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Directing the Composer – Film Music Masterclass

April 30th, 2013

USC program director and associate professor of practice in scoring for motion pictures and television (1998-2012), is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music and USC. Brian has been working in the industry as a composer, orchestrator, musician, engineer and producer. Some of his feature film projects include Rushmore, The Rugrats Movie and Get Bruce working with the likes of Mark Mothersbaugh and Michael Feinstein.

rushmore_ver1 rugrats

He has composed and produced music for episodic television including The Proud Family, King of Queens, Starting Over and The Love Chronicles, as well as composing additional music for the VH1 feature film Play’d.
He also scored and produced the musical score for the off-Broadway theatrical production of the comedy The Godfadda Workout. Brian’s work in mentoring and building relationships between educators and industry professionals

recently created several workshops in music for film, including a collaboration with Marco Beltrami (2-time Oscar nominee) and ASCAP on a Tommy Lee Jones film, “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” (SONY Pictures Classics), Thomas Newman (American Beauty), Harry Gregson-Williams (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia) and, with the support of BMI, a special seminar in “mixing for composers” featuring 4-time Oscar nominee, Dennis Sands (Alan Silvestri, Danny Elfman).



Besides performing as a live jazz musician, Brian produced the music and performed live at the first Rhythms+Visions / Expanded + Live event in April 2011 with touch designer artist Scott Pagano. Original audio-visual compositions were performed to “Mechanisms”, “Parks on Fire”, and “Modulating Architecture”.


Before moving to Los Angeles in 1997, Mr. King was the owner of a recording studio in Atlanta working with such artists as REM, the B52s, The Indigo Girls, Medeski, Martin and Wood, John McLaughlin and the subdudes with Bonnie Raitt . During this period, a large part of Brian’s work with the Blue Wall Studio focused on building relationships within the artistic, business and educational communities of Atlanta. Some of these included • Record Companies – Daemon, Sky and Relativity • Local Radio Stations – WRAS (Georgia State), WREK (Georgia Tech), WKLS (96.1 FM) • Internship Programs – The Musician’s Institute, Georgia State University (WRAS) • Local Film and Music Studios – Whoa Films, John Keane, Tree Sound, Bill Allgood, Southern Tracks, Doppler, and Dallas Austin Studios


Before formulating your posts, read over these questions below – they may serve as a catalyst for topics and questions. I will read over your responses prior to arriving on May 23rd…

• Whenever I meet with filmmakers, I’m always interested in knowing about your personal experiences, meaningful musical influences and/or musical skills or training (maybe you play an instrument, sing in a choir, participated in a drum circle, played in a band with a sibling or friend, or just love listening to music, etc.) Please let me know a little bit about your experience with music.

• Do you think about music when you work with images, or at any point in your creative process. If so, do you create a temporary music track for your project?

• What do like most about music with image  – can you describe this in terms of melody, rhythm, energy, emotion, storytelling, etc.?

• Can you describe an experience (good or bad) that you’ve had working with music for one of your projects?

• What is your experience in working with music technology (music software, sample libraries) – have you had the chance to work with live musicians?

• Is there one thing in particular you’d like to know about the music making process? For example;  How to find a composer? How to communicate, collaborate with a composer or music producer? What is the difference between a composer and a music producer? Music budgets & licensing, etc.?

Using the “Leave a Reply” box below, please feel free to post responses, as well as questions you may have pertaining to any aspect of producing music for film.


The masterclass will also include a segment on how music & sound design work together in the film, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”. You can download a copy of the PDF with notes from the director, about the music  and other aspects related to the production of the film. I hope you will download the PDF and take a few minutes to read his notes…

DOWNLOAD PDF for document on “Beasts of the Southern Wild”




ORIGINAL BK MUSIC ~ lots of samples from various projects

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