The 2005 Indie Composer Contest Tunes Up – By Jordan Garren

Forget about Jerry Goldsmith (may he rest in peace), Danny Elfman, Basil Poledouris, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, and the vast array of bigshot Hollywood composers that have created some of the most memorable orchestral tunes of all time: This is where the real action is! Earlier this month I accepted the task of covering this event, for I have come to love independent cinema. There’s just something about indie films that makes them so much better in my eyes than the latest big budget summer blockbusters. In any case, the contest is more or less in full swing and is giving indie film composers the chance to show off their musical ability. In order to do this, each contestant must create an original musical piece for a short, two-and-a-half minute long movie clip. The film clip was voted on last week in the Indieclub forums, and out of the six possibilities, the winner was The Lab Chase, from Mike Conway’s The Awakening. (If you’d like to view said clip and the five others that were not chosen, just visit Dial-up users like myself will have to wait quite a while but it’s worth it! This movie clip rules!)

With the movie clip officially chosen, all that’s left to do now is for the composers to make their music. And according to my liaison, Richard (no relation to Doug) McClure, some heavy hitters in the indie composer world have entered into the competition. Among them are Mike Conway (director of Terrarium) and I’m sure he must be feeling lucky since he’ll be scoring music for a clip from his own movie, The Awakening! Also stepping up to the challenge is Gerard Marino who boasts an impressive resume, which includes compositions for the new game, God of War (available now on PS2). Continuing onward, there’s Adrian Ellis, who has done music on several short films (one of which is called Demon Bong! The title alone is reason enough to watch it!), Martin Blasick whose musical cues can be heard in a variety of films and commercials, and two dozen other eager and highly talented composers, including: Patrick Rochel, Tony Lombardi, “Shadowman” (I know your true identity Shadowman! Bwahahaha!), Arya Kumar, Jason Greenburg, Paul Harckham, Jon Ray, Cam Schwarz, Christian Marcussen, Descha Dunnahoe, Carson Kievman, Eric Badger, Rachel Hamilton, Erik Dicksen, Billy Hale, Jeremiah Jacobs, Michael Damon, Nicholas Pavkovic, Andy Mullen, Richard Nelson, Corey Wallace, Matt Milne, Daniel Smith, Ron Meza, and Melodie Myers.

Right now the contestants all have until April 20th to send in their mini-soundtracks for the selected movie clip. I’ve gone through a majority of the composers’ personal websites and sampled some music here and there. In my opinion this is going to be one hell of a tough choice in picking a winner. Each person is talented at what they do and most have a good deal of experience at scoring films. Once the submissions are received, the composers and general public will be allowed to vote on their favorite musical scores. (And as a general rule, each composer can not vote for his/her own composition! Doing so would bring about a new dark age in the world and uh… result in the decimation of the human race… or not.) So now most of you readers are probably wondering what the prize is for this grueling competition, where winner takes all in a no holds barred musical matchup! They win absolutely nothing folks! This contest is merely being done for fun and for recognition; no money or gold statues are involved! (Of course money may be involved if there are any side bets going…)

So basically that’s it! Twenty-nine composers have a little under a month to create a miniature musical masterpiece for a short movie clip in order to gain more recognition in the ever-growing indie film world. As I’ve said, there is a lot of talent involved with this freelance contest and I’m very eager to see the results near the end of next month. Out of the twenty-nine contestants only five will emerge victorious, and only one those five will hold the first place title. However, there is one interesting little twist to this otherwise straightforward competition: Regardless of how the popular vote swings, if both parties agree, any composer may have his/her song selected by the film maker who made the clip! (Sort of a second-chance clause.) This could give a runner-up or anyone else a chance at getting their music used in a film! Anyway, I wish each of the contestants the best of luck and I hope you all have a fun time doing what you all do best! And for all you readers, please check back next month for a followup article with the results of this contest and short interviews with the winner and the runners-up. (And if I’m lucky, I may even get a chance to speak with some of the other composers involved with this contest!) Good luck everyone! For further information on this contest visit