The 2016 An­i­mated Os­car Cross­word Across

Animation Magazine - - Front Page - By Myles Mel­lor

1. di­rec­tor Madonna’s “___ the Groove” Show­ing a film Clamor Akee­lah and the Dog breed in Joke Evil or No? __ The Secret Life of Pets Rus­sian an­i­mated film fran­chise Stu­dio that pro­duced Jerry and Mickey, e.g. The Red Tur­tle Kubo and the Two Strings “I did it __ way” Frank Si­na­tra

From those early days in the 1920s, mu­sic and an­i­ma­tion have al­ways en­joyed a spe­cial re­la­tion­ship. But the art and busi­ness of com­pos­ing for an­i­mated films and se­ries have changed a lot over the past cou­ple of decades thanks to tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, as well as the growth of new out­lets for con­tent.

“One of the pos­i­tive as­pects of cre­at­ing mu­sic for an­i­ma­tion these days is that the tools you need are a lot more af­ford­able,” says Christo­pher Drake, a pro­lific com­poser who got his big break in the busi­ness writ­ing mu­sic for the two an­i­mated Hell­boy movies and went on to work on sev­eral DC Comics home-video movies such as Su­per­man/ Bat­man: Pub­lic En­emy, Bat­man: The Dark Knight Re­turns and Jus­tice League: Doom. “You can also learn ev­ery­thing you need to know about the busi­ness on­line. The chal­leng­ing part is that, be­cause ev­ery­thing is more ac­ces­si­ble, the level of com­pe­ti­tion is also very high and the mar­ket is flooded with com­posers. So you have to be more cre­ative about cre­at­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for your­self.”

Of course, the most com­mon ques­tion about com­pos­ing tunes for toons is: “How do you land a job like that?” The an­swer is as dif­fer­ent as the myr­iad ways you can get your foot in the door. Drake, for ex­am­ple, got his first gig af­ter meet­ing hor­ror master Guillermo del Toro at a spe­cial haunted Hal­loween hor­ror show in Stu­dio City, Calif. “It was a spe­cial V.I.P. night and peo­ple like Frank Darabont, John Lan­dis, Rob Zom­bie, Joe Dante and Guillermo were there,” he says. “He heard the mu­sic I had done for the hor­ror show, and we talked about our love of mon­sters and genre movies, so later, he rec­om­mended me for the an­i­mated Hell­boy gig.”

A sim­i­lar chance en­counter jump­started the mu­sic ca­reer of Se­bas­tian Evans, whose many TV an­i­ma­tion cred­its in­clude Su­per Ro­bot Mon­key Team Hyper­force Go!, Trans­fomers: An­i­mated, Ben 10: Om­ni­verse and Nick­elodeon’s cur­rent take on the Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles. Evans made a very im­por­tant toon con­nec­tion when he ar­rived in Los An­ge­les, right af­ter high school, and was wait­ing in line for Star Wars: Episode I — The Phan­tom Me­nace in 1999. That’s where he met and bonded with an­i­ma­tion vet­eran Ciro Nieli.

“I moved to L.A. with­out any for­mal train­ing in mu­sic, and I didn’t know any­one in the busi­ness,” says Evans. “I was very lucky to run into Ciro in line at the movie. He told me about this Warner Bros. an­i­ma­tion pi­lot pro­gram, and he was in­stru­men­tal in me get­ting my foot in the door. We both loved the same types of movies and TV shows, and I am so glad I got to work with him on many of his shows.”

Ever since he was a young boy, Evans knew that he wanted to com­pose mu­sic for an­i­ma­tion and fantasy films. So he stud­ied mu­sic and taught him­self ev­ery­thing he needed to know about cre­at­ing mu­sic all through high school. When he moved to L.A. af­ter high school, he put to­gether a CD with an eclec­tic mix of all types of mu­sic he had cre­ated him­self. That kind of pas­sion and ex­per­i­men­ta­tion with dif­fer­ent gen­res of mu­sic is key to land­ing a job in the busi­ness. “You need to be as eclec­tic and di­verse as you can pos­si­bly be,” he says. “The more styles you are fa­mil­iar with, the bet­ter your chances are of im­press­ing peo­ple.”

Com­poser Kevin Kli­esch, whose many an­i­ma­tion cred­its in­clude the up­com­ing Tan­gled: Be­fore Ever Af­ter se­ries, Sofia the First, Tan­gled, Thun­derCats and Su­per­man: Un­bound, be­gan his ca­reer as a com­poser’s as­sis­tant, which led to op­por­tu­ni­ties to or­ches­trate other com­posers’ scores. “I be­came known around town as an or­ches­tra­tor, even thought what I had re­ally wanted to do was com­pose. I spent the next 14 years or­ches­trat­ing for other com­posers, un­til my work on Dis­ney’s Tan­gled movie led to an op­por­tu­nity to score the re­boot of the 1980s Thun­derCats se­ries. I au­di­tioned for that show and got the job, which was my first true job writ­ing the mu­sic for a net­work tele­vi­sion show.”

Grav­ity Falls, We Bare Bears and Voltron: Leg­endary De­fender com­poser Breeck met his wife, Gina, while study­ing mu­sic com­po­si­tion at CalArts. Through Gina, who was an an­i­ma­tion ma­jor, Breeck met an­other an­i­ma­tor who was work­ing on a cou­ple of Fred­er­a­tor an­i­mated shorts. Af­ter pro­duc­ing the mu­sic for those shorts, he got to com­pose the mu­sic for Fred­er­a­tor-pro­duced se­ries Fan­boy & Chum Chum for Nick­elodeon.

Com­poser Danny Ja­cob ( Phineas and Ferb, Milo Mur­phy’s Law) learned the nuts

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