On Hard Work

The moves you make after you run out of steam because you’re totally unselfconscious, you’re not even thinking about the mechanics anymore….the moves you make then are incredible.
— Jeff Buckley

I recently came across this two-part behind the scenes video of Howard Shore composing music for the final installment of the Lord Of The Rings film trilogy — and I was awestruck. This isn’t a polished behind the scenes blu-ray special featurette, but it is a mesmerizing and challenging account of what talent and hard work are capable of creating. The sheer scope of the musical score to these films has always intimidated me as a songwriter; it is so complex and beautiful, and very difficult to understand through reverse engineering. So how does one get to such a level of complexity? Probably some combination of hard work, talent and time.

Hard work can, mentally speaking, take you to some really complex and engaging places. Jeff Buckley is absolutely right; when you’re exhausted, the moves you make are effortless and resplendent. Though if you reach this fluent level, you might not recognize the person in the mirror; and I am of the opinion that this is how someone like Howard Shore operates when fiercely composing such complex music for intimidating deadlines. When the brain is constantly in flow, actions are natural and fluent; unquestioned even. But hard work can be fun as well – pretty sure there's a video somewhere (can't find it) of Hans Zimmer and crew smashing a piano with a sledge hammer.

Best job in the world if you ask me; blurs the line between sound design and film scoring.
There are many examples of creative people that were tremendously dedicated to honing their craft, Beethoven in particular. He is an inspiring example of the human condition, just don’t forget that it’s okay to smash beautiful things every now and then.


Kyle Preston