Yes, it’s true. I finally decided last night that there was no point in continuing with the “Full Circle” project. The piece wasn’t going well, my heart just wasn’t in it, and since I didn’t have any obligations toward it, it just seemed not to be worth the trouble.
It wasn’t a total waste. I came up with some good ideas, but part of the problem was that I couldn’t cram them into the restrictions of a 2-minute film score. It seems like I was trying to write a 12-minute piece compressed into a shorter time frame. Even though I gave up on it, I think I’ll keep it around and possibly return to it later, and turn it into the piece it wanted to be.
Something I’m taking away from this is that, even though I kind of enjoy writing to film, I wouldn’t be a good film composer. The reason; I’m just too egotistical. I don’t mean I go around thinking I’m better than everyone else (though I think I do pretty well); I mean I’m not very good at letting other people dictate to me what to write.
Here’s what I mean. “Full Circle” was being written for a contest at Sounds Online, which you can read about here. On the announcement page for the contest, there was a long list detailing the concept of the movie, and describing what the moviemaker wanted to hear from moment to moment in the sound track. To save you the trouble of following the link, here’s the passage in question:
THE CONCEPT OF THE MOVIE
This is a movie about the circularity of life – an impressionistic rendering of a life-cycle. A bit like a dream where meanings morph and merge, and forms evolve from one another. A flickering blob of “paint” turns into a “seed”. Leaves turn into moths. Moths turn into birds. The landscape tosses and turns depending on the mood. You might think of it as an abstract painting coming to life.
0.00 – 0.11 Out of the void comes a seed. It arrives in a desolate landscape. (isolation but also hope, a flickering light of promise in a dark sea of randomness)
0.11 – 0.25 Despite the bareness, the seed manages to sprout into a plant. (birth, determination, struggling against the odds)
0.25 – 0.37 The plant grows, its energy spreads out into the surroundings, bringing it to life. (growing, expanding, a fountain of energy prevailing over lifelessness)
0.37 – 0.53 The red/green leaves of the plant mature and eventually fly off in all directions. We follow one on its journey into the distance. (joie de vivre, accomplishment, end of growth phase, beginning a purposeful journey into the unknown)
0.53 – 1.01 Over the horizon, the world is still abstract, unformed, monochrome. (emptiness, pre-dawn, infinite waiting)
1.01 – 1.10 A burst of energy signals the arrival of two entities, and forms begin to move and take shape. (arrival, ignition, spreading light in the darkness, anticipation)
1.10 – 1.30 We see the two entities are the original red/green Leaf and a new blue/orange leaf from elsewhere. The two fly around the growing formations in a mating dance, eventually merging. (dancing, excitement, playful, soul-mates find each other in the wilderness)
1.30 – 1.48 The monochromatic world explodes into life and color. The merged leaves become mature wings, and fly off through this new world to find the original void from which they came. (climatic, exhilaration, raison d’etre)
1.48 – 2.00 A change to monochrome marks a return to the void, and the wIngs dissolve and compact to become a new Seed, completing the cycle. (fulfillment, winding down, life fades in this form but continues in another, ending is beginning)
See what I mean? I tried to follow this, but couldn’t get into it. Finally, I just said “forget it” and started writing what I wanted without paying attention to the filmmaker’s instructions. For that reason, even if I had finished, I doubt that I would have won. (And even if I had won, the prize for the winner was a bunch of products that I don’t think I’d be likely to use.)
So “Full Circle” is offically off the table. Fortunately, I have plenty of new projects to keep me out of trouble.
1. New websites. Need to get cracking on these. www.danielpowers.info is up, though not yet complete. I need to add some MP3s and finish the Listening Room pages. And I need to finish the new Swan’s Wing Press website, essentially similar in design to the other, but reorganized and leaner. I’m hoping I can figure out how to add an online shopping cart, but one thing at a time.
2. New arrangements. I’ve agreed to do two or three new arrangements for the Terre Haute Symphony’s fall park concert in September. Also I want to get out a Christmas overture that I started several years ago and try to finish it. I made the mistake of mentioning it to a conductor I’ve worked with before, and he sounded enthusiastic about me finishing it, so I said I’d try.
3. New publications. For much of the past several weeks, I’ve been working on some older pieces, trying to get them into publishable shape. A saxophone quartet from 2005 is nearly ready to go, and I’ve been polishing up the Concerto Piccolo as well. Euphoria is also on the table, but I’ve started having second thoughts about the title again. The book version of Rejoice and Be Merry is ready to go to print except for having a cover designed (need to get that done ASAP). I’ve also been working on a new edition of Leon Jessel’s Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, in both the original instrumentation and an expanded version for full orchestra (original version nearly ready, expanded version in progress).
4. New compositions. I’m planning to put on a composition recital in the Fall and would like to include some new pieces. I have an idea for a group of songs for tenor, viola, and piano based on poems of James Joyce. (Actually revisiting an old idea from college years, that I never finished.) Possibly a piece for two pianos for Martha and our friend Irina Albig, who’ve been playing together for a while now. Also, Martha and I are talking about a new CD project, all new pieces for piano and virtual instruments. I have some ideas already, but too soon to talk about it.