Westworld Spitfire competition entry

Mikael are you entering the contest?

@Geoffers, finally something different to hear, really. Good job! :+1:

I don’t know about you guys, but almost every single composition I have heard so far, at least two-to-one weeks ago was made by people who have no idea what film music is about and how music is actually used in movies like that, even in general. Most of them were 100% focused on trailer music stuff, that everybody heard 100 million times before (braaaammmm…braaaaaaaaaaaaammmm), but most importantly, no matter how great you can compose these genres, and what name you have in the business, who just can’t deny that a trailer music cue, doesn’t fit this specific cue. Period.

Is music subjective? Yes, it’s art, someone likes it or not. And that’s okay. But if you miss the storytelling of that scene (the movie itself), where you work against the picture, against the dialog and just can’t put your ego out of that film, you just can’t call yourself a film music composer. The film is about the story, not about the music. And so far this cue is one of best I have heard so far in terms of storytelling, sounds, composition, excitement, orchestration, etc.

The biggest NO-GO in this kind of competition is to raise the level of the music to a point where you can’t hear the dialogue. Sometimes I really think, that even super experienced guys forget that they have a fader on their music-stereo-bus that they can ride…or am I wrong?

I really can’t call myself a film music composer that has experience with 30+ years under my belt, who composed 100+ movies till this date etc., however, if I can really take something out of my film music composer’s degree some years ago, is to ☞ serve the movie, the story and make the music feel like it’s “invisible”. If music bothers you at some point, you know it doesn’t fit there, uses wrong sounds or instruments, or is simply too loud. Something that is actually super primitive, and you don’t even need to study it really to understand that.

As I said before, your cue is a really good example of what it means to put your composer’s ego to the side and serve the movie. Everything else I have heard so far was composed by people who’s ego was stronger than the story of that scene, thus, those people will really have a super hard time working with directors and supervisors, if this is their dream, wish, whatever. (So they need to deal with directors and supervisors and not with me. I just share my thoughts.)

I can’t say that everything you have made fits my personal taste, but again, it’s fine, as music is art, and art is subjective. Most importantly is, that we share our thoughts, reflect on them, if needed learn and implement them in the next productions, it really has it’s benefits and it’s okay to stand your personal taste too – that’s really important too (have your personal style!).

But most importantly is, that it’s not me to decide, who’s music is best, fits best, sounds best etc., it’s the decision of the director, the clients and the music production houses you are working with to decide “Yes or No”, “Good or Bad”.

They are paying you to do the job they have asked for, so every time someone critiques my music and production, I work with it, decide if that could be important or not, and process it. I know exactly how it feels to be criticized by composers, and that’s fine, but most of the time, too much personal taste is involved, and not constructive feedback that really can help me to make it better, now or later. This is what still many composers need to learn because no matter the level, well-founded and constructed feedback is 10x better than an “I don’t like that sound…” from someone who is more skilled as you are.

Because again, these people don’t hire me, and with time I have found out that the best way to get a good critique is based on two things: (1) Ask people who are not into music, (I often ask my wife, or a friend but don’t tell them that I have produced it and just look at their eyes-face-reaction ☞ it really tells me EVERYTHING! And (2) look for people who are at least at your level, and ask them for fair feedback, a couple of sentences is totally enough, where you stand with your production.

This is why I really love this forum and not these stupid FB-Groups where everyone for most of the time, knows better, and better of “everything” and shared subjective crap that doesn’t help you or others at all.

I really became a fan of pure facts, that are 100% proven and are not based on subjectiveness. If I say something subjective, I try to make it really clear, but as we know, this often doesn’t help at all…

PS: I need to say that I don’t like the choice of the original music from Ramin too, as it instantly reminds me of Berlioz and John Williams Starwars. It just doesn’t fit the picture for me. However, what needs to be stated as well is, that I never saw the whole WW Series myself, so I have no idea what the thing is about and what type of music they have chosen for the entire series. Because I remember when I first saw “House of Cards”, I didn’t like it too in the beginning, but after 2 shows I was a fan, as I have realized that that concept really made sense for the entire series. For me, one of the best shows ever made so far for Netflix!


Also, I don’t get why some on youtube do a downward thumb, I mean on other videos uploaded for this competition, it’s good to get both positive and negative feedback but instead of putting a thumbs down, write a comment and leave feedback on what you think didn’t work or what can be better , instead of a thumbs down when someone is only doing what they know at the time.


Ah man your awesome, you just say stuff as it is and I love that!! Seriously, thank you for your kind words and you are exactly right.

We need to serve the narrative. That is like the number one rule in film composition. The thing is, everyone wants to be a John williams… but he was an anomaly in the film world. He was able to write super expressively and melodically because of his relationships with directors (one in particular). His music marries so well because they often cut the film to his music, not the other way around. So he. Oils do whatever he liked.

As you say there are things that we like and dislike from every composer. Heck there’s a good few things in this that were compromises. We have limitations (libraries, ability, lack of narrative etc). So we just have to roll with it and see what we can make with what we have :slight_smile:

Riding the mix bus is definitely super important. Infact I recon 99% who have entered wouldn’t have even made a mix bus for the music, which is such a shame… it also makes ten times more work for you too :frowning: seen a guy say he’s spent two weeks on his and it’s still not done :open_mouth:

If I’m honest, there really were times when my ego nearly came out on top. At one point I even thought “fanfare time!!” And then got a brew and changed my mind in that small space of time :joy:

Sounds like you have a similar background to me. How was your film degree!? I only majored in film… the rest of the degree was pure music.

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One word Carl, laziness. People would rather troll than be constructive.

It’s sad really but a lot of people think that to get to the top you need to push others down. It’s somply not the case. We as a race are symbiotic. We need eachother more than we know, but other people only see their insecurities sadly. I do feel for them and wish they weren’t that way inclined… however life is cruel, and often mental health shows itself in many manners including trolls…


Thank you @Geoffers! :slight_smile:

Well, my life is/was a little crazy and actually I have more to tell with 28 than some people with 55 and many people already acknowledged that – which is great because it shows me that I am open-minded, work on constructive critique and I love to reflect on things and trying to understand the context. And as you have said, it all comes to mindset and nothing else.

Super briefly for you: I was playing piano since I was 6 years old. Later, because school was s***, I went to music college, piano, drums, harmony, etc., however, I have realised that I don’t want to be a live musician, not because I am not good enough, but because I just can’t produce or concentrate to 100% behind the keys for whatever reason, and that’s okay. So I thought, what should I do then? At the college I was super interested in music production, started with Logic and went to a film music college (conservatory), but they through me out, as I wasn’t really interested in their future program, and other reasons as well, so I went to an Audio Production college to do my BA there.

And the more I am in the business, the more I see myself as an allrounder (the word “audio creator” would describe me best I guess. I can’t call myself like I am a hero (nerd) in just one specific thing, and that’s fine for me, because I wouldn’t change anything, as I like to work on different types of projects and scenarios, as this is what drives and motivates me. So I am not seeing myself doing only one type of thing, every single day, for example only composing, or only mixing. This is boring for me, I need to have diversity. At least for now. But I don’t think I would change that in the future as well. :slight_smile:


Awesome background man. It’s great to hear people’s journeys. We are all unique and it takes a while for us to find exactly which way to go. The great thing is this, nothing is fixed. We can change our course as we gain more understanding of who we really are. Wether that be musically or in our hearts, it’s of no consistency. This is what I love about life. Diversity means we can’t be pushed into a box that’s simply not the right shape for us.

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@Geoffers or anyone, did you do anything else to the audio level of the movie file, I am trying the contest out, I increased the volume knob under movie project setting (media volume), is there anything else to raise it higher , my movie track audio sounds lower in volume compared to the other uploads. Are you creating a separate audio track of movie file in logic and using eq/pplug ins to control the audio that way? Thanks!

No I’m not entering this one, I am usually careful of scoring to picture contests, as the final track will be almost useless for music licensing since it is so tied to a certain video.

but we should be able to use our original score for our own websites/portfolio and we can license it to others if we want? Interesting though, so you’re saying the song is exclusive to them. I think with this competition, it might help get one more exposure because of the A list series this is but I see what you’re saying.

No, Im saying that with music that was scored to picture will be much harder to use for another visual production since it has lots of cue points, specific energy dynamics etc. That makes the track harder to license.

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I see, makes sense! I’m gonna give it a try, just in case it’s really the end of the world and that way I can say I wrote something for an A list series.

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This discussion is worth to read it multiple times. Sometimes its also useful to read between the lines. I love Alexey’s words as he is not mainly talking about music itself but about everything around producing music. People, Groups, Customers, Clients… Maybe this is 80% of music only to know how people think and why they hire you and 20% composing and producing. As a software developer i know its sometimes hard to tell your customer the truth, because he does’nt want to hear it. So i think its similar with music, if you are very proud of your track an he dislikes it. In my opinion music should support the scenes where ther is no dialog.
On the opposite music can tell a stoy itself. In school, we discussed many hours the complete cycle of Mussorsky’s " Pictures at an Exhibition, which is still fascinating me. See how “Samuel” Goldenberg and “Schmuÿle” almost talk to each other Big Brass section vs. a single trumpet. Or my favorite The Bogatyr Gates (In the Capital in Kiev).
If you are able to fit your music between the talking scenes and pick up “their” dialog in the music, you will be successful, i think and this ist what Geoffrey has impressively proven with his masterpiece.
Good luck bro, and thanks to you guys helping rookies like me :slight_smile:
As you loved journeys, i never played any instrument. I started composing only to underlay my holiday pictures as i love epic pictures from mountains or the sea… the only background in music theory i have is what i learned from school. it really fascinated me. and now, with 36 years i started composing as a nice spare time hobby. :slight_smile:


No I didn’t,

I sent all my musics output to a bus and called that bus “mixbus”. I made sure to leave the foly /voice track going straight to the stereo out so it bypasses the music.

Then when I mixed the track I made sure I mixed LOUD. I then pulled the track down so it sat underneath the audio and finally automated the mic bus in the very loud bits so that it didn’t conflict with the speech or foly,

I was careful all the way through about not getting to in the way of anything that needed to be herd… that includes how careful I was picking the sounds too :slight_smile:

Except the driver action bits I don’t use a bass instrument that goes lower than C2 and I don’t use any cymbals that aren’t baked into hits so it doesn’t conflict with upper frequencies of explosions. Infact I do use a reverses cymbal as a rider but it has all the high end over 2k taken out.

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Thanks for sharing how you did that! Shows in your piece, sounds clean. Do you think there’s a video out there that explains how to do things like what you described for better audio quality of track and movie?

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No I don’t think there is a video yet. At least not that I’ve seen. However I did create a thread on how to create the perfect template and this technique is at its core. Maybe you could check it out. The steps are quite simple and it works with any DAW.


Got it, thanks! Last question, where can I find this thread of yours or what is the title of your post about your template. Would be great to learn from it. Good luck on your submission.

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It’s in the tutorials and tips section :slight_smile: and thank you very much!


There is not even a thumbs down button in this community, only a heart! :stuck_out_tongue:
Fun fact: I have never in my life pressed a thumbs down button on YouTube, Facebook or anywhere online. I think it says more about the person expressing his dislike, than the content itself. Yes, some people are toxic. No place for them in this community, I can promise you that! :wink:

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I love Alexey’s in depth and super positive and constructive posts too, in fact Alexey @jlx_music, I believe you are a master in the making! You already have what is more important than anything in my humble opinion: huge drive, positive mindset, strong motivation, and down to earth humility! :slight_smile: