Year Review 2013

This is the part where I sign off for the current year and write a review for 2013 – in a similar vein to my previous review from 2012.

Well it’s been a busy year one way or another – juggling family life, film-making and full-time work.

Let’s start with the fact there has been a large array of talented individuals who have passed away all leaving behind large irreplaceable voids. Elmore Leonard. David Frost. Tom Clancy. Roger Ebert. Iain Banks. Alan Whicker. Far too many to write about here – therefore I will just mention a few who were personally significant to me. It begins with the recent announcement about the sublime Polish composer Wojciech Kilar – who wrote some particularly stunning scores including The Pianist. I first discovered him on Bram Stroker’s Dracula, this score is a massive favourite of mine.

Then there was the amazing trumpet player Derek Watkins who had the honour of playing on EVERY official Bond score from Dr. No all the way up to Skyfall. This is some achievement considering the variety of composers over the years. For me, he is that brassy Wah-Wah Bond sound –  it is never going to be quite the same again without him.

In May the king of stop-motion Ray Harryhausen passed. He created many of the most iconic movie monsters – for me there is still something about stop-motion which is always going to trump cold and clinical CGI (even if I still can’t quite put my finger on it!).

A number of high-profile actors passed including Dennis Farina, James Gandolfini, Joan Fontaine, Karen Black, Marcia Wallace, Mel Smith, Paul Walker, Peter O’Toole, Richard Briars and Richard Griffith. The largest shock for me was in the form of Lewis Collins (best known as Bodie from The Professionals), who I think would have made a superb Bond and marks a serious missed opportunity for the franchise.

January saw me join SoundCloud under the pseudonym Satorious. Little did I know that music composing was to be my main focus for 2013. My music composition is all from an untrained ear which develops every day (and hopefully also improves?). I’ll openly admit that some of my compositions still require further work/tweaking. It began with a very basic lullaby (written whilst lamenting the fact my children don’t want to go to sleep most evenings). I had no idea where this might take me. I guess I could have predicted back in May this was the way I was heading – but for some reason it still wasn’t entirely clear in my mind. By October I had pretty much worked it out!

Personally I feel the tunes are not a popular part of this blog. I will monitor how future releases go – but have something waiting in the wings for 2014! In this time I orchestrated some pretty dodgy renditions including things I really shouldn’t mess with such as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The renditions have always proved more popular than my original material (perhaps unsurprisingly) – but I cringe at them! 🙂 I’ve tried to counter this by linking the tunes in somehow – usually via some casting  announcement for Doctor Who or Batman.

If asked my which my personal favourite compositions were for this year, I’d go with Hostile Takeover (in terms of how much fun it was to write) and Petal (which is just special as I wrote it with my daughters in mind).

I also did some film scoring over the year – off the back of Legacy in 2012 (which was a difficult but ultimately rewarding score to do). Film scoring is still the area I enjoy most. I even managed two instances of “speed-scoring” for After the Bombs and the International 48 hour film-making challenge (which turned me in a Zombie!).

Speaking of Legacy, the film won the Audience choice award in the Cardiff short-film festival. Audience choices award have a tendency to be more of a popularity contest, but to be fair – this wasn’t the case for Legacy – so the win means a tremendous amount to the team. Thanks to anyone who voted!

The other significant film-related things which happened in 2013 included:

It wasn’t all successes however, at least one project has fallen by the wayside – The Lonely Bear. This said, I have revisited past projects on many an occasion – so don’t write this off yet!

My blog is still somewhat random and I appreciate that not everything will be of interest to everybody. Therefore one of the changes I made during the year was to use tags to order things. In case you hadn’t already noticed you can click “Blog Index” at the top which presents you with a list of topics:

What do I hope for 2014? To be honest I felt 2013 was a crowded and difficult year – it was unstable and largely unfocused (despite the successes mentioned). My priority is to address this instability and do further work with film scoring and on local projects which allow me to spend more time with my family. Hopefully it will be a much quieter but more focused year. As keen as I am to direct again (and have a project in mind), the timing isn’t quite right. Fingers crossed everything might ultimately slot into place before the end of 2014. And with that, I sign off from 2013 and I wish all of you who read my ramblings – the very best for 2014 – hope you all have a brilliant one!!


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