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Thursday, 8 September 2016

Ever wondered how film music is composed? Private visit with composer at his studio

Film Music does so much, meet one the great composers.

With composition work that stretches from the film Nativity, to Disney, to cartoons, corporates and comercials to working with Status Quo doing the score to their feature film Bula Quo, Mark Blackledge has done a lot and worked with many of the best musicians. He has also composed the music for both Doris Shades Of Bad drama series and Doris Visits.

So in this unusual 'Doris Visits' film, Doris (actress Jean Heard) heads out to the East Of England and spends the weekend with composer and orchestra conductor Mark Blackledge and wife Maryam. Then on Sunday morning she manages to get a very rare interview with the man in his writing and recording studios.

They talk about music composition for film, TV and Shades Of Bad as they have now done three feature films together as well as the web TV series and travel show spin off. His music has been more used in the Botanical Garden films of Barbados and St Lucia (and one in the edit on Tortola BG) and it is creeping in more to all the films. Click this paragraph for the Botanical Garden playlist which features much of Mark's music.

Actress Jean Heard has known Mark for 20 years, he has composed the music for the INDYUK films she has co produced, Freight with ICON, Bula Quo with Universal and Devil's Gate which was signed to an American company that went into bankruptcy, (which now they have back and hope to put on Amazon).

The music from Shades Of Bad helps lift the web TV show to a level way above the current web TV show, maybe other web TV shows do not consider music and sound enough. Mark's sound design in episode 13 was quite brilliant. He plays the music and breaks it down talking about the key changes and moods he produces.

Mark has now supplied Jean with a library of music cues that she lays on after each edit, but up to about episode 30 Mark did the complete sound design as well as composition.

Mark has also done other major films and TV from Nativity to many US cartoon shows some which he was never allowed to take the credit for, but that is the business and it now affords him to pick and choose what he does, sitting at the grand piano in his recording studio space which could house a mini orchestras or a large band comfortably, or on his mixing suite with screen projection on the wall opposite his desk which he also uses to remotely watch the musicians he mixes.

This is a very rare and unusual insight into film composition and Mark's methods. Good post production means better pictures.

On to Cromer

Doris then leave Mark's house and travels to an old dancer friend who worked with her in the summer shows that were part of pier entertainment at UK holiday resorts. She arrives in Cromer and find there are links with her lecture series that she has on Royal Mistressses, as Cromer was one of the hide-aways where the King met with actress Lillie Langtry. 

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