ALAN SILVESTRI'S ADVICE TO YOUNG COMPOSERS
It is said of Alan Silvestri that he has the best relationships with his directors of any composer in the movie industry.
He gives young composers the following advice on how to have a successful relationship with a director:
-- Work collaboratively with the director and remember he is the boss.
-- Make it clear to the director from the very beginning what he can get for the budget hes got.
-- The most important thing is to have the score do as much as possible for the film, rather than make it a showcase for the composer.
-- A composer for the movies must be able to visualize in some way the emotional dynamics of the film.
-- "I think in terms of a histogram of the emotional dynamic of the film overall, and then of each scene."
-- Always say 'yes' to a job, because a job won't come to you until you're ready for it.
-- As an aid to the director, Alan Silvestri does synth mock-ups of all his scores before they are played by live musicians.
-- Alan Silvestri uses samples and loops of unusual instruments he has recorded himself. If these instruments are not available for his live sessions, he will incorporate the synth tracks in the mix with the live musicians.
LIFE AND CAREER
Alan Silvestri was born in New York on 26 March 1950, and raised in Teaneck, NJ. He aspired to be a professional baseball player, but at 15 decided on music instead. He especially liked jazz and bebop. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston where he could study jazz. After two years of study he left to be an R&B drummer, guitarist and arranger for Wayne Cochran, the Quincy Jones alumnus Bradford Craig, and the C.C. Riders band with whom he toured.
Alan Silvestri's first movie opportunity came when a lyricist friend called him about working on The Doberman Gang. Alan hurried out and bought the only book he could find on scoring movies. He crammed all night and the next morning everyone was so impressed with his understanding of the art and technology of film scoring that he got to score the movie, which he did by himself in his garage. While developing his movie career, Alan Silvestri also composed the music for the hit television show CHIPS for its five seasons. This popular series can be seen in reruns.
The next major landmark in Alan Silvestri's movie career was the low budget, big hit Romancing the Stone which he got when the music editor recommended him to Robert Zemeckis. Zemeckis asked Alan to prepare five minutes for a jungle chase sequence. When Alan arrived with his music for their meeting, the two men saw they were wearing the same sweater, which Alan thinks was Kismet, because it was the beginning of their amazing ten film collaboration which includes the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Contact, and the Oscar-winning Best Film of 1994 Forrest Gump.
Alan Silvestri has composed very successfully for a wide variety of TV and then film genre including thrillers, action movies, romances, comedies, and movies especially enjoyed by children such as the 2002 Disney animated feature Lilo & Stitch. For Lilo & Stitch he researched traditional Hawaiian music and took great care not to use any of the sacred melodies inappropriately. He said he wanted a movie the Hawaiian people would like, and my Hawaiian friends tell me he succeeded marvelously!
Those who write about movie music are very impressed with the musically creative and dramatically effective way Alan Silvestri handles a wide range of film genre. Matthew V. Skelton, in his excellent article 'Film Scoring Techniques in Films that Alter Space, Time, and Death', discusses Contact (1997) and says (excerpted): "Silvestri's skill at employing a tried and true scoring model is exemplary. Silvestri also demonstrates a talent incumbent upon a film composer: the ability to use music to characterize emotional moments and non-musical elements of drama and plot. Silvestri's skill at using silence, as well as music that does not call attention to itself highlights a cinematic characteristic the plot; the literal and metaphorical silence that Ellie observes from the universe. The moments when Ellie exhibits an emotional dimension are appropriately scored with tender, delicate figures. As the intensity of the drama builds, the score corresponds in like manner, highlighting the development of the plot and accentuating the important scenes with more significant figures of music."
In addition to his movie scores, Silvestri writes for full orchestra, electronics, and for his own instrument of choice, the saxophone.
Alan Silvestri lives near Carmel, California, flies his own jet plane, and has a ranch on which he does a lot of the work and a vineyard which reflects his interest in fine wines. Silvestri considers his ranch and vineyard very important parts of his life.
Alan Silvestri and his wife Sandra celebrated 25 years of marriage in July 2003. They have a daughter and two sons. One of the Silvestris sons has diabetes and the Silvestris have been very active in support of activities and charities for juvenile diabetes.
If you want to help, go to the JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION
website - http://www.jdrf.org
ALAN SILVESTRI FILMOGRAPHY
(* indicates a soundtrack CD)
Pirates of Caribbean (2003)
The Chambermaid (2002)
Lilo & Stitch* (2002)
Stuart Little 2* (2002)
The Mexican* (2001)
The Mummy Returns* (2001)
Cast Away* (2000) Academy Promo 16:55, Verese 7:30
Reindeer Games (2000)
What Lies Beneath* (2000)
What Women Want* (2000) Aacdemy Promo 24:02, Columbia 3:03
Siegfried &Roy: The Magic Box* (1999)
Stuart Little* (1999) Academy Promo 35:29 Motown 9:56
Holy Man (1998)
The Odd Couple II* (1998)
The Parent Trap* (1998)
Practical Magic* (1998)
Fools Rush In* (1997)
The Long Kiss Goodnight* (1996) Concorde 70:15, MCA 2:52
Sgt. Bilko* (1996)
Father of the Bride Part II *(1995)
Grumpier Old Men* (1995)
Judge Dredd* (1995)
The Perez Family (1995)
The Quick and the Dead* (1995)
Blown Away* (1994)
Clean Slate* (1994)
Forrest Gump* (1994)
Richie Rich* (1994)
Cop and a Half* (1993)
Grumpy Old Men* (1993)
In Search of the Obelisk (1993)
Judgment Night (1993)
Super Mario Bros* (1993)
The Bodyguard* (1992) Security 21:18, Arista 2:44
Death Becomes Her* (1992)
FernGully: The Last Rainforest* (1992)
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot* (1992)
Father of the Bride* (1991)
Back to the Future Part III* (1990)
Predator 2* (1990)
Young Guns II (1990)
The Abyss* (1989)
Back to the Future Part II* (1989)
She's Out of Control (1989)
Mac and Me* (1988)
My Stepmother Is an Alien* (1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit* (1988)
Critical Condition* (1987)
Outrageous Fortune* (1987)
American Anthem* (1986)
The Clan of the Cave Bear* (1986)
The Delta Force* (1986)
Flight of the Navigator (1986)
No Mercy (1986)
Back to the Future* (1985)
Cat's Eye* (1985)
Summer Rental (1985)
Par Où T'es Rentré... On T'a Pas Vu Sortir* (1984)
Romancing the Stone* (1984)
The Mack and his Pack* (1983)
The Fifth Floor (1980)
The Amazing Dobermans (1976)
The Doberman Gang* (1972).
1994 Academy Awards - Nominee, Best Original Score - Forrest Gump
1994 Golden Globes - Nominee, Best Original Score - Forrest Gump