Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hobbit Talk 3 -- A Short Rest

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Three, A Short Rest!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

THR Edge of Darkness Review

Howard Shore's score is described as "edgy" in this favorable review from The Hollywood Reporter. I suppose that stands to reason...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Update -- Calm Before the Storm

Ah Saturday morning.

I'm sitting at my dining room table watching the wind peacefully loose snow from the trees behind my house. Behind my back coffee is percolating and the music of Rameau is just beginning to fill the room.

I like these calm moments. Creative work always requires you to live in your head, so it's not that mornings such as this are oases of introspection. I think I just like the quiet because I know I'm not ignoring anyone else at the moment. In many ways, creativity is a selfish impulse -- even though you're ultimately trying to share something with the world. It requires that you shut a lot of people out and turn a lot of people down. The voices in your head speak just loudly enough to demand attention, and just softly enough to require isolation.

...And don't read too much into that "voices in your head." I'm not speaking of a Gollum-type situation. :)

I know that this particular moment of calm won't last. As you've probably gathered from my Twitter Feed and too-terse Disqus comments, we've got a deadline fast approaching. A big, snarling, pointy-toothed deadline. So my calm Saturday morning is especially appreciated. I've got a Luzern ROTK program to finish up, and after that I simply need to put my thoughts in order and batten down for the storm to come.

Where are we with everything?

On January 4, Gary Day-Ellison and I set into internal design work in order to create a couple of proposals. I can't thank Gary enough for his guidance and patience during this phase. This is an especially dense and complex book. It's both analytical and narrative in nature, something that can be mined for individual nuggets of information, or read straight through in a strictly linear fashion. The analytical material is often interlocking, and the narrative material weaves together separate timelines and realities. So how do you keep that accessible and beautiful?

It all comes down to the eye. How does the eye meet the material? How do you navigate? How can you turn the page and immediately recognize what's what in our complex interlocked structure?

Gary's suggestion has been to create a rulebook. That's not a metaphor -- I actually typed some of this thing out! The rulebook states how different bits of material must be treated in the book, how much flexibility we have in terms of layout, and what we can not do.

For example, how will a choral text be presented? Where can it appear on the page, where can it not appear on the page? How many texts can you list a row before they feel overly dominant? How do we present a partial text? How does the choral text's font compare to the primary text's font? How will the title font compare to the lyric font? The credit font? What sort of visual flourishes enhance the choral text and what's is distracting? And so on, and so on.

This sort of scrutiny needs to be applied to everything in the book -- theme descriptions, music examples (short and long), section introductions, performers, instruments, captions, anecdotes, etc. But thanks to Gary's rulebook concept, not only will all this material seem like second nature to the reader, but we're able to maintain some semblance of sanity while working on the project. (Speaking of sanity, Gary and I are both lucky to have wonderful women in our lives to help us keep our minds straight -- my amazingly sweet and patient Jill, and Gary's lovely wife, Sandy Nightingale. Sandy, by the way, is currently illustrating a series of Great Women in History vignettes for Sandi Toksvig. You can check out her work at Gary's blog here, and at Sandy's own site here.)

You may remember that I spent my holidays finishing up a rather extensive rewrite of certain sections of the book. This rewrite was made possible by Gary's rulebook concept. Because the rulebook made a complex visual structure so easily digestible, I was was able to restructure the writing in a way I'd always hoped to. "Concurrent information" was no longer a terrorizing phrase. Of course, new text creates an opportunity for new typos... and I do love typos! :) So this week, the rewrite went off to our newest friend, Sue Viccars. Sue is currently proofing/copyediting the text while Gary and I wait for approval on a few visual concepts. Come next week, I hope to have both the approvals we need and the vetted text on hand. Then we'll start to set everything into place, and away we go!

While the upcoming sleep deprivation has me a bit nervous, I'm actually quite excited to enter this phase. With all the proposals and spot-checks of the past few weeks, it will feel quite nice to begin right the start of the book and work straight through it -- Foreword, Introduction, Prologue, etc...

It a project that's been so wildly nonlinear, it's amazing to think that we're now finally able to head in a straight line.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Howard Shore to Score Twilight: Eclipse

I usually know what's going on in Howard Shore Land. Howard and his crew do a great job of keeping me in the loop and letting me know what's ready for public knowledge and what isn't.

However, I can say with complete honesty -- I had no idea this was coming!

Every day is a surprise around here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hobbit Talk 2 -- Roast Mutton

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will now refresh bi-weekly as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

And now, on with Chapter Two, Roast Mutton!

EoD on Silva Screen

I'm being told that Shore's Edge of Darkness score will be released on Silva Screen Records on February 22.

So those of you who don't want to download mp3s or to purchase Amazon.com's CDRs-to-order now have an option!

Good to see that genuine pressed CDs aren't yet extinct!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Walk of Fame

"W" has sent a piece into TheOneRing.net in an attempt to get Howard Shore nominated for the Canadian Walk of Fame. See the TORN piece here, and visit the Canadian Walk of Fame website here.

If the site's imagery is to be believed, the award seems to include Chinese takeout...

EoD Mini Review

It's not clear here if Film Music Magazine has heard the full Edge of Darkness score or just the clips, but a review's a review. Read on...

It’s no small irony that Howard Shore had previously accompanied Mel Gibson’s parental rampage in RANSOM, only to see his score replaced. But even if Shore’s now inadvertently put the kill on John Corigliano’s first stab at this revenge thriller, it’s hard to imagine more musical hurt being put on Mel’s malefactors. For whether it’s SEVEN’s serial killer or the hooligans of THE DEPARTED, few composers use such a bold wall of symphonic bleakness to conjure a world of lowlifes, and the ever-darkening nobility of heroes bent on justice at any cost. While EDGE doesn’t add anything particularly new to Shore’s mission, it’s still bold, emotional and jarringly confrontational in its sometimes shrieking action- the musical equivalent of a hard knock to the jaw with an angry, anguished symphonic fist.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hobbit Talk 1 -- An Unexpected Party

It has been decided that our fine readership should proceed with an en masse review/discussion of The Hobbit. This series of Hobbit Talk threads will refresh once a week as a new chapter of the book is introduced.

For the sake of clarity, let's please use this thread solely for Hobbit Talk, and the Ongoing Discussion for our general chitchat.

That business aside, it's time to begin with Chapter One, An Unexpected Party!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Doctors Without Borders

Hi everyone,

The following note came in from Howard Shore's manager today. Without deviating from the blog's purpose too greatly, I've been wanting to do something regarding the current situation in Haiti. Perhaps posting this letter in its entirety is the most elegant solution. Please read the letter below, and if you feel compelled to act, by all means, click the link. I know we're all facing some harsh economic realities at the moment, so I trust the good readers of this blog to gauge their own comfort levels.

Thank you,



Dear Doug,

Hope all is going well, and Happy 2010!

I'm writing to you about something that is very close to my heart at this time...

As you know, the recent earthquake in Haiti has proved to be one of the worst disasters we have seen in years. It has shaken the small nation to its core, from the astonishing death toll, to the angst that so many people are currently feeling as they are still unable to contact their friends and relatives. I believe that those of us who are fortunate and able to lend a hand need to show our support during this extremely difficult time, and help this nation recover from what is clearly a terrible tragedy.

I am extremely passionate about the wonderful organization, Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres). This humanitarian group provides vital medical aid to people in almost 60 countries who have been stricken with catastrophe and violence. Now more than ever, they need your help to tackle the current state of Haiti and those people injured by the damaging earthquake. The organization has already treated more than 1,000 victims since the earthquake struck only 2 days ago. However, there is so much more to be done. Currently, the organization has been conducting their medical work in 4 tented facilities in Port-Au-Prince. An inflatable field hospital is due to arrive within the next 24 hours, which will allow for more people to receive the attention they so desperately need; but there is still an overwhelming number of people who need treatment and, in some cases, major surgery. Doctors Without Borders is working day and night to ensure the affected region has the best surgeons, medical supplies, and shelter. However, such basic necessities such as food and water are still in very short supply, given that the region was already impoverished.

This selfless work cannot be done without our help. Will you join me in making a donation to this wonderful organization?

To donate to Doctors Without Borders, please click here.

Any amount you are able to give will make a difference.

Thank you for your consideration of this very important cause, and I wish you a wonderful 2010.

All best,

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The View From the Edge

Preview Shore's work from Edge of Darkness right now, right here:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Magpie's Calendars

Hoping Magpie won't mind me reposting this from a recent comment posting:


Happy New Year, everyone.

Some of you might have seen/used my Tolkien Computer Monitor Calendars in the past. I'm still working off a huge CRT monitor (best for design, I guess) but I suppose these aren't so handy for laptops or sleek LED monitors and the like. Anyhow, if interested, check them out here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"The Professor!"

Ongoing Discussion Thread [January, 2010]

The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films ends with a brief recap -- a "here's what's happened since the last recording session" epilogue that brings readers back to present day. Just moments ago I updated that text. It now ends with "2010" rather than "2009." I felt it was a fitting tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien's 118th birthday, which we're celebrating today.

With that, the rewrite is now done -- or at least this pass is complete. Come tomorrow morning, more powerful eyes than mine will begin to look things over. Once the rewrite is approved (fingers crossed!) the text will be copyedited. At the same time, we should be nailing down our design concepts, finalizing the direction everything will take. And then, of course, we'll get back into the meticulous work of laying out the text. Busy days are ahead!

I'll try to keep everyone abreast of my travel plans -- many of which are dependent on the LOTR: Live to Projection's producers. So if I seem to not go where I'm going next (in a non-metaphocial sense), I probably do not in fact know! Bear with me. The next few months may get a little nutty.

Welcome to 2010, everyone! :)
Image copyrights and trademarks are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law | Original Blog Content Copyright 2007 - 2012 Middle D, Inc. | Original Blog Template by www.blogerthemes.net