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 Posted:   Feb 27, 2016 - 7:59 AM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

I know that it has been a while since we last had a Composers Challenge, so I decided to start a new one.

Here is the clip:


The clip that I have is from an award-winning video game called Dear Esther. Basically, Dear Esther is a game where you explore this uninhabited island, listening to the narration read out letters to his wife. You learn that the narrator lost his wife (Esther) in a car crash and he's trying to figure out why. The narrator maintains that the driver of the other car in the crash (Paul) was drunk when the accident occurred. But we do not know precisely what happened in the crash because the narrator freely admits to forgetting or mixing up various events and when they occur. You also get the sense that Esther's death has left a huge void in the narrator's life and he is mentally broken by it.

Other notes:
1) The writing on the side of the cliff recalls the Apostle Paul's journey to Damascus which is found in the Biblical Book of Acts, which adds to the theme of this clip.
2) References to the other characters such as the hermit, Jakobson, and Donnelly. The hermit was a legend of a person who came to the island to achieve some type of solace. Jakobson was the first non-legendary person to visit the island, he was a shepard who came to the island with the goal building a property to secure him a wife and children (it did not work and he died 2 years later). Donnelly was a writer who explored the island and wrote about its history, he later died of syphilis.
3) It is not clear if the island is an actual place or the island is in the mind of the narrator.

I believe that this is a good clip for a composers challenge because we have both dialogue and sound effects in one scene without the music (it is hard to find a scene where the music can be removed). There are many ways to interpret the clip musically (for example; the mystery/suspense of the climb because we do not know where we are going, the dramatic moment of how the narrator's story changes, and the final lasting monologue).

The contest runs from today (Feb 27th) to April 30th. I feel that giving two months to write five minutes of music is more than reasonable. After April 30th, voting on the various entries will start.

The prize for winning the contest will be announced at a later date.

Thank you for your attention and I hope everyone has fun.

 
 Posted:   Feb 27, 2016 - 4:57 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

That damned thing's full of all sorts of symbolism and reference.

I mean, the narrator has reached the end of his tether, he's seeing everything as fatally linked along the 'lines' and he's gone to the 'island' like Hercules and tries to find meaning in what happened.

Is Esther 'hope', is Paul Jakobson some sort of Judaeo-Christian morality thing, is Donnelly something to do with Celtic mysticism? Why is Esther eventually called Donnelly too? She'll fly at his left, (the feminine) and the Israelite at his right (consciousness).

They're all parts of his own psyche aren't they? The island is his predicament, maybe even the world.


I mean ... how would they score that? It isn't 'dramatic' or event-driven, it'll need mood, ambience, rhythm certainly, and probably a sort of inexorable repetitiveness, meybe growing to some sort fo crescendo.

You should have let them find out about the Acts quote for themselves, let them puzzle it out. He's at the place where he gives up and stops judging. And death I suppose. Phillip Glass this one. It could be triumphant and 'redemptive' or deep and depressing.

They've got to feel the meaning before they score the scene. Not easy. Certainly not Hollywood.

 
 Posted:   Mar 1, 2016 - 4:15 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

That damned thing's full of all sorts of symbolism and reference.

I mean, the narrator has reached the end of his tether, he's seeing everything as fatally linked along the 'lines' and he's gone to the 'island' like Hercules and tries to find meaning in what happened.

Is Esther 'hope', is Paul Jakobson some sort of Judaeo-Christian morality thing, is Donnelly something to do with Celtic mysticism? Why is Esther eventually called Donnelly too? She'll fly at his left, (the feminine) and the Israelite at his right (consciousness).

They're all parts of his own psyche aren't they? The island is his predicament, maybe even the world.

I mean ... how would they score that? It isn't 'dramatic' or event-driven, it'll need mood, ambience, rhythm certainly, and probably a sort of inexorable repetitiveness, meybe growing to some sort fo crescendo.

You should have let them find out about the Acts quote for themselves, let them puzzle it out. He's at the place where he gives up and stops judging. And death I suppose. Phillip Glass this one. It could be triumphant and 'redemptive' or deep and depressing.

They've got to feel the meaning before they score the scene. Not easy. Certainly not Hollywood.


No one said it should be easy. I would rather use this scene than a big battle sequence where it's fairly literal and swallow in terms of depth (WOO! FIGHT! DEATH! BAD!).

 
 Posted:   Mar 13, 2016 - 6:51 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

We're always welcome to anyone joining and trying their hand at composing.

 
 Posted:   Mar 13, 2016 - 8:00 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

How many people have entered thus far? Has the prize been chosen?

 
 Posted:   Mar 13, 2016 - 8:18 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

How many people have entered thus far? Has the prize been chosen?

About 10 people, through various websites.

A prize has not been chosen yet.

 
 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2016 - 3:37 AM   
 By:   JB Fan   (Member)

After I read this, my first thought was - I'm in!
But when I watched video and become very sad.
I'm not clairvoyant, but I predict that most of participants will use alarming & dramatic music for the first minutes & lyrical piano theme for last 2 min (at least this was my first thoughts about musical structure for this fragment). And as I know that I'm not so talented in composing lyrical themes for piano, I'll sadly pass this time. Maybe next time, when fragment will not contain so "cliche" themes for ME. I repeat - just for me! 'Cause maybe someone else see this fragment in absolutely different point of view! And I hope that I'm wrong and people really will surprise us with non-trivial solutions!

 
 Posted:   Apr 10, 2016 - 3:37 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

After I read this, my first thought was - I'm in!
But when I watched video and become very sad.
I'm not clairvoyant, but I predict that most of participants will use alarming & dramatic music for the first minutes & lyrical piano theme for last 2 min (at least this was my first thoughts about musical structure for this fragment). And as I know that I'm not so talented in composing lyrical themes for piano, I'll sadly pass this time. Maybe next time, when fragment will not contain so "cliche" themes for ME. I repeat - just for me! 'Cause maybe someone else see this fragment in absolutely different point of view! And I hope that I'm wrong and people really will surprise us with non-trivial solutions!


Would you like an sci-fi action sequence next time?

 
 Posted:   May 5, 2016 - 9:56 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

It's passed April 30.

You should update the MainTitles thread, too.

 
 Posted:   May 5, 2016 - 7:47 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

It's passed April 30.

You should update the MainTitles thread, too.


Since no one really posted in the Maintitles thread one, then there's no real obligation to do so?

I will update this one tomorrow.

 
 Posted:   May 6, 2016 - 5:12 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

So what's going to happen is that the composers will receive an email containing all of the entries and they have to rank them.

 
 Posted:   May 6, 2016 - 5:15 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

It's passed April 30.

Since no one really posted in the Maintitles thread one, then there's no real obligation to do so?


Ah, 'cause you made the post ajnd it's your contest. I just mentioned that one because that's the only one I know of aside from FSM that you posted it. But anywhere you did it.

 
 
 Posted:   May 7, 2016 - 4:01 AM   
 By:   Synchrotones   (Member)

Composers Challenge IX - 'Dear Esther'

This challenge was set by Kevin Smith and ran from the end of February to the end of April, 2016. After discussing with Kevin, I have collected all entries and created a playlist on YouTube.

For the Playlist on YouTube:
https://youtu.be/EffVklLA0EQ?list=PLShjA9iqcZ2eFYfABesvD9Xgd4krY2rvD

Please have a listen; and please share you thoughts! The composers would love to read your comments and ratings.

We'll collate any reviews or comments that come on a new dedicated site: www.thecomposerschallenge.wordpress.com.

Like, heart, follow or do whatever suits you to stay up to date with the latest news and gossip about recent and future Composers Challenges. In due course we'll also formally reveal the names of the participants.

I might add that, whilst various participants had already posted and publicised their entries (or even embedded their credits in the video), hence I have re-uploaded the videos without any additional information. You might think 'what's the point when there are on-screen credits', but some people did ask to remain anonymous and I tried to respect that as best as possible.

Thank you to all participants for taking part; and to everyone else for listening!

'till next time...

 
 Posted:   May 7, 2016 - 6:10 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

My thoughts, for what it's worth, as posted on thecomposerschallenge website:

Entry #10 has no link. Is Entry #9 the corrected one?

My ratings for each entry, using a five-star system.


#1:
Rating: ***
I liked the interesting ideas, but overall I dont' think it was an exercise to help the clips, but show off musically. It kind of fell apart around the end.


#2:
Rating: ***.5
The addition of a heart beat and slow strings added a nice kind of montage feel to the scenes. The shift to the piano work didn't work and was kind of distracting, however nice the music was. Having said that, it was quality work that earned it, for me, an extra half star above the previous entry.

#3:
Rating: *.5
The music just plods around underneath and doesn't help the on-screen imagry or dialogue at all. If was often annoying and a chore to get through.

#4:
Rating: **.5
The music is kind of laid back and plesant to listen to, but over all I felt I was listening to something going with a setting sun and to top it off it didn't help the imagry. And that music at 3:17, with the kind of 1980's Klingon/Commando Horner sound, brought a smile to my face.

#5:
Rating: **
No comment.

#6:
Rating: ***.5
This is probably the first entry thus far that came nearest to helping the on-screen imadry and underlining the emotion.

#7:
Rating: **
No comment.

#8:
Rating: *.5
This entry did a major faux pas in my opinion -- it wanted to badly to be about itself that the video has half of the dialogue muted; it's supposed to help, not take over.

#9:
Rating: *
Rather than be tactful and say nothing, I was so off put by this entry I have to speak out: it's all over the place, it doesn't help anything, and it's like the composer gave up aroudn the end and didn't try. These horrible loud modern trailer-like bangs blow your ears anbd speakers away and this grungy guitar comes for seemingly no other reason than to say, "Yeah, I did that", which is then underlined by was clearly sounds like a pre-made percussion loop that just repeats. It just sort of vanishes aroudn the end and no attemp it made tp use any percussion to help tie it up and naturally conclude, rather than just stop.

#10:
Rating:
No video linked on thecomposerschallenge page.


Entries #2 and #6 are the strongest contenders here.

 
 Posted:   May 10, 2016 - 6:21 PM   
 By:   KevinSmith   (Member)

Hello everyone,

So we have received all of the entries for the Composers Challenge, now it's time to vote. All the composers have received an email from me with a link to a Youtube playlist put together by the lovely Synchrotones of this forum.

The composers have one week to vote on and rank the other composers' entries. After that the rankings will be compiled and the winner will be announced. Again, if you are a composer for this challenge, please check your email (or junk mail) for my email.

For those who just want to review the entries, here is the link (but your votes will not be counted).

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLShjA9iqcZ2eFYfABesvD9Xgd4krY2rvD

Again, The composers have until May 17th to cast your votes.

If anyone is curious about the next composers challenge, I have an action scene in mind from a popular epic science-fiction video game.

Thanks to everyone for their support.

Kevin

 
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