Below -- Conversations with Composer Dean Jensen as he works on the Score
April 11, 2010
Subject: I have a rough cut
Hi Dean –
I can send you a link to the rough cut. This film runs just seven minutes… I hope that doesn’t disappoint
you… No room for your opus and all that… but you will see that we left lots of silence for you both
at the beginning and the end plus you can probably play behind the voice over poetry. Tyler cut all the street sounds.
Nice ambiance but who cares?
The edits shouldn’t
change it much. When you score a film is
everything matched with what’s on screen to the extent that you
should work with a version that is not going to be changed
me know what you think. I’ll send the link tomorrow, after I’ve
heard back from you. I
have seen it three or four times now – with a small audience. I think it’s a nice film. And going to get
Tyler is actively rendering it now. He says it’s
a slower program than the other.
Wow--this looks great! The opening scene is sumptuous!
Sandy, I'm feeling like "Theme
1" that I sent you is a bit too much-
too dense, and too dramatic. "Theme 2" feels like a better way in, but maybe
When I talk to people about Ted, who have never heard of him, or
aren't familiar with
his work, because of his dates, they just
assume that he was a Beat Poet. So I wanted something with a
feel to it. I think his German heritage was pretty central
to his upbringing, and the clear form of his poetry is
most of his contemporaries. So I was trying to have a certain Old
World quality to the music,
while at the same time not in any way
dating the music or the film.
That's a little tricky.
that's what I've been thinking. I'd love to hear your
thoughts about the music.
Thanks, and good
I am writing you from Fort Yukon, a village in the middle of Alaska, above the Arctic Circle. Thank
you for your work and your thoughts. I am glad you like the opening. It's a little hard for some to read and we
will work on that. I also think the pace of it is a success and music will only make that better.
I am glad you figured out that Roethke was not a beat. That would maybe result in bongos and jazz...
does speak a lot about feeling and love. He is big on imagination. There is dark in his work -- he speaks of the
abyss. But he is happy. He expresses that directly in a lot of his writing. And he loved to teach and several
famous poets came out of his classes... Richard Hugo of Hugo House, Charles Wright (whose son Franz is writing now), three
or four others with national stature -- this comes of a good teacher. Dignity, Old World Quality -- and he is
also whimsical. Funny. He learned during his life that the dead poets will help you... the young poet, in that
case. He tells a story of how Yeats appeared and was with him as a spirit for about half an hour. I mention this
because by the same token Roethke might help you. Just be receptive. Now don't think of me as a nut... I am just
going by what the man said and it's always kind of affirming to feel that, in such projects, one is getting the nod from the
subject of it.
About music. I did love Theme One. Hate to fully lose it. Can there be transitions
so that Theme One can be used, just in the right place, for instance the end with "this is my hard time" where it is sad and
Theme One might fit there.. following that point, before we go to the credits, we have the printed quote that starts pretty
dark but then basically says that he is free of his resentments -- Dance ye All. If theme one ended the "Hard time"
end of movie could it transition for the quote toward bright and hopeful, leaving us in a good place... and continuing through
In the end, you know more than I do... but Theme One might also (or instead) work as background
in the approach to the Moon in the dark when he's looking in the window. (It is just genius that we thought to have
him look in the book store window earlier so the Moon "Peek" echoes the earlier one. Both gestures were made up on the
fly... probably Michael's idea not mine).
You know far more than me about the impact of sound and what you think
is right should be the driving force. I bow to your greater knowledge.
Again, glad you like how it is
looking. I feel it is playing out according to my vision.
Indeed, I am very much relying on Ted to lend a guiding hand--I'm about
90% of the way through the collected works. It's good to hear about his happiness, as I'm getting a lot of sadness and
frustration regarding the (seeming) distance (not the best word) between the ineffable and the physical. Lots and
lots of stuff about change and transformation in the natural world--especially plants. Loam is a great word.
My dad taught English Lit at college. He took all his degrees at the UW and finished in
PhD there I think in 1962. He passed away in 2008, so I can't ask him. But I don't recall him ever mentioning
Ted. Dad's dissertation had to do with William Empson, so they were in different worlds. They may not have ever
met or anything. Dunno. But still. Kinda wow.
totally lose Theme 1. I think it could work when we first see Tom. In general I think the music should also
reflect the happiness and the, um, fondness for women. At this point I really want to keep an open mind--I'm trying to leave
as much space for inspiration as possible! But the things you mentioned about Theme 1 at the end I was thinking
as well--must be a good sign. :-)