Blog Archives

Recording at Home

Incident in New Baghdad has been nominated for an Oscar this year in the Best Documentary Short Feature category. The film was scored by Emile D. Menasche, author of The Desktop Studio, Your Sound Onstageand Home Studio Clinic. He recorded the soundtrack to Incident in New Baghdad in his home studio using his MacBook Pro.

Menasche says, “I worked closely with producer/director James Spione on the soundtrack. It was a real collaboration. We recorded the soundtrack in my home studio using a combination of Ableton Live and Logic Pro. Because the story involves an American soldier in Iraq, the music reflected both cultures. We didn’t have indigenous instruments, so I had to adapt classical flute and guitar to sound more Middle Eastern. Returning worked well with the guitar, a technique I discovered working on a previous documentary, God’s Open Hand, which covered the Afghan elections a few years ago.

“We also used some electronic sounds to underscore some of the battle scenes. The trick was not to get the music to sound too dramatic. The director didn’t want it to sound either heroic or like it was out of a horror/suspense film.
“A lot of the final cues came from improvised flute phrases, played by my daughter Rebecca. I had her play both melodic parts and beds, then used Live to change their pitch and texture to create a blend between natural and digital sounds.”
.
To view the trailer for the film, visit: http://incidentinnewbaghdad.com
To listen to an interview with Emile about the film and his books, listen to On Screen & Beyond.
 The L Magazine says “If James Spione’s phenomenal Incident in New Baghdad doesn’t win, something is very wrong.”
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
For more information about Emile’s books, visit HalLeonardBooks.com

Animation Nomination: An Animated Rant


Guest Blogger: Barry Monush, author of Lucille Ball FAQ, West Side Story: Music on Film, and more. Also the editor of Screen World.

It wouldn’t be Oscar season without some complaining, so here goes. While the 2011 nominees are (mostly) remarkably devoid of groaners (as long as they got Christopher Plummer in there, I’m happy), those of us who actually see a lot of movies and make keeping track of the new releases a way of life (yes, we’re out there), want to vent about how certain categories are filled.

It appears that the Animated Feature category has now joined the ranks of Foreign Language Film and Feature Documentary. In other words, there is no obligation for the nominees to actually have been available for viewing by the paying general public. Considering how animation floods the market these days and dominates the box office, you’d think the Academy would be able to come up with 5 films that fans have actually heard of, but no, instead two of this year’s nominees have even the most avid movie followers scratching their heads: A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita.

This is not a rant about their quality. Who the hell has actually seen the pictures to comment on that? What I’m bugged by is why they are in the running without being a part of the actual 2011 movie scene? If indeed categories are going to consist of items that can only be screened by Academy members or on the festival circuit, then they should not be included in the telecast that the rest of the world watches. Rather than keeping the honorary awards away from home viewers (don’t get me started on how dumb that decision was), why not relegate the Animation, Documentary, Foreign, and Short Subjects to the also-ran ceremony instead?

Better yet, just have the Oscars pay tribute to released titles and keep us all in the loop.

———————————————————————–

Screen World 62: The Films of 2010

Movie fans eagerly await each new edition of Screen World, the definitive record of the cinema since 1949. Volume 62 provides an illustrated listing of every significant American and foreign film released in the United States in 2010, documented with more than 1,000 black-and-white photographs.