Friday, 30 August 2019

Film Scoring Update: "Charlie To The Rescue"






Filming "Backyard Gothic" is a slow and tedious task, between getting people together and working on the right dialogue, but as a labour of love, I'll get there by hook or crook.

I would consider myself a competent composer, who enjoys leitmotifs. Leitmotifs, I suppose are a character theme. As ambient soundtracks take hold - themes hold less weight. It's now more about atmosphere and sound fx. Which I've no qualms with. There are some truly wonderful examples of it out there. But for my little short film, I wanted it to be a throwback to the John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein sound. You know the 80's / 90's BIG sound with leitmotifs galore?

Now, I am not comparing myself to these guys, I am not anywhere near that level but as a reference, there are none better. I also want to use as little hybrid sound as possible. Keeping the electronic sound from the orchestral. I am employing at points but for a retro sound, they are kept to the bare minimum.

I uploaded a version of "Charlie To The Rescue" a little while back and surprise, surprise.....it was missing something. The entire scene is basically child vs The Big, Bad Wolf and it needed more "Oomph!". I added some trumpet triplets and the ominous bad guy motif at the start, with some marching snares deep, but noticeable, in the mix. It's a piece I'm very proud of. And I can't wait to start editing it into the scene.







Tuesday, 25 June 2019

BACKYARD GOTHIC

Growing up, most people would have been aware of their local "haunted house" in the neighbourhood.

As a young child in what was then, a very different Jobstown in Tallaght back in the late 80's - early 90's. There was Wolfy's house. It was the house of a man that went mad, turned into a wolf and killed his family. It was said on nights of the full moon, you could hear him scarpering around the rooftops in search of his next victim.

Of course, as a child - the original story was much more convoluted and scary. Mainly due to my older sister's gift for embellishing upon it.

However it was a story that always stayed with me and recently, it resurfaced. My music has been coming to the fore in various places so why not take it to the next level? Why not create a short movie inspired by the above story, that will engage the viewer and I can add my own sonic touch to it? It's not hard to make a film, with a slight bit of know how and understanding of the various techniques, all learned through trial and error over the years - I'm confident. Not overly so. It's a low to no budget movie which will be heavily dependent on quite a bit of charity and goodwill but if I get my passion across (and guilt several family members) it is entirely possible. Full credit to family and friends, they are always game for my mad creative tangents. The star will be my young nephew, Paul. Who's cheeky, a lunatic and most important for the role -  has a big, huge heart. The premise is a well used one, hopefully with a fresh take: "What if your neighbour was a werewolf and, nobody believed you?" I'm feeling a fun Goonies meets Fright Night (the original) vibe

 I have fleshed out the story over the bones of the last year and created a poster along with soundtrack leifmotifs for the various characters. I'm looking forward to filming over the next month or so. Laois is an actual goldmine of beautiful and interesting locations that will be well suited to the story so am genuinely excited about getting this up and running.


HERE'S THE POSTER I CREATED, MAINLY FOR MY AMUSEMENT FEATURING OUR HERO IN A NO NONSENSE POSE,  CREEPILY WATCHED BY THE ANTAGONIST........




Wednesday, 17 April 2019

TOP TEN Result: The International Horror Hotel Film Festival Scoring Competition.



Celebrating a little victory is important!

1. It makes you feel happy.
2. It gives you motivation to keep going.
3. It builds your confidence.

And boy, is this true! To be specific, I came 9th (yet to be officially revealed) but judging by the number of last years highly commended numbering 20 outside of the top ten, I am gonna celebrate this like I made it to the podium!

I generally suffer from extreme self doubt when it comes to my work (I'm not complaining, I believe it helps me improve  every day) and this was a welcome and timely email to my inbox at a time when I'd been feeling a little jaded as regards to where I am and where I'm progressing - i.e work.


I actually submitted the work last year and immediately doubted the mix after sending it (I was right, I'm never happy) and kept half an eye on proceedings and then slowly..... forgot about it.


I received the email yesterday morning and scared my wife by almost somersaulting out of bed - she forgave me, don't worry. I'll post a link to the video here:Phil McClean - Horror Hotel Scoring 2019


Granted the awards presentation and subsequent screening is in Ohio, so unless I can grow money, I'll be celebrating in the Old World with a certificate and a tasty drop of whiskey come Friday when my next day off arrives. Until then I'll be grinding my teeth in retail hell and and cleaning up the loose ends for "The Last Illusion".


Thanks for reading. And more importantly, thanks for listening.


P.S. The above picture was taken by my favourite human, once upon a time in Vegas. In it I'm drinking the most expensive Jameson I ever paid for. It was the last time I felt this rich, albeit more for achievement than cash - but I'll take that anytime!


Cheers.






Monday, 15 April 2019

The Last Illusion (Final Renders & Update)



Am busy mastering the final renders of  "The Last Illusion" and am decidedly pleased with the forthcoming results. My original vision of pseudo ethnic with classical sounds has remained true. And there is metal, crushingly heavy at times but those times are rarer than I originally envisioned but as a result those times are immediate and incredibly effective.

When I started to write this piece (All 13 and a half minutes!) I had a sound in my head almost immediately - Jerry Goldsmith meets Danny Elfman sharing a pint with old school Korn. Not that I'm fit to shine the shoes of those mentioned but the core sound is in that ballpark. I even surprised myself with a cool Jazz trio sound at one point. I call it J(Ass) as I am only a pretender in the Jazz genre.

Next up is a bit of a photo shoot, nothing pro - just a bit of fun to accompany the music's eventual upload into cyberspace. For now, maybe I can pique your interest with the leif motif titles and description. Early reviews have been promising and flattering. I trust it's not just lip service!


1. A THEME FOR HARRY D'AMOUR / MAGIC TRICK (0.00)
2. SECRET MEETING / DEATH FROM ABOVE / INTO THE MOUTH OF MADNESS (2.08)
3. MEETING DOROTHEA / DEAD MAN'S LETTER (3.47)
4. HARRY'S NIGHTMARE (5.31)
5. VALENTIN / SWANN'S BACKSTORY (7.03)
6. ALLEYWAY CHASE / INTO THE MOUTH OF MADNESS II (7.51)
7. BYRON THE POET (9.31)
8. THE BETRAYAL (10.33)
9. D'AMOUR VS HELL (11.06)
10. THE LAST ILLUSION (12.10)

1. Experimental, Gothic, Ethnic.
2. Classical / Electronic Hybrid
3. Gothic / Classical
4. Gothic / Epic / Choral
5. Piano / Ethnic
6. Gothic / Epic / Metal
7. Cool Jazz
8. Classical
9. Gothic / Epic / Metal
10. Classical / Electronic Hybrid



Monday, 11 March 2019

TECH NOIR update


                                                                                                                                       

So am currently hard at work on Tech Noir's final track and to say I'm sorry I started it would be a lie but to say I'm sorry I announced it before finishing it, would be the truth! This e.p. is a world away from "Heresy", which was pretty much an all organic musical affair (guitar, bass, mandolin) bar drum machine and a (now defunct / well retired) Yamaha keyboard.

The focus on this was more on technology driven music without losing the human heart of it. Recent listening forays into synthwave and electropop have been a major influence. Also the subject matter ranges from loss of human connection by technology and fun instrumental asides to pure, insane obsession. With a tasty amount of swearing. I'm such a rebel. Looking to having it finished by the end of March. Anybody with a passing interest can send an email to philmcclean@hotmail.com or find me on Facebook and send me a pm. Thanks for reading and more importantly, thanks for listening,

Phil.

Track Listing (subject to change)

I.   WE ARE AT WAR
II.  GOT NO TIME
III. I'VE MET MORE MONSTERS THAN I HAVE MET HEROES
IV. TECH NOIR: A THEME FOR KEN COLTON
V.   LOVE LETTERS FROM A CRAZED EX
VI. PULL ME APART (GENERATION CYBERBULLY)

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Big year, big plans!

So, first of all, happy new year to anyone reading this. It's been a while since I've been on here. A big 2018, gives way to the promise of 2019 and I assure you that behind the scenes, I've been working feverishly as ever.

Having gotten hold of some quality synths, I've been experimenting no end this January, rediscovering my love for Vangelis and Heavy Metal (eclectic, I know) along the way. The first piece, albeit rehashed, of the year has been thrown out there "A Theme For Ken Colton". A tongue in cheek tribute to a colleague and friend of mine. But this is only the tip of the iceberg and I have my fingers in quite a few pies!

Speaking of fingers, I've been blighted by pain in both hands which is quite severe at times, particularly in the cold. I'm not one to self diagnose but it could be a touch of arthritis. It's affected my guitar playing quite a bit but due to the miracle of programming and copy and paste, it's next to unnoticeable. Just a case of looking after myself more as regards to diet etc (fish oils, ugh).

For now, I'm back and more inspired than ever, thanks for reading and more so - thanks for listening.
Take care and a very happy new year,

Phil.