Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good Question

I was reading an article on yesterday about movie theme songs. The article was basically pointing out the fact that movies used to have theme songs: "Titanic" had "My Heart Will Go On," "Top Gun" had "Take my Breath Away." Now, the article claims, filmmakers tend to select old, tried and true songs to heighten emotion rather than seeking out new songs, which would be eligible for the "Best New Song" Oscar and gain radio play.

But that's not what I'm concerned with here. What caught me about the article was the following sentence:

"'What movies used to do,' [Jesse Harris, the Grammy-winning songwriter of Norah Jones' hit "Don't Know Why,"] said, is 'create a nostalgia that was specific to the film itself, and the only way to do that is to use original music.'"

I really liked this quotation. Not so much the notion of using original music to achieve the goal he talked about -experiencing something in the context of the fil alone and not on a larger pop culture scale- though that is important, but the sense of a "nostalgia...specific to the film itself." (I had to use the exact phrasing again because I thought it so poignant.)

Think about that, defining your film in terms of emotions and sentiments belonging entirely to itself. That, to me, seems to be the ultimate goal when creating a film. Yes, you want it to be part of Hollywood legend, perhaps. You want it to be an essential part of the box set that bears your name years from now.

But you want it to stand alone.

At least I do. I don't really want to write "just another action flick." I want to write something that can be compared to others in its genre, but also has such a life and feel of its own that it can last apart from the crowd. To me, "Last of the Mohicans" stands apart. It has a look, a feel, and yes, a sound to it that no other film does. It affects me in a way, stays with me in a way that no other film does.

I hope, when my career is passed, people will look back and say of me, he "create[d] a nostalgia that was specific to [each] film itself."

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