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BLADER "Masterclass"

Discussion in 'Classes & Discussion' started by Mike Verta, Oct 6, 2018.

  1. Hello, everyone -

    I have not had time to do a proper Masterclass of late, but I recently finished 5 episodes of a Japanese kid's show which I thought I'd share as a sort of mini-Masterclass because they bring together all the various skills we talk about.

    Compositionally, I had two days to write and perform each episode. While this means plenty of cringe-worthy moments and klugey performances, it also means having to go with first instincts, and establishing tone quickly. The episodes are almost all wall-to-wall music, which means they are, by design, the long-form writing we're always talking about, and are burdened with being complete, self-supporting pieces on their own.

    Technically, because of the extreme speed necessary, I used a very small template: 1 instance of each Adventure Brass instrument, one Symphobia Full Strings patch (and a handful of aleotoric effects), an instance of OT Metropolis, and a handful of synth VSTs.

    Because one of the most important aspects of composing to picture is dealing with sound design and the mix, I'm presenting the scores here along with the sound effects channel. This way, you can hear the very deliberate dance between sound design and music, and the orchestrational and device choices I'm making specifically to remain maximally compatible with the underlying sound design. This prevents a pissing contest or battle on the mixing stage, and what you're hearing here is the final mix.

    Because there is no dialogue, you will not know what is happening... except you will. What we really try to focus on here is the importance and value of musical storytelling, and if I've done my job at all, you should be able to clearly tell where things are in the story, and notice the familiar rise-and-fall of multi-act storytelling.

    Finally, this is the gig, folks. It isn't always easy, and it isn't always glamorous, but we train and hone our skills every day so that if and when the opportunity arises, we can choose to take it... or leave it. But that needs to be a choice; we must be able to do it, satisfy our clients, and cash the check without having to avoid mirrors entirely. This is one such time, and I hope you find the material useful!

    EP 1 - Blader vs. MissileRobot - Blader fights an experimental robot controlled by Burai, the evil A.I.

    EP2 - Blader vs. The Energizer - Burai sabotages a genetics laboratory, unleashing a virus which mutates a helpless scientist into a giant energy monster.

    EP3 - The Creation of Socket - A disgraced scientist is rescued from death by Burai, whose robot servants turn him into a Joker-esque slave.

    EP4 - Blader vs. Mad Kong - A little boy believes he is playing an advanced VR Videogame, but it's real!

    EP0 - "Origin" - The Birth of Blader - The creation of the world's first AI, Mirai, turns sour and Mirai becomes the evil Burai - an AI intent on destroying humanity. Mirai's creator sacrifices himself, joins the virtual dimension, and becomes the program spirit of Blader - an advanced justice robot out to stop Burai and save mankind.

  2. This is great Mike, thanks for sharing your work. Is there any chance that the actual video of the episodes will be available anywhere to view and or purchase?
  3. That one I don't know, but I'll find out!
    George Streicher likes this.
  4. Awesome. I am excited to have a listen later in the week.

    Thanks !
  5. What is the harmony you are using @ :16 seconds ? The accented one.

  6. To me it seems like a Bb over G Phrygian to inverted Gsus4, all over C5 pedal (are my chord names even right? :D). Looking forward to hearing what it actually is.
  7. Oh..... I am not sure of what you mean with the first one. I get the other.

    There is one which has an Ab in it..... that one. (unless there is not one with an Ab :eek:)
  8. Yeah, my chord names still need work. It actually looks like it's a Bb7 to Gsus4 over C5 pedal.

  9. Nice one AV Styles !!

    I never use the 1-2-3-4 octave thing.... but it looks like it jives. I'll try it out.

    The pitches look right .... is middle C..... 3 or 4 ? I am just not sure about the voicing.
    Which G is the bottom of the Bass Clef (1) ?
  10. Middle C is C3 in the picture.

    What's that? :D
  11. You guys are making it harder than it is - and I never think modes when writing. That opening idea is three chords first - Csus4, Bbsus2/C and then finally Absus2/C. Those are the three chords I wrote first and then embellished. Here's an analysis:

  12. Thanks Mike !
  13. Mike, thank you so much for sharing this!

    Any chance we could also hear the music channel alone for transcribing purposes?
  14. After the show comes out and any other clearance or issues are taken care of I'm sure that'll be possible. That could be a while though.
    George Streicher likes this.
  15. Hey @Mike Verta , really dig your work on Blader! I was wondering what that lovely piano patch is at about 3:00 in Episode 4?
  16. I'm a bit confused here. When I searched for it on youtube I found this, and was bummed out that they don't have english subtitles:

    Then I searched further and got this:

    This has (auto generated?) subtitles, but it has been americanized to the point of switching out all the actors?! What the fuck? I didn't even know that was a thing.
    Samuel Diaz likes this.

  17. Wtf! I've never seen that before either :eek:
  18. Yes that was the production company's idea - that different countries could "easily" swap out their own actors and thus tailor the films for their own countries. There are a lot of issues with that making it unlikely, I think, but for me, it creates a problem in composing: the tone and delivery of an actors performance directly and profoundly changes what I write for the scene. Change the performance, and the music changes. Japanese performances tend to be far more exaggerated than Americans do, and this flavor allows the music some freedom to be a little exaggerated, too. Back that off and make it more naturalistic, and suddenly the music is pushing too hard. If I'd seen the American version, I'd have scored it totally differently. But whatever the case, I still strive to make the music music, and tell self-supporting, cohesive stories on its own.
  19. Interesting! Thanks for the background info. I never thought about this aspect of overdubs but it makes a lot of sense and maybe it contributes to my strong preference to always watch japanese productions with the original performances/voiceovers. I quite like the level of passion and energy they put into it.

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