Story About Epcot Composer Russell Brower
Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:58 PM
Posted 11 July 2012 - 07:36 PM
1. When did you start writing music for Theme Park attractions?
In the mid-80s.
2. How did you get started composing for Theme Park attractions?
The first one I did was The Making of Me, which was directed by Glenn Caron, the creator of Moonlighting, and starred Martin Short.
3. What instruments do you use when scoring for Theme Park attractions?
Any and all of them. The same as in movies, television or concert works.
4. How many minutes of score have you done for Theme Park attractions, in general? How many tracks (estimated) do you have from Theme Park attractions?
I really couldn’t say. I’ve done about a dozen attractions over the years, and the length of them varies quite a bit. Cinemagique, a show that plays in France, has about twenty minutes of music. But Mickey’s Audition had only about five.
5. What was the time frame for recording the scores for Theme Park attractions? How long did it end up taking?
In general, the attractions are so well planned that there is plenty of time for composition. Generally, one gets a month and more to write the music, more than enough time to do a thoughtful job. There is also enough time to make changes, to make sure that the music does all that it’s supposed to do.
6. Where do you compose the music at for Theme Park attractions? Do you have a studio?
Generally, I write the music at home, in my studio. Ellen’s Energy Adventure, however, was composed in a flat in London, where I was living for a few months.
7. Are there any plans for more of your wonderful Theme Park music to be sold, in any form (CD, iTunes, Etc...)?
There is nothing new to report in any of this. Disney has all the rights to all of the music, including the right to release the music or not. I don’t know of any plans to release anything more than has already been released on the park CDs.
8. How much of your Theme Park music is allowed to be sold to the public?
Except for that which has already appeared on the occasional park CD, and for the Overture to Ellen’s Energy Adventure – retitled An Epcot Overture, and is available as an orchestral rental through Disney -- none of it is available to the general public.
9. Is there any one attraction, that you like the music from, more than any of the others?
I like all of them, but Mickey’s Audition is one I particularly like. It’s very light-hearted and old-fashioned.
10. Will you continue to compose music for Theme Park attractions in the future?
As long as they continue to ask, I’ll continue to write them. I enjoy the work, and I especially enjoy the people. The projects are always very creative musically and often very different, technically. The people who work on them are very committed to their work. They really enjoy contributing to and being a part of the theme park experience.
11. How do you come up with ideas when scoring the music for Theme Park attractions? What emotions do you feel? Do you use medleys or themes from famous classical composers? What inspiration do you need to come up with the themes for the music?
The process for inspiration is pretty much the same as for a movie: think of what the attraction is about and how you feel about it. Then find the musical notes that express what it is you’re trying to say.
As far as using pre-existing music: in Visionarium, the Circlevision attraction that was first made for Paris, I was asked to include as much French music as I could. So I used the Offenbach can-can from Orpheus in the Underworld and a waltz by Emile Waldteufel, as well as a few other things. In Cinemagique, a film about the history of movies, I used several different pieces from film scores, including the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; some Sherman brothers’ songs from Mary Poppins, the themes from both Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, and bits of the original score from Pinocchio and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In One Man’s Dream there are some more Sherman brothers’ songs, especially It’s A Great Big Wonderful Tomorrow.
12. Do you have a memorable moment from any of the Theme Park attraction’s recording sessions?
A few. One that particularly stands out was listening to an English musician trying to play the banjo part to The Beverly Hillbillies for Ellen’s Energy Adventure.
13. What is your favorite instrument and why?
I don’t have a favorite instrument. They’re all useful.
14. What is your favorite attraction, musical wise?
I really think that all of them work well, and that they’re all pretty different, so I couldn’t say which is a favorite.
Finally One last question:
15. How do rights, contracts and money affect Theme Park music and how are they cleared, okayed and gathered/distributed, when releasing music from Theme Park attractions?
This is all standard procedure in Work for Hire projects, which includes motion pictures and television, as well as theme park projects. The producers are the legal authors of the work and own the copyright and all of the publishing rights to the music. This includes the right to use or not use the music in any way they determine, to mix it with other music, to sell it, to rent it, to print it, re-record it, re-use it, and to license it in any situation they want. Or, conversely, they have the right to do absolutely nothing with it. It’s their property; legally, they can pretty much do what they want.
For all of the above, a very specific contract -- and usually a very thick one at that -- spells out what the producer wants by way of services, what he has agreed to pay for the composer’s services and what he expects to receive in return. The contract also spells out what the composer can expect in return for his services, not only with regard to initial payment, but also for the collection of performance, publishing and recording royalties, if any, and how his or her music may or may not be used in the future. The contract spells out what the writer’s and producer’s entire obligations are for the particular job, financially, creatively and legally.
Posted 29 July 2012 - 11:51 AM
- December 1988 -- Disney Village Resort
- 1990 -- Beach Club
- 1991 -- One Day at Disneyland (Hotel unknown)
- 1992 -- One Day at Disneyland (Four Seasons Newport Beach)
- November/December 1992 -- Offsite (Hyatt Orlando, name changed to Ramada Celebration, then Orlando Sun Resort)
- July/August 1993 -- One Day at Disneyland (Hyatt Newporter)
- November/December 1993 -- WDW Swan
- August 1995 -- Disneyland (Hyatt Regency Alicante, now Orange County)
- November 1996 -- Offsite (Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress)
- February 1998 -- Offsite (Holiday Inn Sunspree), Contemporary
- August 1998 -- Boardwalk Villas
- February 1999 -- Old Key West
- August 1999 -- Disneyland Hotel
- February 2000 -- Boardwalk Villas
- December 2000 -- Old Key West
- February 2001 -- Grand Californian
- December 2001 -- Grand Californian
- February 2002 -- Vero Beach, Boardwalk
- August 2002 -- Hard Rock Hotel, Old Key West
- April 2003 -- Dolphin
- August 2003 -- Grand Californian
- February 2004 -- Dolphin, Offsite (Marriott Horizons, name changed to Marriott Harbour Lake)
- May 2005 -- Beach Club Villas
- March 2006 -- Offsite (Marriott Grande Vista)
- August/September 2006 -- Boardwalk Villas
- December 2006 -- Disneyland Hotel
- May 2007 -- Saratoga Springs
- May 2008 -- Old Key West
- March 2009 -- Offsite (Marriott Grande Vista)
- May/June 2009 -- Grand Californian
- May 2010 -- Bay Lake Tower, Boardwalk Villas, Offsite (Marriott Grande Vista)
- August 2010 -- Disneyland Hotel Paris (first international Disney vacation ever, w00t w00t)
- January 2011 -- Beach Club Villas
- September 2011 (MY BIRTHDAY!) -- Grand Californian (first Disney vacation to start on my birthday, w00t w00t)
- November/December 2011 -- Saratoga Springs, Offsite (Marriott Sabal Palms)
- September/October 2012 (EPCOT'S 30th BIRTHDAY!!!) -- Old Key West, Offsite (Marriott Royal Palms)
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