What do you think about HBO Spitfire Results?

Hey guys,

I hope your all are fine and have a great time inside your DAWs!

Before I leave my comment about the results of HBO’s Spitfire Winners Announcement, want to hear from you what you think about it. I am really excited about your thoughts! :slight_smile:


Maybe a little too Super Mario for me. :blush:


I am by no expert by any means on music or adding effects
But I felt this approach with the retro video game style I found it took me out of the movie clip
If this was a video game movie like rampage etc…then it would belong no problem
Now Some were very funny where they put them
But I donot think that was idea :bulb:
but not for me at lest the effects drew to much attention to their self
Maybe if the effects were dial down more
Into the music
There was one part where the retro style was used in with the music that was not too bad
Anyways that what I thought

Mario bros 1 or 2?


Hi alex, i first was thinking of a joke, when i heard this 8bit version. But i also think with 11.000 entries, they heard 10.999 times almost the same and similar stuff. The 5 runners up where unbelieveable good, exactly what i would have expected, and also yours was worth to be in the first 5.
Sometimes i think, you need to impress the jury somehow ever.


I thought if they really listened to at least 20-30 of the entries, the results would have been different maybe not all of the results but at least the winner result, the runner ups met more of the criteria than the winner. It is what it is I guess.


Thank you for all your comments!

@bcraig When I hear people say that they feel that it is a “joke”, I can honestly say that it is. Not because the winner’s entry is bad or anything but Spitfire has shot themselves in their own knee, as you are 100% right that you will never ever hear something similar in a Hollywood Blockbuster movie or such a series in a big TV show. Every director who is really serious about their craft will never let you put that score under such a production. People will think that you are weird and didn’t understand the “task”. It has nothing to do with what you see on screen, nor the story, nor the scene is “funny” comedy stuff.

I have read their “expectations” and they contradict their own expectations. From my experience, there is no way you can take the sound design out and instead put your music at 100% volume in there. And the task was clear: Don’t change the original sound. But the winner did. That’s not logical. And we see that they did not take it really seriously what they have asked for.

@Seven_Tears Thank you, Michael! True! Well, originality is definitely really important, at least trying not to copy something 100% but change the music to your own personality and liking. If they would have asked to be unique and do whatever we like, maybe more people would try to do something else and that would make sense. But yet again, if we take this cue and show it to 10 directors from all over the world, how many would agree with this? A movie is all about the story, and as I have wrote in my blog post, the best film music often described as “invisible”, so you don’t even hear it, as it’s implemented in such a way to support the story and not work against it or even bother the listener.

@que10musx, that’s what I think they did. And that’s why I feel so sorry for the people who took it extremely seriously and put their hearts and souls into this project and in the end they were screwed. And there is good reason for that. Did you know that David Kudell has worked with the judges before? Worked on films like Matrix, Mission Impossible, etc.?

And now I ask myself, how can Spitfire allow this guy to participate when he has a personal connection to the judges? That’s 100% fake and that’s why people are ranting about it. I already shared my thoughts about these kinds of competitions before, however, one thing everyone should understand: This business is bought a lot of times. It would be so much better they’ve chosen a guy who doesn’t have a portfolio and had no opportunities before to show his talent.

What I like about what @Mikael is doing is that he lets the community decide who will win the next contest and not personal connections to the judges.

I have many plans in the future, and to hold a contest is one of them, and I know that people will only come back to you if you will not fake them from the start and take + waste their time for nothing. However, I am really glad too that finally, the industry shows itself where it stands today, as I personally know who participated in shows like “The Voice”, etc., and what they will tell you will blow you away too, as so much is bought and fake out there it’s unreal. How people are treated, etc.

It’s great to know beforehand, so you go with the already right mindset into a competition, as you know it’s not about you, your talent and craft, it’s about marketing and money, nothing else, unfortunately.

Have a great rest of the week guys and start the new one strong, happy, and fulfilled!

Alexey :slight_smile:


I took a listen to it, and it is very well produced and has a very “retro”/parody kind of vibe. In fact, it would have been PERFECT imho for the movie “Pixels” I watched a couple of months ago. But that is an extremely light-hearted comedy with nerd humor all the way.

For this scene however, which is dark, low key lighting, no sense of “sillyness/parody” whatsoever in the cuts and action on screen…it just feels so wrong.

If I am being cynical here, I would think that when Spitfire heard this entry they knew it would create a drama storm if it won. And we all know drama is “free marketing” :stuck_out_tongue:


I myself din’t participate, but I was surprised over the work that won. It’s for sure every different from the rest. My impression is that they where looking for a tune inspired from the video but not necessarily followed the plot. The 8-bit style was funny and very original if you consider the plot in Westworld. So sure, the winning composition was by far the most original and breaking approach compared to the finalists, which were much more close to the original soundtrack. The 8-bit track was basically making fun of the plot.

Having said that, I also think that Spitfire tried to pick a winner that wouldn’t be too heavy on their products. Choosing a winner in any art form will always be personal and subjective.

1 Like

The rules were clear and they broke them in the end, otherwise the community wouldn’t feel like that yesterday. I already have described the issues with these kinds of contests and there is a good reason why many are angry about the final end result. It’s not that the winner doesn’t deserve it or anything, but there should be definitely limits who participate and that rules set by the company are not broken.

If they would say: “Do something unexpected!”, then it would make sense. But they said that you need to serve and support the story. It’s a blockbuster not a comedy show, or is Westworld a comedy show?

Music, art, subjective, but it just can’t be personal, as it already shows the world that there should be no reason to participate in the next contest, if you don’t no the director in person.

It’s really easy to make it honest, open and transparent if you integrate the community into the contest by choosing the best tracks that makes sense for them and not for the director or someone else from Spitfire.


For me, it has not been a good decision. But, you should consider that maybe the people in charge are not really good selecting the music, but they are “in charge”. Remenber the original score of that scene, (ridiculous bullshit). :stuck_out_tongue:
Maybe they are looking for the conflict in the reaction of the networks. :man_shrugging:


Yeah, the whole contest was a great marketing move, as first they get so much free traffic, which results in a lot of free cash and ratings. Plus they did a great job to support Covid-19 to help to not spread more. And then of course the bonus if you choose this kind of composition, people start to freak out and that results in more and more traffic. Really smart, however, it’s dangerous too, as people can lose trust in terms of how serious they take it.


I’m still unsure how they broke them… didn’t they make their own rules??

Well, we could argue about what they wrote and said and blah blah, but in the end it’s still their decision and all people need to except it. Period. I need to add that when I have read the submission rules, there was no line that said it’s not allowed to participate for people who know the judges or have connections. So David did nothing wrong, for me it’s legal, however, I do understand that it seems kind of suspicious for many guys out there.

I have a clear position: The music doesn’t fit and has nothing to do with what the scene is about. The original score too. But we as composers still need to understand that it’s not OUR decision, it’s the decision of the directors and producers.

There is a reason why some people will never fit together as a team, as their ego’s and visions go in different directions. Not everything is clear and easy. It will be always a subjective preference, even if doesn’t make any sense for most of the guys.

How many hits are out there that prove that most people don’t like the track and still the music finds it’s listener.

Spitfire did a great move in terms of marketing, but it is dangerous too when you see 1500 dislikes compared to 1300 likes on YouTube. But it’s unfair too, to dislike all the music David wrote in the past, which is the case. It’s unprofessional, it’s silly and he doesn’t deserve it as a human being.


Well we could also argue that there was no rule on genre, or even style. You just had to write something that accompanied the scene… and that was all fulfilled wasn’t it.

At the end of the day that number of dislikes doesn’t mean anything, nor is it valid to justify your own feelings when ultimately it’s the judges who take all submissions into account.

Scepticism doesn’t have any validity, it only breeds contempt… which is being proven right now.

What we do know is that 11 thousand people had the opportunity to score a professional scene with foly and voice included. An extremely rare opportunity outside the industry. That in itself is worth more than any of the prizes.

There’s also 11 thousand references on how you might approach just once scene. This is an unrivalled resource to anyone who needs inspiration.

It’s not even a valid point to say David worked with them before because regardless of that fact he still isn’t an established composer earning a good salary… so regardless, he’s won and I’m happy he’s got the prize. To dispute the outcome is to slander his entitlement AND his art. Yes, his art.

Personally it may not be to everyone’s taste, but whenever is anything to everyone’s taste, heck, even you said my submission wasn’t to your taste and essentially the only difference is that I stuck to a genre and he integrated at least 3 different genres which fit together fairly well.

Do I think that it worked? Well I’d say the end was more effective than the start, but what does that even matter? I’m no judge… I’ve only worked on a hand full of films and I definitely wasn’t a judge.

Ultimately this isn’t a debate I feel should even be public. I feel so bad for the winner as he’s got to read hundreds of thousands of comments that are bad mouthing his work… and no matter how many times we say “ but this is about spitfire, not the winner”. We are STILL devaluing this guys work. And that’s not cool.

I think of this community. If we were to slander anyone who we felt shouldn’t have won, the community would be in uproar. Just because spitfire audio is a big conglomerate doesn’t mean it should be any different.

In conclusion.
It doesn’t matter what we think.
We should be congratulating the winner, not bad mouthing his work.

If we don’t like it, then this is a personal issue that I feel shouldn’t be voiced in this way. We just need to be aweee that perhaps spitfire competitions aren’t what we should enter if we disagree. :slight_smile:


:clap::clap::clap: yeah. I think the winner made a good job, under his vision, as many others made. And it fulfilled judges spectations. And that is all. We can disagree, but why to get angry?
Treating bad the composer is really unfair.


Agree on everything. I guess what a lot of people thought that the judging should be different, like 50% community and 50% judging. But at the end I believe that there will still a good amount of complaining. Whatever, I don’t care, that’s why I don’t take it personal as this contest is not your lottery ticket, but many think it is, lol.

I send my cue to some directors and already got the next gig, that’s the point. If other people don’t like my work too, that’s okay. They don’t Business me.

If I don’t like others work, so what. Who am I? Too much drama and lack of focus to make better use of the time that is far more important than complaining.

And by the way, it’s my only point on that whole thing, the judges don’t have time for 11k entries for 31 days music in total, so alone this numbers reveals that there is nothing to win, as your submission will never be heard probably. So going into the competition with a hope your track is best, even if, it’s like playing lottery.

If take music seriously you will never feel like most the guys do right now, I was there many years ago too, and that’s fine, as again no focus and context.

Today I don’t care, that’s why i feel really relaxed inside, my ambitions changed.


I agree with you there, the panel wouldn’t have been able to listen to all the entries in their entirety. I actually don’t think they thought it would blow up so much… by the sounds of things anyway.

As i said before i also really like the winning track, but its still kind of unfair that a track wins, which will surely not get used in the show for real. They should have said “do what you want”, and not score a scene for a real tv show.
@jlx_music alexey congrats for your next gig


I love it. I can’t speak to all of the entries (I probably listened to about 40 on my end), but the ones I heard sounded very similar.

This one seemed like a breath of fresh air (even if the air is recirculated. LOL). I also enter a lot of contests (usually 1 a day) and have more non-wins (not losses) than wins (I usually win 1 a week). Can’t win em all.

The biggest win for me on this one was having the chance to score quality footage. I also didn’t get mine in until the last day (and didn’t start work on it until the last day), so maybe I would be more upset if I spent days and weeks on mine? I don’t know.

Congrats to the winner. On to more contests. LOL…