Category: Music Composition

Editors are storytellers – A tribute to Taylor Hawkins

Editors are storytellers.

Post production editors, mixers, motion/graphic artists, animators, composers, cinematographers, directors, and other creative technicians often work in secluded rooms using creative vision as a compass. It’s not for everyone, but for some, it’s the only thing they could ever envision doing.

Please excuse the sharing of someone else’s work, but when I saw this tribute piece for Taylor Hawkins I was floored. I don’t know who produced and edited it, but we rarely do, do we? It hits all the right notes and deftly combines the emotional impact of losing such an inspirational figure with the artistry of this production to generate a visceral reaction. The rhythm, the shot choices, the length of each shot, the song, the timing, all of it comes together to say what words never could. It tells a story succinctly, passionately, honorably and completely.

Music is what got me into this business and it’s what prevents me from ever leaving. I have to be close to it. It’s the same for many of us. As a vo artist/audio post mixer (and drummer) navigating a career path through the intersections of creativity and commerce, it hasn’t always been an easy business to be in. But I couldn’t imagine it any other way.

RIP, Taylor Hawkins. Thanks for the music and the joy. And thanks to the lifers in this crazywacky business who remain unsung, which is most of us. And we’re fine with that. #postproduction

The Genius of Jonny Greenwood

You love film scores?  You love the music of Radiohead?  You love the musical compositions of Johnny Greenwood, guitarist for Radiohead?  Ok then.

Ashton Gleckman is a composer who produces a series on YouTube call “Art Of The Score”.  If you’re a film score nerd you’d love it.

This episode is all about Jonny Greenwood and features analysis of and commentary on his compositional approaches and techniques used in scoring films such as Paul Thomas Anderson’sThe Master” and “There Will Be Blood“, “Spencer” about Princess Diana, “The Power of the Dog” and “Phantom Thread“.

Also, Johnny’s solo album debut and soundtrack to the documentary Bodysong.

Video Game Promo for “Hidden Deep” – Jay Smack VO

This is a recent promo trailer I voiced for the video game “Hidden Deep”.  Video games and the media associated with them are a massive industry and a huge part of the voiceover and post-production world.  It’s always a blast to work on a new project with game developers.  Their imagination and vision is incredible.  When you first receive a script for a part, whether it’s a trailer like this, or a part for a character, you don’t always have the benefit of a treatment, a video or even an illustration.  It’s up to you to interpret their vision and bring it to life while enabling it to match what will eventually be a (virtually) living, breathing character with a backstory.  It never gets old and it’s always a challenge.

Another interesting aspect, as an aside, is the audio, music and sound design.   As a post production mixer and musician, I hear elements of Ableton Live in the production.  If you work on Ableton you’ll hear some of the sounds and instruments.

Hidden Deep website

Steam online gaming platform

Musical and visual tribute to science fiction writer and philosopher Stanislaw Lem – Jay Smack VO

Sometimes you get to play a small part in a big deal.
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Highest gratitude and respect to composer Norbert Palej, whose breathtaking composition “Return From The Stars” provides the emotional foundation for this production and informed the narration.
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About the piece: This beautiful tribute to science fiction writer and philosopher Stanislaw Lem is presented by the Polish Science Fiction Foundation in collaboration with Ars Activa. It features footage from the European Space Agency and an introduction from the International Space Station by astronaut Thomas Pesquet.
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Shout out my voice acting coach Nancy Wolfson. We’ve worked on vo for this exact type of production in which the goal is to serve the images and the music and remain (almost literally) invisible. I still find voice acting, every aspect, fascinating, and I try hard not to get in the way, but rather do justice to the vision of the writers and producers.

Werner Herzog’s Review of Trader Joe’s

This horrifying dystopian scene is Werner Herzog’s retelling of his experience at Trader Joe’s market which was actually written by Paul F. Tomkins in a satirical review intended to reflect Herzog’s less-than-cheery persona.  Click here for an article on Tomkins and the review and Herzog’s reaction upon finding out about it. It’s not for the faint of heart or those with a fear of crowds, confined spaces or humanity in general. Werner wrote the review.  I did the voice, sound design and ambient music.  The performance is not an impression of Herzog, but was inspired by the fake review.

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