The Final Score

In my opinion, Danny Elfman changed the way we listen to movies. I think Beetle Juice was my first conscious realization of the impact a score can have on the mood of a film. "In Tim's (Burton) films, more than most, if you miss the tone, you don't get the film," says Elfman. And Bill Brendle understands this concept. Watching movies as a kid, he would run to his piano in his room during commercials and try to figure out the part he just heard as the car went off the cliff and crashed. This was the beginning of training his ears. As he got older, he saw more movies, and recreated more parts. When he first saw Star Wars, the music struck him as another character, leading him through the film. Then he noticed Danny Elfman's name (one of his favorite performers from Oingo Boingo) popping up on films like Beetle Juice and Pee Wee's Big Adventure. He, like me, loved that Elfman could cross over into this world and it gave Bill the encouragement to go forward in this career.

Bill looks at writing melodic themes as a texture and he did just that for Kazmir. When I hear words, I create pictures in my mind. When Bill read the script, he heard music. He saw an opportunity to underscore the narration and lead the listener through the world's that I created, from Ancient Egypt to the Five Skies. He created a theme for each character that repeats when that character appears. Due to budget, Bill composed everything using technology, but the result is the sound of traditional scores. "Combining different layers of art in an all-encompassing piece is true art," says Bill.

I'm looking forward to the day that I can tell Bill, "Hey, we're making the movie. Bring in the real orchestra!"

Bill Brendle
Bill Brendle

Here's one of my favorite pieces that we call Traveling Music that was played when Michael-Ann is flying on Kazmir's back.


Here's another snippet of the The Optionators. To me, it sounds just like what they would sound like walking along their tree limb paths.


Hear the complete audiobook for free and tell me it's not one of the best scores you've ever heard.