• Composer Series,  Interviews,  Movies/Entertainment

    Interview…Composers Ryan Taubert and Benjamin Botkin Channel John Williams for ‘Blockbuster’ Podcast

    From Epicleff Media, Blockbuster Podcast tells the true story of how Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and John Williams re-invented escapism at the cinema and forever changed the experience of going to the movies. It was an adventurous and nebulous time in the ‘70s when these visionary directors took their first step into a larger world. And their movies weren’t half bad either. What helps make this podcast so vibrant and immersive is the original score composed and produced by Ryan Taubert (above L) and Benjamin Botkin (above R). Having to write music for this series was already a challenge, but having to do it in a way that embodied the spirit of John…

  • Interviews,  Movies/Entertainment

    Interview…Matt Schrader on Immersive Audio and Pioneering Podcasts with ‘Blockbuster’

    From director Matt Schrader and producer Kenny Holmes comes Blockbuster, a six-part, 2.5-hour immersive audio series that traces the young friendship of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas — before Jaws and Star Wars — and before anyone knew their names. It’s a story that took place a half century ago — authentically recreated in striking detail by leading voice actors, award-winning sound designers, and with a sweeping original score. Also, this series features the most advanced sound design ever created for a podcast. Over the course of six months, the Epicleff team utilized prominent, award-winning voice actors from the animation and video game industries, captivating three-dimensional sound design from Motion Picture Sound Editors-nominated designer Peter…

  • Composer Series,  Interviews,  Movies/Entertainment

    Interview…Composer/Orchestrator Conrad Pope Teaching and Performing at the Hollywood Music Workshop

    In the span of 30 years, composer/orchestrator Conrad Pope has worked on more than 420 films. We spent an hour with Pope, and he is an infectious joy as well as one of the most laid-back people you’d ever meet. But he’s also a legend. Name any film or topic, and you’ll sit there in awe of the stories he could tell. I sure did. It’s been said that Pope is the best kept secret in film music – if there’s a successful score, it’s because Conrad Pope is attached to it. He will quickly and humbly shoot that down, but as his mentor used to say, “It’s always amazing…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Off the Shelf

    Off the Shelf…’Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

    J.J. Abrams, after years in TV, proved his mettle revitalizing the Star Trek franchise on the big screen. He later left the galaxy where people boldly go, and ventured into another – this one far, far away. The first non-Lucas involved Star Wars episodic story expands on everything which came before. However, Episode VII, smartly, does not rely on nostalgia. The Bad Robot team knows this universe well, and they pick up on the previous saga’s material in ways both reverent and forward-thinking. Here, with a seemingly limitless canvas, Abrams and company offer, more or less, a new origin story and a true passing of the torch, err lightsaber to the likes of Daisy…

  • Features,  Interviews,  Mondo,  Movies/Entertainment

    Exclusive: Mo Shafeek Shares Stories as Mondo’s ​Record Label Production Manager​

    Mondo employees are a rare breed of cinephiles and artisans – chalk it up mostly to each of them having seen certain films way too early in their lifetime. Having watched those titles countless times, movies are not just a means of entertainment, they are part of their DNA. Who else could make/understand a “little too Raph” joke on a daily basis without missing a beat? ​​In short, certain films defined their tastes for years to come. One such individual is Mo Shafeek. We got to speak to him for over an hour regarding his role as Mondo’s soundtrack production manager. Base​d​​ ​in Austin, TX, the Mondo bunch (​Mo included),…

  • Movies/Entertainment,  Reviews

    G-S-T Review…Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ​Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to take the world by storm, but that shouldn’t be news to anyone. It is Star Wars after all, but with J.J. Abrams at the helm, things looked really good from the get-go. The film isn’t perfect (pacing is sluggish at times, and villains, at this point, are under-cooked), but it is highly enjoyable, and that’s all thanks to solid writing, and the collage of themes and characters both old and new. Abrams, after proving his mettle revitalizing the Star Trek franchise, brings us a story that expands on everything that has come before and, more importantly, hits the right chord with fans. Episode VII,…

  • FourScore,  Movies/Entertainment

    FourScore Match-Up #21: “The Life and Times of John Williams”

    As I stated in our anniversary post (check it out here, it’s a really good read), 2015 has been a fantastic time to be a film fan. While the year didn’t quite hold as many game-changing blockbuster films as studios boasted (and fans or critics expected), most audiences were still plenty thrilled in theaters across the country. Mad Max: Fury Road and plenty more will be remembered for decades, but it just didn’t result in the “greatest Summer of all time” many wanted it to be. Regardless, in the entertainment world, if you end on a high note, people tend to forgive the missteps and mediocrity that came before. So…

  • Interviews,  Movies/Entertainment

    Interview…Richard Kaufman on John Williams and Being A Session Musician on ‘Jaws’

    Richard Kaufman is, and has been, a good friend of the site. Thanks to our contacts at the Dallas Symphony, we always get to catch up with him when he’s in town for a show as their Pops conductor laureate. Richard has had an amazing career being a session musician (violin) on many classic film scores as well as being MGM’s Music Supervisor for 19 years. He’s seen incredible things behind the gates of major Hollywood studios. You’ve seen those Dos XX commercials with “the Most Interesting Man in the World” right? Well, it should actually be Richard they’re talking about. Seriously, name any filmic presonality and Richard either knows them,…

  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Features,  Reviews

    Christmas Pops with The Dallas Symphony Orchestra Couldn’t Be Jollier

    Life is all about experiences, and there are very few things that can rival the thrill of live music. For 25 years, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has been putting on incredible shows and performances. This time of year, their Christmas Pops series can put even the most grumpy cat in the mood for jingle jangle holiday festivities. The world-renowned Meyerson Symphony Center, replete with its one-of-a-kind of acoustics, and incredible light display, offer patrons a visual journey as fascinating and vibrant as the auditory one. The playlist for this event (click here to view the full set list) has a plethora of old time Christmas favorites, and a good number of modern musical…

  • Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Editorials,  Features,  Movies/Entertainment

    Hollywood Hits and The Music of John Williams with The Dallas Symphony Orchestra

    The glamour and excitement of Tinseltown come alive when the DSO presents famous movie soundtracks from films like Star Wars, Jaws, Goldfinger, Silverado, Pirates of the Caribbean and more. Take your seat for the best in entertainment with music that ignites the senses in sonic splendor only heard at the Meyerson Symphony Center. But before the lights go down on the evenings of June 6-8, here’s a little glimpse of what to expect from the world-renowned Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The following text is from the essay we contributed to the playbill for this Pops concert. The Hollywood Golden era was a wondrous time in cinema history. The period between the…

  • FourScore,  Movies/Entertainment

    FourScore Match-Up #15: “The Great Space Race”

    At warp speed, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness is set to scream into theaters this week. So with that in mind it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dust off our FourScore series to help kick off new and upcoming entries to our running feature (which has been long overdue for another installment). Today, we look to the future and also to the past to champion some of the best soundtracks to some influential and seminal space-themed films that boldly go where no one has gone before… With that said, today we’ll examine one of the funnest space operas of all time, a suffering franchise’s adrenaline fueled reboot that brought together (probably for the first time) fans…