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Q&A: ‘SCORE’ Director Matt Schrader on the Cinematic Power of Music

Throughout history, music has always had a powerful impact on both cinema and audiences. The first documentary of its kind, SCORE celebrates the emotional resonance of music in film by offering an inside look at the work of Hollywood’s most accomplished composers. First time director Matt Schrader goes behind the creative process of nearly two dozen musicians, including prolific artists such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Danny Elfman. Experimenting with new methods and technology, these musical auteurs push the boundaries of both sound and storytelling to create some of the most iconic melodies in history. A must-see for cinephiles and music aficionados alike.

SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY is the first of its kind. What compelled you to tell this particular story?

Matt Schrader: I have long been amazed by the power of music in film. It was always interesting to me how something without any lyrics could have such a profound meaning on us—arguably more meaningful than many songs with lyrics because it’s just the emotive power of the music. I remember waiting for this film to be made, and trying to find something that explored this power. There came a point then a couple years ago where I realized, “This is an exploration I would really like to go on,” and was lucky enough to have some friends who shared that vision. Making this film was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but also the most deeply fulfilling.

SCORE dives deep into the artistic process of some of the world’s top film composers: John Williams, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and Alexandre Desplat, among others. How difficult was it for you to gain access? Are you just extremely charming?

Matt Schrader: It was pretty tough for some interview subjects. There is a reason this film took two years to make! We wish we could’ve interviewed everyone all in one place, but with the average composer doing four or five projects every year, and often without much of a break in between, schedules were really difficult. And we learned that it wasn’t as easy as interviewing somebody on the weekend; most of these composers work right through the weekend, or purposely block off time to decompress and try to get in the creative zone. In the end, we were happy to get almost everyone we wanted in the film to craft a definitive look at the real innovators and geniuses who make film scores and soundtracks.

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