Saying goodbye is always bittersweet. With this week’s broadcast of the series finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., my seven-year journey on the show comes to a close. To commemorate this milestone, I produced a video blog that paints what I hope is an emotional picture of what it felt like to be in the room during the weekly orchestra sessions for this beloved show.
Back in 2013, I started out with ambitions of blogging and vlogging my entire experience. Over the course of a few years, I was gradually reduced to producing at most one or two videos a year. Regardless, during my time as composer for this epic show, my life changed several times over. With this blog, I will look back at just a few of the highlights that stand out in my memory.(more…)
Last night, the epic mid-season finale of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. broadcast, featuring shocking narrative twists. The episode concluded with a beautiful extended sequence that clearly required a special piece of music, one I called “Crossing into Darkness.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at me conducting the mammoth 90-piece orchestra during this episode’s climactic moments:
(SPOILER FREE) – “Maveth” was an extraordinary episode, representing a crossroads between old and new storylines. At least a half dozen important musical themes were incorporated throughout the episode, including two new themes I introduced to represent new characters. I spend a lot of time on my blog writing about my creative process, and I’ll dive into the details of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 3 themes at another occasion. Instead, I want to shine a spotlight on the tremendous amount of work that goes on behind-the-scenes to make a score like this possible. (more…)
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. blasts back to the airwaves tonight! In Season Three, S.H.I.E.L.D. continues to build upon its roster of fascinating characters and satisfying storylines, to be one of the most richly-layered series around. In many ways, the series has reinvented itself this season, pushing the edges of its superheroic and science fiction genre boundaries, as well as introducing nuances of tense political and intellectual conflict. This shift has given me the opportunity to, once again, reinvent the sound of the score. (more…)
Tonight, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returns for a second season, and with it, my orchestral score blasts back into your speakers. I had an incredible experience scoring the first season, because I got to work with insightful producers and brilliant musicians, to create a score that was both retro cool and edgy. If you missed my video blogs last time around, I think “Looking Back at Season One” sums it up best: (more…)
The first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has finally come to a conclusion, wrapping up what has been the most ambitious season of television I have ever been involved in. The sheer scope of this project was daunting: to score 22 episodes in 22 unique orchestral sessions, with orchestras ranging from 55 to 95 players, at the best sound stages in Los Angeles, with each episode requiring minimally 30 minutes of score. While the experience was immensely challenging, it allowed me to strengthen my friendships with all the amazing musicians I get to work with and learn even more about orchestral composition.
I knew that it would be awkward to try to sum up my feelings in words, so we pulled together a video tribute instead…
I know I promised not to get bogged down in words, but a few are owed to some very special people without whom this score could never have existed. (more…)
In last night’s new episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Coulson must defend his former flame from a super-powered stalker. As we have known for a while, he used to date a cellist. At last we get to meet her and hear her play! In my new video blog, go behind-the-scenes to the recording session where we recorded the virtuosic cello solo for this uniquely musically-themed episode.
When I first watched Marvel’s The Avengers I was struck by a passing line of dialog that revealed Agent Coulson was dating a cellist. Immediately, I wondered who she was and what sort of music she played. Two years later, to my surprise, I had the opportunity to write her original music and watch her character perform my composition on screen! (more…)
(artwork by Mike Del Mundo)
Last night’s episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. directly ties in with the storyline of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, allowing our series to connect with the Marvel cinematic universe more closely than ever before. All the clues and hints that have been dropped throughout our first season pay off as we finally reveal the identity of the mysterious Clairvoyant.
SPOILERS BEYOND: When I first saw this episode I knew it was going to be special. First of all, it starts off with Bill Paxton flying a supersonic jet, listening to Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” I’m in. 🙂 (more…)
While every episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has made reference to the Marvel cinematic universe, tonight’s “The Well” is the first to directly pick up directly after the events of one of the theatrical films. In the episode, the team must stop a rogue group of anarchists who have discovered ancient Asgardian artifacts that give their holder superhuman strength and virtually uncontrollable rage. Peter MacNicol, one of my favorite character actors, makes a memorable guest appearance. (I geeked out because I finally got to write sweeping orchestral music for the lead actor from “Dragonslayer,” a movie that was a huge influence on me growing up.)
MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD: “The Well” is truly a stand-alone story that does not feature any characters or cast members from the film “Thor: The Dark World.” The narrative focuses more on the magical staff’s influence over our characters, Ward and May, than on Asgard itself, thus rooting the story firmly in our world. As such, I felt no pressure from either the producers or myself to incorporate musical material from the “Thor” films into my score. (more…)
Tonight’s episode, “The Hub,” focuses on the battle to destroy the Cylon Resurrection Hub, but also on Laura Roslin, who… wait a minute… wrong series, same name. 🙂
The episode called “The Hub” from “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” dives into the show’s spy-genre roots — Ward and Fitz go behind enemy lines to destroy a powerful weapon. The intense stealth and combat scenes gave me plenty of opportunities for big action scoring, as you can hear in this week’s video blog: “Agents of BEAR: A Lot of Notes.”
From the episode’s opening notes, over the Marvel logo, you can tell we’re traveling to an ominous, military environment. The low strings and woodwinds punctuate a military-style cadence as we reveal a hooded figure being dragged through the bowels of a prison complex. Though the visuals and music are foreboding, there’s a sense of fun in the music that hints at the adventure to come. (more…)
In this week’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” video blog, we meet a handful of the amazing musicians who play in the orchestra each week. I’ve worked with these players for years, and their sound is an essential part of how I express my ideas. “Super Musicians” is the second in a recurring video blog segment called “Agents of BEAR”…
“FZZT,” the sixth episode of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” expands the relationship between Fitz and Simmons in an emotionally-charged story (pun intended) that explores heavy themes. The episode plays against expectations, opening with the promise of a spooky story about an electric murderer and, before you know it, the narrative shifts gears into deeply emotional storytelling.