The Sound of Movie

You’re scanning through radio stations, listening to Pandora or one of your playlists and a song comes on that instantly transports you back to a scene in a movie.

You’re digging through your CD collection and you come across the soundtrack for a film you haven’t seen in years and realize you listen to the soundtrack more often than you watch the movie.

A successful film score or soundtrack can gain a life of its own outside of the film.

You may store it in a black can on a shelf (listen to the end of episode 115 to find out what I’m talking about), or it may be part of your collection of soundtracks of every Best Picture winner; but there is a film memory you have that is inextricably linked to a piece of music.

Such as this famous clip from Reservoir Dogs (Warning: Link containsTarantino content may not be safe for work or young children)

And then there is the rare example of a song from a soundtrack unexpectedly taking on a life of its own outside the film.

Disney’s Frozen has a soundtrack that is climbing the charts. Of particular interest is their decision to simultaneously release a deluxe edition of the original soundtrack. The deluxe edition includes demo versions of songs and a few that were not used in the final soundtrack.

The composers provide brief commentary to introduce the songs and explain their intended role in the story. Some songs were part of story elements that no longer exist in the final version of the script (“Spring Pageant Outtake”), while others helped the composers develop their sense of the character, but no longer fit into the film (“More Than Just The Spare Outtake”).

This type of commentary, while common on DVDs, is unusual for a film soundtrack. The inclusion of unused songs serves as a reminder of the vast amount of creative material created and cast aside in the course of developing a film.

In an era where digital content is easily distributed we can ask why we should listen to these discarded songs, or we can embrace the digital the long tail of distribution and know that these can provide inspiration for aspiring creatives. I consider the inclusion of these unused songs a reminder that, as part of the creative process, you will create a lot of material that many people won’t ever know about. But since it gets you to your end result, it’s ok to just … let it go.

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