For the love of music

[attach]941[/attach]“A lot of people don’t even realize there’s music in movies,” says Hollywood film composer Ryan Shore.

And doesn’t he know it.

The former Willowdale resident says he frequently comes across people at film festivals who don’t understand an actual person scored the music for a particular film.

More often than not they believe the director has scanned albums and selected favourite tracks to include seamlessly in the film, he says.

“I find the questions asked at film festivals don’t go that deep,” Shore says while in Toronto recently to promote his work on horror films Stan Helsing and Offspring.

“It can be questions like, ‘Do you choose the songs?’… stuff like that.”

Surface questions or not, the 13-year veteran of the business adores what he does.

And he’s pretty good at it.

After eight years in New York City, Shore moved where the action is: Los Angeles.

Six years in sunny Hollywood has led Shore to score music for such films as Prime, starring Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman, Kevin Smith’s Vulgar and to create original music for Fur with Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr.

“I love the variety,” Shore says. “It can be a lot of hard work to find what works for film, but it’s very rewarding.”

This fall alone Shore will release a handful of projects, including Anchor Bay’s Home Movie, IFC Films’ Made for Each Other and Lions Gate’s Cabin Fever 2.

While music was always Shore’s love — he started playing the saxophone when he was 12, and then the clarinet, flute and piano — he didn’t pick film composing until it was time for him to choose his major at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Shore figured film composing would allow him to follow his love, plus incorporate the technical elements of the business.

“I figured it was a more well-rounded education,” says Shore, who upon graduation, dove headfirst into the industry, composing music for short films before turning his attention to features.

“I felt a little limited voice-wise saying all I wanted to say just on a saxophone,” Shore says. “For me it’s exciting to learn all other instruments, then how to write for them … for the orchestra, for a jazz group, for a rock group.”

For Shore the exploration aspect of film composing keeps what he does interesting and it carries across different film genres.

He’s scored comedies, dramas, period films and horrors. But there are different challenges for different genres.

With comedy, there’s the test of timing. As many know, just as a good joke rests on timing so does a comedic film score, Shore says.

“Literally you could be off by three frames and musically it doesn’t make the picture feel right,” he says.

Horror films all depend on what the purpose of the music is.

“What I love about horror is saying something musically that may not already be there,” he says.

Shore adds he relies on his instincts when he scores a particular film.

“A lot of the time what excites me about a film is the story and the people who I’m working with,” he says, adding he runs into a variety of different personalities when it comes to filmmakers.

Some know exactly what they want, while others give him the reins when it comes to a film score.

“Because filmmakers have been working on a film for a while, oftentimes they lose perspective,” Shore says. “It’s tough to have a fresh set of eyes on something you’ve been working on for two years.

“As a composer you get to be a fresh pair of eyes and still can offer a large creative contribution to the film.”