SCORE IT!

SCORE IT!

SPRITE KNIGHT

Lance’s position in his squadron is challenged when he finds himself transforming into the very thing they swore to destroy. Along with physical changes, his emotional and mental state are opened up to the suffering his squadron has inflicted on the land. Through his journey of transformation, Lance learns to reject the blind righteousness of his squadron to become a fairer, empathetic protector: a true knight – The Sprite Knight.

Running Time 4:25

PREVIEW FILM ON VIMEO

REGISTER FOR SCORE IT! 2017


HOW TO ENTER

Step 1 – Register for Score IT! and read the Directors’ notes on the film

Step 2 – Preview Sprite Knight and download film from Vimeo

Step 3 – Read the criteria and required instrumentation and write a score for these instruments to accompany your chosen film

Step 4 – Create a PDF of your final score (no instrumental parts – just the full score)

Step 5 – Create a music notation file of your score (in Sibelius, Finale or similar)

Step 6 – Render the film with a synthesised version of your score synced and embedded as a Quicktime file

Step 7 – You can submit your composition by either downloading the entry form PDF and post your submission or complete the online entry form.

  • Post – Send your composition on DVD or USB with your completed Entry Form to: Score IT!, Queensland Music Festival, PO Box 1060, Fortitude Valley, QLD, 4006
  • Online – Complete the online entry form and send your file via a file sharing service such as Dropbox. Save your file using your first name, surname and category eg. John.Smith.Junior

KEY DATES

Competition Opens
Mon 23 Jan, 2017

Competition Closes
Fri 19 May, 2017

Awards Ceremony
Wed 26 July, 2017

Cameron Patrick Public Lecture (ticketed)
Fri 28 July 2017

For any enquiries please email scoreit@qmf.org.au

ENTER NOW

DIRECTOR'S NOTES

Directed by Costa Kassab

Sprite Knight is a journey of transformation, rebirth and embodies a sparkly sense of wonder. The music similarly evolves with each beat of the story to reflect the main character Lance’s situation and mindset.

SCENE 1 (0:27-1:10)
We begin (after the Main Titles) with Lance finishing off a beast and making his squadron proud, so it should be accompanied with something heroic and official. The mood shifts when Lance is alone and discovers the small lilac sprite which bites him. Our first hint of sparkly magic should be evident here in the music.

SCENE 2 (1:11-2:04)
The second scene is all about his commander moving her squadron into business, so the music should pick up with an escalating hint of danger and malevolence.  When Lance’s powers and forest senses start awakening, the sparkly undertones return, this time providing a chaotic sense of confusion and distress to reflect the forest’s hurting.

The director suggests the following pieces:

Narnia Lullaby” or this subtly unsettling track as examples of the type of feel he imagines the music to have to provide “a chaotic sense of confusion and distress to reflect the forest’s hurting” at this point in scene 2.

The music should halt after Lance knocks down his commander (1:39), resuming with a subtle jingle once his transformed sprite appearance is revealed (1:42). The mood swiftly picks up after he is dragged away as the forest beast awakens and the commander retaliates with fire.

SCENE 3 (2:05-2:38)
The third scene should reflect Lance’s sense of defeat and isolation with some sparkly sense of hope brought in when he’s visited by the lilac sprite. It should build up wondrously as he summons his wings and should pick up heroically as he flies off (this time with added sense of sparkle and magic, as opposed to the more vanilla/raw sense of heroism in the first scene).

SCENE 4 (2:38-3:16)
The fourth, climactic scene should reflect constant action and chaos as the forest burns in the feud between the beast and the commander. Hints of that sparkle motif should playfully accompany the score to reflect Lance’s experimentation of his powers. The chaotic tone tightens when Lance makes the decision to charge down (2:55) and plunges his fist into the solid earth, summoning a glowing trail of energy, which leads into the conflict.  The sense of chaos resumes and crescendos when the commander loses her weapons and the beast closes in on her. The torrent of water diminishes the chaos, softly leading us into the final scene.

SCENE 5 (3:17-4:07)
This scene needs to be a careful balance of wonder and rebirth to reflect the pastel-hued and transformed scenery but also carries with it melancholy undertones, as most of the squadron has fallen. (Hold back the melancholy and really push it once we see the commander’s view of the battlefield). We end with a push more towards the wonder and hopeful aspect of the score as the lilac sprite returns and reminds Lance of his new family. The closing shot of the sunrise should evoke a solemn but hopeful acceptance.

The director suggests the following pieces as inspiration for this feeling of “solemn but hopeful acceptance”: this delicate music box style track and this track.

After this scene, the End Titles would run from 4:07 to 4:44.

GENERAL NOTES
For consistency and theme matters, Sprite Knight should sound somewhat Celtic and medieval to drive the fairytale context.

The director suggests the following piece as inspiration for “something wondrous” and this piece as inspiration for “more fast paced/action moods”.

As mentioned constantly, try to weave in instrumentals with tingly/sparkly sort of sounds like chimes, bells or triangles to drive the mood of magic and mystery

CRITERIA

1. The composer has presented a full score for the specified instrumentation with ALL metronome marks and tempo changes clearly indicated throughout the score and the score written in concert pitch, with nothing transposed.

2. Provide a digital PDF of the final score, either portrait or landscape orientation is fine (NO instrumental parts. Just the score)

3. Provide a music notation file of the score (in Sibelius, Finale or similar)

4. Provide a digital Quicktime version of the film with a synthesized mock-up of their score synched and embedded.

5. The score effectively and convincingly realises the dramatic intent of the Film as specified by the Director’s musical brief.

6. The composer has presented an original, creative and imaginative composition that demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of film music composition.

7. The composer has scored the film from the opening frame of the film (after the countdown leader and 2-pip) through to the final frame of the end credits (the “Produced at Griffith University Griffith Film School” title card).

Note: When exporting your score to PDF format, please double check and make sure the music for the transposing instruments is not transposed during the conversion process.  Remember, the score is to be in concert pitch!

JUDGING

Score It! Plus will be judged by LA-based orchestrator and composer Cameron Patrick who will select three semi-finalists for the Score IT! Plus category, from which one finalist will be awarded the winner. The winner of Score IT! Plus will see their orchestration come to life, performed live at the Award Ceremony on Wednesday 26 July 2017, as well as have it recorded live at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

INSTRUMENTATION

Note: It is a requirement that students write for all 14 of the instrumentalists and their instruments as listed in the ensemble below.

1 x flute
1 x oboe
1 x b-flat clarinet
1 x bassoon
1 x b-flat trumpet
1 x French horn
1 x trombone (tenor)
2 x violins (1 x first violin, 1 x second violin)
1 x viola
1 x cello
1 x double bass
2 x percussion (no large keyboard percussion instruments, only instruments from the list below)

Students can choose from the following list of percussion instruments:

  • snare drum
  • bass drum
  • timpani (maximum of 3 drums: 1×32”, 1×29”, 1×26”)
  • tam-tam
  • suspended cymbal
  • tambourine
  • small shaker
  • wood block
  • temple blocks
  • castanets
  • cow bell
  • triangle
  • mark tree
  • bell tree
  • glockenspiel
  • chimes (tubular bells)

Of course students are not required to write for all of the percussion instruments listed.  A manageable number of percussion instruments are to be chosen from the list to use in the score.  Keep in mind the time it takes for a player to move from instrument to instrument and to change mallets/sticks. Students must make sure that Percussionist #1 plays the same set of instruments throughout the whole score, and that Percussionist #2 plays the same set of instruments throughout the whole score … i.e. if you assign the snare drum to Percussionist #1 for example, then the snare drum must only be played as one of Percussionist #1’s instruments throughout the entire score.  The snare drum becomes part of Percussionist #1’s instrument setup or station and will not be played at any point by Percussionist #2.  Similarly, if you assign the timpani to Percussionist #2, then the timpani must only be played as part of Percussionist #2’s instruments throughout the entire score.  The timpani become part of Percussionist #2’s instrument setup or station and will not be played at any point by Percussionist #1 and so on for every percussion instrument you choose.  If possible, all of the parts for each percussionist are to be consolidated onto one 5-line staff (see downloadable PDF of the score setup) for each Percussionist #1 and Percussionist #2.

DOWNLOAD SCORE TEMPLATE

CAM'S COMPOSING TIPS

Greetings Score IT! Plus 2017 participants!

I just wanted to type a few words of welcome and say how very thrilled and honoured I am to once again be involved in this year’s program. I look forward to seeing and hearing all of the Score IT! Plus entries and meeting as many of you as I can while I’m in Brisbane for the Score IT! ceremony and public lecture in July.  I hope you’re all enjoying the process of scoring Sprite Knight and are letting your minds and imaginations soar with creative ideas.

The starting point for your composition, once you have watched the film through a number of times, should be to carefully read the Director’s Notes.

If you were scoring this film in the “real world”, you would meet with the Director before you start composing and talk about his or her (in this case his) concept for the music. Scoring a film isn’t just about what music you want to write to accompany the images. Rather, it is a collaborative effort between the Director and the Composer. You are working with, and for, the Director and must listen very carefully to his opinions. Consequently, a big part of the judging criteria that I will take into consideration when choosing the winners will be to see who has followed the Director’s suggestions and who hasn’t.

In reading the Director’s Notes, you’ll see that the Director has a very definite concept for the musical sound of the score. He feels, being a fairytale, that the score should have a “somewhat Celtic and medieval” sound. He has even included some YouTube links of musical examples that he feels capture the type of sound and moods he’s looking for. Obviously, none of these musical examples uses exactly the same ensemble we are using for Score It! Plus 2017, but they are an excellent way to point you in the right direction with a feel for your score. Using existing music to help put the Director and the Composer on the same “musical page” is very common in the world of film scoring.

Other factors to consider when thinking about the sound of your score are:

  • In dealing with knights, monsters and epic battles, brass & percussion certainly spring to mind!
  • A very big part of the story centres around the lilac sprites and the Director wants their signature sound to consist of “tingly/sparkly sort of sounds like chimes, bells or triangles to drive the mood of magic and mystery.”

Now that we have a better idea what the sound of your score is going to be, the next step is to develop the building blocks for your score i.e. your themes and motifs. If this were a full-length motion picture, you could have a theme for Lance, a theme for the Lilac Sprites, and a theme for the commander in her quest to “eliminate invasive species.” With the film being under 4’30” minutes however, that might prove to be simply too much material.

What to do?

Well, have a look at the Director’s opening paragraph where he explains that Sprite Knight is “a journey of transformation, rebirth and embodies a sparkly sense of wonder.” He continues saying that he wants the music to evolve “with each beat of the story to reflect the main character, Lance’s situation and mindset.” Here’s your clue as to how to structure your score: have Lance’s evolution be the central thematic focus of your score.  I would build a nice rich theme for Lance; a theme that can one minute declare heroism and hope, and the next suggest feelings of defeat and isolation. By changing the harmonies and the orchestration, you can mould Lance’s theme through a whole range of emotions, to help carry the audience along on his journey from being a narrow-minded brute to becoming a sensitive but strong advocate for the world of nature that surrounds him.

Next on the score building block list are the lilac sprites who are hugely important to the story and to Lance’s character development. I would come up with a short motif for them, rather than a long theme. The Director wants them represented by instruments (listed above) that suggest a sparkly sense of wonder and magic and we’ve included a number of percussion instruments in the list that would work perfectly for this. This motif could not only be used to represent the lilac sprites themselves, but could be used in combination with Lance’s theme, either melodically, instrumentally, or both to underscore Lance’s metamorphosis into the sprite/human hybrid he becomes.

In giving the commander, her crew of thugs, and her continuous battles with the mysterious beast a musical voice, I would look at the words the Director uses to describe her and her cruel mission to “eliminate invasive species”, which are danger, malevolence, chaos, confusion, and distress. Dark, deep, more sinister sounds best expressed through trombone, bassoon, cello and double bass, along with low percussion like timpani, bass drum & tam-tam would be very useful here. There may not be time in such a short score to fit in a specific theme for the commander and her conflict with the beast and the environment, but a recurring use of orchestrations using these instruments might be very effective in suggesting an appropriate emotion for her presence and purpose.

The Director has laid out an incredibly detailed roadmap of the emotional journey you need to take the audience on with your music. His notes provide you with an almost foolproof scene-by-scene guide to scoring the film, so make sure you put it to good use and follow it!

In crafting your score for our 14-piece ensemble, don’t approach it as though you were writing a large-scale symphonic score which you then have to shrink down to make work with 5 strings somehow having to do the work of 60; 4 woodwinds having to do the work of 12; 3 brass having to do the work of 11; and 2 percussionists covering as much as they can in place of 4 or 5. As opposed to viewing it as a “poor man’s orchestra” that forces you to leave out a lot of notes to make it work, rather think of it as a large chamber music group; and a 14-piece chamber group is considered big! Fashion your music to take advantage of the huge array of colours available to you from each of the instruments and their families.

Of course, everyone can be used as a soloist, can play in unison, or can be blended together in various combinations. With some careful dynamic balancing, the woodwinds and brass can play chords together, as can the strings. But remember, and I’ll reference the strings as an example as it holds true for the woodwinds and brass too, 5 strings playing together does not sound like an orchestral string section. They sound like a string quintet, which is a very different sound. For your reference, check out some of the string quartets/quintets, woodwind quartets and brass trios on iTunes or Amazon to hear how distinct these combinations are in a chamber music setting such as this.

One of the big things to remember is that your score will (hopefully!) be played in real time by a group of live instrumentalists. With that in mind, give the winds and brass time to breathe, give the strings time to switch between pizzicato and arco, and give the strings and brass time to wrestle mutes into place if required. The most important people to consider in this particular live performance situation are the percussionists. They will have to set up all of the instruments you want them to use within reach, in their own instrumental “station” and will have to pick up and put down a variety of sticks and mallets to play them, so build some time into the music to do this with rests!

Also remember when writing for a live performance to avoid any sudden extreme changes in tempo unless the new tempo is effectively set up a few beats in advance over a held note, a held chord or period of silence. Even though we’ll be playing to a click track, this kind of “new tempo preparation” is very useful and gives the conductor and musicians a chance to play in time with the new tempo right off the bat.

Find fun and creative ways to experiment with the orchestration of your composition. Try one section of the music with just the strings, one with just the woodwinds or one with just the brass.  Try having the clarinet or the bassoon play as part of the brass section or put the horn with the woodwinds. Let your imagination for instrumental colours wander! No one instrument should play all the time (especially not the percussion) and try to save the full ensemble playing together for the big action or emotional sequences.

Don’t be afraid to use silence, i.e. bars rest, in your score.  The music doesn’t have to play continuously. Sometimes taking all the music out for a few beats can make an emotional moment even more effective, as can reintroducing music after a short period of silence.

Remember, the film has no dialogue, just sound effects, so you are creating most of the audio world in which this story takes place with your music, right through to the end of the credits.

Once again, I look forward to meeting you all in July.

Have fun!

Cameron.

FAQ

CAN I ENTER MORE THAN ONE CATEGORY?
Yes, in addition to Score IT! Plus, you may enter Score IT! Junior or Score IT! Senior (depending on your year level).

CAN I CO-COMPOSE?
No, you can only enter as a solo composer in this category.

WHAT CAN I WIN?

  • Two return airfares and accommodation to Brisbane, for finalist and supervising adult to attend the Award Ceremony on Wednesday 27 July 2016
  • Masterclass with Cameron Patrick
  • Two tickets to the Cameron Patrick public lecture on Friday 29 July 2016
  • Winning composition will be recorded with the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University ensemble and conducted by Cameron Patrick
  • Winning composition will be performed live by musicians from the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University ensemble
  • The winner’s name will appear on a special title card as composer (replacing the film’s original composer) in the end credits of the version of “Sprite Knight” screened at the Score It! Plus ceremony/performance and on the version of the film provided to the winner.

WHAT DOES IT COST?
Score IT! is free to enter and does not have any registration or other fees.

If you chose to mail in your composition and score all costs including DVD and mailing charges are the responsibility of each entrant.

Should airfares and accommodation not be required by the finalist, other travel allowances may be made available. All food, incidentals and personal costs related to the Brisbane trip are at the cost of finalist.

ENTRIES CLOSE
FRIDAY 19 MAY 2017