kind of feedback I was getting was so positive that I can't help but feel that the score played an important and conscious role in people's enjoyment of the film. I don't have to tell you how important this was to me. You know I live, eat, breathe and sleep film music, and that telling a story with images and music is central to my interest in filmmaking. With that said, I also know that I bombarded you with tons of suggestions and comments, knowing that if you had taken all of them the score would have been too unwieldy to make any sort of coherent sense. I figured you could tell the good ones from the bad, and you did. You provided me with a score that was everything the film needed.
But you did something more than that. You saw things in the film that I didn't and played on them. You had ideas that were your own and you ran with them. You built on some of the suggestions I made to go off in a completely different, but much better direction. I had a grand total of one comment about the mock-ups, which was essentially asking for more music. That was it because when I heard the mock-ups and saw/heard what you were doing, I knew you had a firm handle on everything.
You didn't just compose and record the score I needed, you surprised me — ME!!! — with how much a score can accomplish for a film. You gave me more than I ever could have expected, and added dimensions to my movie I didn't think possible. If I had faith in you before, I have nothing but the deepest respect for you and how you approach your craft now. You're freaking amazing, and that's all there is to it.
This has meant so much to me. Every time I see the film I am filled with pride that this wonderful music is the score for my film.