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MRH : Was it tough to make the transition going from orchestrator to being a solo composer yourself?

AL : It wasn't because I was always composing on my own. I was fortunate that my foray into bigger films was through orchestration, but it was actually because of the orchestration that it wasn't tough, and in my assistant work for Mychael I did some orchestrating for him, but my orchestrations for other composers really gave me a glimpse into the process, and allowed me to participate in the scoring of some big films… so when I finally did go and record with those orchestras and take films of my own, there was never really an anxiety there, because I'd been through the process so many times before.


MRH : For Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (2008), I just wonder if you had to make any unique scoring decisions to accommodate the interactive nature of the visual effects, because obviously the 3-D effects make the film much grander and more robust than a standard 2-D film.

AL : That's a great question. Before I'd done the film, I probably would've thought that wasn't a great question…You automatically think ‘2-D, 3-D… How is that going to impact the music?' but director Eric Brevig was great in saying, ‘You really want to see this in 3-D. You have to see these scenes in 3-D,' and seeing them in 3-D really informed how I wrote the music.

There are elements in 3-D that really call for recognition from the music, especially peoples' facial expressions, and the depth of field of some of the landscape shots. There are elements within it… that really warrant musical recognition. It actually had a very significant effect on how I scored the film.


MRH : Several years ago I interviewed Marybeth Solomon regarding the IMAX film she scored, Space Station 3D (2002), and she was really excited about doing the film because she said one of the most aspects of the scoring process was basically going down to the theatre, putting on the glasses, and during the spotting session just being wowed by the footage because it's something you don't normally see in a 2-D film, and I guess because it's effects-driven, you have to balance your initial reaction to it, and step back as a composer and figure what's the best approach.

AL : Yes, that's very true. By the nature of the technology it really sucks you in, and I've heard people say (although I'm not an expert on this) that in a normal two-dimensional film, our brain has a certain way of processing, and certain parts of our brain actually go to sleep and in a 3-D film, because you're in a three-dimensional world, your brain is reacting as if you're in an environment as opposed to witnessing storytelling. It's a very different experience altogether; there are no slow moments in a 3-D film; you are in an environment; even if things are still and quiet, you feel like you're inside, you're on an island, you're on a shore, and the waves are lapping… It's almost a shame it's called 3-D because I think everyone feels they have a relationship with 3-D and they know what 3-D is, but until they see this film they can't realize the game has completely changed now.


MRH : I was very struck by the score's heavy melody content, and it sort of recalled some of the large-scaled Steven Spielberg-produced of the eighties, particularly those scored by Bruce Broughton, who wrote some large, robust orchestral scores, and I wonder if that was deliberate on your part, or was that something the filmmakers wanted?

AL : It's funny. It was not deliberate, however, the director, Eric Brevig, has worked on films with Steven Spielberg (Hook) and George Lucas, James Cameron (The Abyss), and Michael Bay (Pearl Harbor). He's worked on a lot of those big films, and his musical experience is those scores that you're talking about, so I think he wanted the score to be [very adventurous].

Although we were dealing with such an advanced technology, there's a real retro feel to this film. It's based on a 150 year old book; they go down to the center of the Earth, there's not a lot of technology involved, and Eric and I discussed really wanting to have a strong theme that would encompassed the entire film… I think ultimately we were trying to do a similar thing filmmaking-wise, so the score ended up falling into a similar genre which was fun, actually, because the score definitely has a retro feel in that sense, and those are the films that I grew up with and grew up loving.

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