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Choosing Music

Lesson 29 from: The Cinematic Filmmaking Workshop

RJ Bruni

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Lesson Info

29. Choosing Music

Next Lesson: Sound Design

Lesson Info

Choosing Music

(peaceful music) Okay, so, before we start assembling our scene, let's talk about music. Let's dive into our timeline again and see what we have, and maybe that will help us decide what comes next. So we just ended on this powerful, powerful scene of seeing this plate come to life and then seeing it being delivered to the table. And her music was also powerful, it's this beautiful, cinematic, piano driven song. And essentially it turned out to be what I am hoping to be the climax of the film. Originally, this is one of those moments where it doesn't always go exactly, exactly how you planned it. I thought the climax would more be at the dinner table with all the family having dinner. And I thought the resolution was gonna be only that last shot of the flashback of her in the ravine. But, as I was building this, I thought this moment was just powerful, and I kinda wanted this to be the climax. So that leaves us in an interesting spot for this last scene now, we have this whole scene o...

f Kathy and her family eating dinner together. Originally, what I would've done with our old plan, was, I would have used a powerful cinematic song, maybe something orchestral, or maybe something piano driven, but now that we've already had our climax, and very happy with it, now we can have more of a resolution song, something that wraps everything up and makes you feel a little bit happier. That's the route that I actually wanna go now. So I'm gonna shake things up here, and I'll first of all show you how I would've found the more of the cinematic powerful song. We'll download it, we'll see how it even looks in the edit just so you can see how music changes everything. But then we're gonna go and find our new idea of the new song, something a little bit more easygoing, happier, leaves you just more on a positive note. So let's dive into Musicbed where we're gonna find our songs. So here we are Musicbed. So instantly I'm just gonna go click on songs, and we are going to be overwhelmed with choices of many different genres. So how I would've probably found the first song, which would've been, you know, cinematic and maybe a little bit inspiring, usually I would've gone to genre, I would've gone to cinematic, probably ambient as well. Usually that's a good go to. So here we have many, many songs, we have 26 pages of songs, awesome. Lots of options here, guys. So usually what I do, is I randomly either start from the top, or I'll randomly start clicking. What I'm looking for is the feeling that I want the audience to feel. So if I want them to feel happy, I wanna listen to the song like, okay, yeah, I'm getting those emotions. Be in tune with your own emotions. But I want them to feel sad or something bad has happened, I'll listen for that in the song. We all listen to music, we all listen to songs, and we all know how it makes us feel, so just tune into that and start to study, how does this song make me feel? For us, we want the audience to feel maybe a little bit inspired, and we want this, I don't even have a word to describe the power that we're looking for, but maybe we'll find it when we see the song. So let's just start flipping through. (slow intense music) So immediately I would skip this. We start to hear these like, sharp beats. It sounds a little bit electronic. (slow intense music) I dunno, just sounds electronic to me, and this is very much not an electronic feeling film, it's very natural, lots of natural sounds, so if we're looking for something that's more on the orchestral or piano side of things, less synthesizer. Let's go to the next one. (inspiring piano music) This one I'd skip, it feels a little bit too happy. Sometimes with happy songs you gotta walk the line of cheesy and happy, sometimes it goes a little bit on the cheesy side of things, so. (calm piano music) This is sounding good so far. Usually I can see here that this is all the same, so usually I'll skip more to the end here and see what this sounds like. (moves to powerful music) Nod off, but honestly I like that song a lot. Might not be perfect, it might be a little bit too intense. But normally what I would do, is I'd download it and then just slap it in, see how we're feeling, but for now we're gonna move on 'cause I don't, I like it, but I don't think it's our winner, and I don't think we're gonna be using the cinematic song anyways. But let's just find one that we'd be set on. (slow inspiring music) This one's sounding really good so far. (moves to upbeat music) Oh, here we go. That's a little techno-y again, so we're gonna stay away from that. (slow ethereal music) I like this. I love that, yeah, that sounds amazing. So usually I'll just give it another listen, I kinda skipped through it there to see if there's anything I didn't like, but no, I liked it all. It was very simple and just powerful, so let's just give it another listen. (slow ethereal music) I really like that one. To me it sounds very earthy. It feels like we're in the forest, which is what we're trying to portray in this film a lot of the time, so. And look at the title, "Wild Water", sometimes it just fits like that, like, here you go. (chuckles) So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna download this song. Maybe we'll use it later and I'm gonna show you how it completely changes the edit if we use this one, and then we're gonna look for the song that we're actually think we're gonna use. So I'm gonna download this and we'll move on. Awesome, so now let's look for that, a little bit more happier, I don't know if it's nostalgic feeling, I'm not sure how to describe the feeling of the song I'm looking for, but I have it in my mind, it's more of just this easygoing resolution song that I'm looking for. So let's try to find it. First things first, I remember I did a film called, "From the Field", and the last song in the film, the credits roll, and we played this song, it's by an artist called Dalton Day, and I really liked how that felt, and it was same idea, it was this easygoing song to feel like everything's coming to an end. So I'm actually gonna search that artist. He might have another song I might like, or we can look for similar songs. Either way, we'll figure it out when we get there. So I am going to search Dalton. There he is. So, as you can see, the little check mark here, that's because we used and licensed the song. Let's give that song a listen. (bright inspiring music) ♪ Yeah I can be a man ♪ ♪ Be big and tough ♪ That's good enough for now. Yeah, I love that song. I think that's just a song I would honestly listen to not even watching a film, so that's a good sign. Let's see if he has anything else that we like. Honestly, that's sometimes what it comes down to, even the song that we chose earlier, I think it was SVVN, I've used their songs plenty. Usually you'll find artists that you stick to that have a style that you like, so let's see what he has. Let's go through these songs. (inspiring guitar music) ♪ The sun rises behind her eyes ♪ ♪ But she still can't see it ♪ ♪ When she's beside me I walk slowly ♪ ♪ She feeds my- ♪ So far I really do like that song. Let's see what else. (upbeat banjo music) ♪ Yeah I've been away ♪ ♪ For far too long ♪ That one I don't like as much, feels a little bit sadder, don't love the banjo, that's what that is, but still digging this, "Believe Me" one. (bright music) ♪ It's almost time to drink the poison- ♪ I really like that one. I wasn't a fan of the lyrics to start, secondly, I just, I like the feel of the "Believe Me", seems just a little bit easier going, less big drum hits in it. So we skipped this, "One Reason", let's see what this one is. (slow ethereal music) (moves to uplifting guitar music) Okay. I love this song. So a couple things. I love the organ at the beginning, starts very peaceful off, or it starts off very peacefully. (slow ethereal music) And then it kind of, so which matches more of what we've gone for, just this slow cinematic ambient feel, we've had a lot of that in this film. And then it goes into the feel that we're looking for. (uplifting guitar music) That nice folky acoustic. I love this song. So what I do now, 'cause I'm like, we're not committing to anything, but, let's just run through a couple of these sections just to make sure it doesn't end too heavy or it doesn't get too intense. Usually I just look for things that I don't like, so. (gentle inspiring music) What I'm also doing is I'm picturing the shots in my head. I'm picturing the family together, eating dinner, the beautiful sunset, the sun flares, and then that coming to an end and us coming back to the ravine with Kathy. So as I'm hearing this song, I'm seeing if that's working in my head and almost seeing that edit start to come to life. (gentle inspiring music) So right now, as the song's playing, (moves to peaceful music) it gets peaceful, I'm just seeing Kathy standing there in the ravine, and we go back to this moment of peace. I love it, I love it. Awesome. I'm fired up on this song. So what I'd do is download this song, normally I'd just be excited, to be honest with you, normally, I'd just be really excited, I'd start editing. But, for the sake of this video, let's see if we can get a second option and then see if it works later. But I am very fired up on this song. So, let's just give it a good old heart there and let's go here to Dalton Day, 'cause we love this guy's feel, he's so close to what we're going for, and let's see in related artists if we can find something even similar. So here, filters don't like that, but let's give this one a... (bright music) This one's a little too techno-y. Let's do that again, see if we can find something. "CHPTRS", I've used these guys before. (bright music) No. (lively music) ♪ Woke up with the world in your eyes ♪ ♪ Sure as the light of the morning ♪ I like that song as well. What I'm looking for in this song is like, imagine if you just watched a feature length movie, and the main characters are driving into the sunset in an old pickup truck. That's kind of the feeling I'm going for, just that easygoing, finishing song. I also get that feeling with this, I got it from the Dalton Day song, I also get it with this song. So this song, I wonder if they have an instrumental as well, might feel a little bit more, wasn't a huge fan of the lyrics. Yeah, so they have a lot of different versions actually, which is awesome. So, I am going to download the instrumental of this song and then also the Dalton Day song. I'm pretty set on the Dalton Day song, but, when we start to get the edit together, we can start playing around with songs, and we can see how each one affects the whole scene and the whole feel of the scene differently. But, we will get into that in the next episode when we start to assemble the scene. Sometimes this process takes a very long time. Sometimes it's as short as this. This was not very long. And a lot of the time I've gotten good at just quickly cycling through songs, knowing what I want. If we hop on Musicbed and have no idea what we're looking for, it's gonna be a while, yeah. But, we came with a good idea, and even an artist in mind that we've worked with, well, haven't worked with, but we've used their song in the past. And just going off of that, we found another artist that has a great song as well. So sometimes, honestly, I've sat in front of Musicbed and been looking for songs for hours, a lot of filmmakers have, and, to this day, there's still moments where you just, it's hard to find what you're looking for, and then you just get lucky. Or you just know what you want, just a little bit more, and you hit that right song that you're looking for. So don't beat yourself up if it takes a very long time, that's totally normal. But, if you come into the edit or if you come into the search looking for something more specific, it will definitely help you in your search.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Live Lesson: Feedback and Q&A Session with RJ
RJ's Final Film | SHARED EARTH
Email Questionnaire
Project Breakdown
Scene Breakdown
Creative Deck

Ratings and Reviews


I LOVE this workshop - I have been wanting to film my own 'home life' movies as I am a photographer but I wanted to add even more memories. This workshop has added so much value to how, why, when, and what the process is of film-making for film-making. Thanks to RJ for sharing all his amazing information while being clear, precise, and informative. I am excited to film my next 'home life' film!

Alex Bocajj

Great insights into Rj's process. Really enjoyed it all. Rj is smooth and easy to learn from. Loved the "in-field" BTS and going thru the motions live. Looking forward to more material.

Patti Sohn

Really informative and inspiring. One of the best video tutorials I have watched.

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