David James Nielsen is a composer for film and television, and has written music for independent features, television programs, short films, and theatrical plays. He has also worked as a MIDI synthesizer programmer, orchestrator, and arranger. He attended the University of Southern California, and the University of Calgary, as well as the Henry Mancini Institute, and the ASCAP Film-Scoring Workshop. David composed the original orchestral music score for 'Reclaiming the Blade', which is a documentary produced by Galatia Films, released in 2009.


CG Today : David, thank you very much for accepting our invitation to speak with us here at CG Today.

David : It's my pleasure and thanks for the invitation.

CG Today : In Reclaiming the Blade, a documentary about European martial arts, you composed the original music. How did you develop the music for this film? What was your motivation?David James Nielsen ‘Reclaiming the Blade’

David : My main creative motivation was to create an orchestral score that had distinctive melodies and themes which could be identifiable, so that the documentary could have its own custom original soundtrack. I believe that this added value to the film, by making it more unique and captivating for the audience. My intention with the score was to add a sense of nobility and elegance to the film.

The basic indications of the film director Daniel McNicoll were to originally score all of the animated vignettes that were narrated by actor John Rhys-Davies. The director wanted to have orchestral music for the animated vignettes, and use songs from bands for the live action scenes. Daniel wanted the orchestral score to have a classical feel, that was elegant and noble, but with a hint of sadness, because of the multi-faceted history of the sword. Later as the film score progressed, we were able to find more sections in the film that could use orchestral music besides the animated vignettes. One of these sections was the opening scene of the film, which included the Bamburgh Castle in the distance next to the ocean. Daniel McNicoll had chosen a rock song for the opening credits; however I thought that composing an orchestral piece where I could tailor it to the cuts would be more effective in setting the tone and mood for the documentary. I ended up creating a piece of music that incorporated the main thematic material for the documentary, which Daniel ultimately liked better than the rock song.

CG Today : Share with us your experience of working with Emmy-winning Velton Ray Bunch.

David : Working with Velton Ray Bunch is great because he is very dedicated to his work, and knows what he wants as a composer. Ray is very talented, imaginative and creative, but also is a wonderful collaborator when he is composing a score, as he welcomes orchestration and MIDI synthestration ideas into his music. I learned a lot about writing music for television from Ray. David James Nielsen ‘Reclaiming the Blade’

CG Today : Composing original music for theatrical plays was another of your earlier positions. Is there a difference in composing for the stage and composing for films?

David : Yes, composing for the stage is different than composing for films because you have to time the music underscore to the film cuts more accurately, and with precision, while composing for live theatrical plays gives you more freedom in the timing, because the actors on stage can match their actions and dialogue to the music.

CG Today : Tell us about composing music for video games. Can you share with us the projects you worked?

David : Technically I have not composed for video games as of yet, however I have been considered in the past to compose music for some iPhone games. I am still interested in composing for video games, and when the right project comes along I will be more than ready for the challenge. So far I have worked mainly on film, television, theatre, and multimedia projects.

 

 

CG Today : Does the orchestration work differentiate in some manner when you do it for movies than for video games?

David : Even though I have not scored a video game as of yet, many of the scores for recent video games are recorded with a live orchestra, and the rules for orchestration are not going to differ between an orchestral score written for a movie, and an orchestral score written for a video game.

CG Today : As a composer, what are a couple of the most gratifying things about being your own boss?

David : A couple of the most gratifying things about being my own boss is that I can set my own hours, and do work that is meaningful and inspiring. It is a privilege to be able to compose music scores for film and television, and I am grateful for the opportunities that have presented themselves, to allow me to be a creative artist.

 

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