The Music of Smiling Friends with Brendan Caulfield | Summary and Q&A

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January 22, 2022
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The Create Unknown
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The Music of Smiling Friends with Brendan Caulfield

TL;DR

Brendan Caulfield discusses his journey from an independent filmmaker to becoming the composer for popular adult surrealism show, Smiling Friends, and shares insights on his creative process and the challenges of scoring for different moods.

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Key Insights

  • πŸ‘» Patience, persistence, and collaboration are essential in the creative journey, allowing for personal growth and seeking help when necessary.
  • πŸ’¦ A composer's role is to serve the vision of the creators, adapting and adjusting their work to fit seamlessly with the visuals and storytelling.
  • πŸ—―οΈ Scoring for Smiling Friends involves finding the right balance between creating memorable music that suits various moods and comedic timing.
  • πŸ₯Ί The creative process often entails trial and error, with scrapped or changed compositions leading to unexpected successes.

Transcript

sometimes it's a lot it's throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks it takes that getting it wrong to like then set me on the path to being right i mean listen to the story of working on this one independent film for four to five years in grandma's basement i think people need to understand to have some patience but along the way to contin... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How did you set the musical scene for the "Mr. Boss breastfeeding" moment in Smiling Friends?

The "Mr. Boss breastfeeding" scene originally had more music, including an unsettling drone, creepy piano, and an ascending scream. However, the final version only includes the tail end of that music. The intention was to create an unsettling atmosphere without drawing too much attention to the music. Sometimes, less is more in scoring, and it required collaboration with the creators to find the right balance.

Q: Can you discuss the challenges of scoring for the ever-changing tones and genres in Smiling Friends?

Smiling Friends presents a wide range of tones and genres, which can be challenging to navigate as a composer. The show requires being a jack of all trades and a master of adaptation. While some episodes, like "Enchanted Forest," were more intricate compositionally, the overall scoring for Smiling Friends required finding the middle ground between standing out and blending in with the visuals. Engaging in constant communication with the creators was essential to achieving the right feel and tone for each episode.

Q: How do you handle it when your compositions or work get scrapped or changed in the editing process?

It's essential to maintain a flexible mindset as a composer, as your compositions may undergo changes or even get scrapped during the editing process. While it can be disappointing, it's crucial to separate your personal attachment from the project and understand that your role as a composer is to serve the vision of the creators. It's all part of the creative journey, and sometimes failures can lead to unexpected successes.

Q: What are some of your favorite moments or episodes from the first season of Smiling Friends, and what are your hopes for season two?

Brendan enjoyed working on episodes like "Shrimp's Odyssey" and "Enchanted Forest" due to the unique musical opportunities they presented. However, he emphasized that every episode of Smiling Friends had its own special moments and nuances. As for season two, Brendan anticipates the exploration of more lore-building and the introduction of new episode ideas. He looks forward to whatever challenges and musical delights the creators throw his way.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Brendan Caulfield reflects on his journey of working on an independent film in his grandmother's basement, which eventually led to collaborations with Michael Cusack on various animations and shows, including Smiling Friends.

  • He emphasizes the importance of patience, persistence, and collaboration in the creative process, highlighting the need for personal growth and seeking help when necessary.

  • Brendan shares insights into the complexities of scoring for Smiling Friends, from capturing the right moods and atmosphere to adapting his music to fit the comedic timing and visual style of the show.

  • He mentions the joys of collaborating with Michael Cusack and Zach Hadel in developing the music for Smiling Friends, as well as the challenges of finding the right balance between creating memorable music that blends seamlessly into the background and stands out when necessary.

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