Eight-year-old Jack and his Dad sit in their ‘Rocketshed’; a garden shed they’ve converted into a rocketship. The countdown timer ticks down. Two minutes. Not long to go now.
When did you get involved?
I worked with Dom on one of his comedy projects called Jam Session. I actually only did the music for one scene on this, a sort of over-dramatic fall where I wrote some heavily emotive music to accompany the fall of the character Rocky Rhodes – not too dissimilar from when Gandalf falls with the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring. That project came together quickly and it wasn’t long before Dom reached out to ask me to do some orchestral music for his next project, Rocketshed.
What made you decide to work on this project?
This was such a heart-warming project and also a huge tear-jerker! Rocketshed has an interesting blend of excitement and tragedy, combining child-hood innocence and a fatherly sense of responsibility. It was a very short film, but there was a lot in there to grab hold of musically. As you can tell, I was just excited to have the opportunity to work on it.
Going into the project, what direction did you take initially?
Dom wanted to create a playful atmosphere at the beginning of the film with a more emotional undercurrent developing as the plot moves forward. We didn’t place any existing piece of film music in as reference tracks, in fact we turned to children’s production music for the opening scene. I took some lead from the instrumentation used and repetitive and catchy nature of the rhythmic elements.
How did this evolve in the final score?
This method wouldn’t work as the narrative expanded beyond Jack’s playful excitement. I used a simple piano melody to pivot towards something more emotional. Towards the end, we knew we would like to explore a sweeping orchestral build. I was listening to a lot of Ennio Morricone at the time. The evocative score to the Mission has to be one of my favourite Morricone works, so we decided to play with a solo oboe line leading the rest of the orchestra.
What did you find challenging about creating this score?
Because the film was so short in length, there wasn’t much room to connect the characters to the audience. I had a very small window to get Jack’s excited anticipation across before the seriousness of the situation unfolded in his father’s eyes. The narrative had quite a lot of dialogue so the musical material had to move quickly from underscore to the foreground with a fair bit of fluidity.
What stood out as working really well in this project?
As the orchestra washed over the scene towards the end we didn’t want it to compete with the SFX. So, we left out percussion and other rhythmical factors that would just clutter the audio space. In the end this was really effective as it left room for the melodic lines to develop and I could ramp up the emotive harmonic progressions. Hopefully this gave the audience a case of the feels…!