Film Scoring

and Related Disciplines

What I've learned I know I strive for

I Love to score to picture.  In particular, picture with a compelling story.  In May of this year (2023), my wife and I visited Yosemite in celebration of our Anniversary.  Before leaving home, Bonita asked me if I was bringing our camera? I hesitated, then replied,   “I guess so”.  

The camera that we’ve owned for a couple years is a Sony A7RIII, and I had never really taken it out of the house before.  I mean, why take an expensive camera to schlepp around dirt trails, doesn’t my iPhone take good pictures?  The decision to take the camera would eventually lead to some breath-taking video of spectacular waterfalls, overflowing from the record rainfalls from this winter.  I don’t claim to be an expert photographer, but it’s pretty hard to take a bad picture in Yosemite.

So, I edited the footage that we brought back, and was so inspired to compose a suite comprising four movements titled, ” The Falls, The Trees, The River, and The Rocks”.  I think it’s some of my best work and hope you enjoy the video.

Coming 2024

Still in pre-production, this epic animation of a classic story that I’m excited about creating an original score for, will be my first animated film.

Harvest Movie Poster_1

Score the World - Film Scoring Competition 2023

This was my entry in the 2023 Score the World Film Scoring Competition.  The challenge was to score a sequence of excerpts from the 1939 classic film “The Little Princess” starring Shirley Temple.  I chose to keep the music totally orchestral to match the period and also kept it playful to compliment Shirley’s character.  I also mixed the music at a soft level to ensure not stepping on any dialogue.

So, the votes are in, and I was not selected as a top contender, however, it was still an enjoyable experience and I always learn something.  The judges critique included that I used too many stops and starts in the music.  In my defense, I just scored what they gave me.  After viewing the winning entries, it was clear that the judges favored the big ornate orchestrations, especially in the “romantic scene”.  To be fair, it was common in those days to overplay romantic scenes with lushly embellished arrangements, but my modern scoring sensibility would not allow me to take it there.

In my opinion, none of the winning entries played to the action as well as mine in the last scene where she’s running away.  I think they could have benefited from a few stops and starts.  Enjoy.

Foley The World Contest - 2nd Place Winner for 2022

Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m a sucker for contests that require skill and have cool prizes.  The Foley the World contest proved to be a worthy challenge and I walked away with a bunch of Sound FX libraries to add to my existing arsenal.

The assignment was to create the soundtrack for the provided video of about 2 minutes.  Most, if not all of the clips are from the pre-sound days of cinema.  The video contains a header and a trailer, which I chose to use a modern sound design approach, and the rest is from an assortment of mostly library sound FX clips.  Some of the scenes contain 15 to 20 pieces of audio clips that are edited and have added effects.  The talking voices were done by me, pitched up for the “ice wagon kid”.  It was definitely a lot of fun.

DC's Stargirl (The CW)

The Stargirl video is actually music I did for Spitfire Audio’s annual scoring competition.  I have included it here because it’s recent (2021) and looks better than most of the reels from actual projects that I’ve worked on.  It’s not always possible to get a polished finished product to use for my composer reel.  Even though I didn’t win, I still think I did a pretty decent job, and it stands up well to the one that did win.

The video clip below was provided along with the dialogue and sound FX as part of the Spitfire competition.  With over 4000 entries, winning the prize, which would have been cool, was not my sole objective.  It was a great opportunity to score a network series Superhero action sequence.  My version may be a bit heavy-handed and “over-the-top”, compared to Pinar Toprak’s original score, but I wanted to have some fun with it.  

My personal highlight from the Stargirl reel is the short theme that breaks out when she lifts her scepter to save the school bus full of kids.  Nothing was planned, it was totally spontaneous, and that’s what I love about scoring.  It inspires music that probably wouldn’t have been written apart from the film.  I further developed that theme and used it for the 20-second credit roll at the end of the video.  I may be partial, but I think it sounds as good as the theme they use for the show every week.

Play Video about Stargirl

Film clips and Commercials with RZ Music

Paradise (selected scenes) Lamplight Entertainment

Directed by Jonathan Flora

These are just working clips from the film, before the final mix, but it demonstrates the score pretty well for my purposes.

Jonathan is a brilliant director and provided a playground of opportunities for mixing music and sound design.

When finished, the film won 1st prize at an LA Film Festival.

Cutting Corners (selected scenes) An Excellent Journey Production

Directed by James Choiniere

An unmixed ruff cut for music demonstration purposes.  This was an emotional film which always inspires good music.  Both of these scenes demonstrate transitions that I think work well.  The first scene is notable how it starts with party/lounge music and becomes darker as the scene develops.  

Trailer Music

Dracula 2000 from Wes Craven

This was a trailer that I wrote the music for.  I would have liked to have done some things differently but was under pretty tight direction.  It paid well though.  No complaints. 

RZ Commercial Reel

This is a series of mockup commercials made for commercial pitches.  We created all of the audio using my music and voiceovers by Bonita and myself.  The video is from existing commercials.

Have a Nice Armageddon

This video was made using mostly stock footage with the exception of my brief cameo appearance as the Antichrist.  The original objective was to write some dark scary music, but it’s always easier for me to write certain genres with some visual stimulation, so voila, here’s the result.  By the way, this story is totally fiction.  Any similarity to the real Antichrist or the actual Armageddon about to take place on the Earth is purely coincidental.