Composing Music for Movies - The New Way

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Back in 2000, Sara Edwards mentioned in a NBC report “Watch out for composers like George Kallis. He might be scoring movies coming to a theatre near you” - and she was right! Thunderous epic scores, quirky music for comedies, and the new era of film scoring - meet rising film composer George Kallis.

Film Composer George Kallis

It's an interesting time for film composers.Today’s filmmakers are expecting the preliminary music to sound as 'polished' as the master recording, and to be delivered quicker and easier in their editing suite

2010 marks the fourth year of scoring films for George, who has been receiving favorable reviews for his musical sensitivities and kudos from filmmaker colleagues for his work ethic.

“It's an interesting time for film composers” he says. "Music technology has changed the scoring process substantially over the past 10 years. It’s extremely rare to use tape machines anymore and all music studios have now minimized their hardware gear. In effect competition has substantially increased and today’s filmmakers are expecting the preliminary music to sound as 'polished' as the master recording, and to be delivered quicker and easier in their editing suite.”

George Kallis grew up in Cyprus, gaining reputation as one of the most promising songwriters, winning various competitions and receiving a gold CD plaque for his personal album “Where there is a Child”. He went on to study film composition at Berklee College of Music and in his final year, he was selected to represent the college in a TV interview for Channel 7 news. Following his Masters graduation from the Royal College of Music he remained in London to pursue a career in film scoring.

George, who has distinct ethno-musicological traits to his scores, worked his way up as orchestrator and composer for commercials and documentaries (e.g BBC Horizon). In 2006 he received the opportunity to pitch for the feature film Joy Division (Momentum Pictures), which he ended up scoring, and went on to record the music with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava. This lead to a meeting with film director Brett Leonard, who at the time was in post-production with the movie Highlander:The Source (Lionsgate). The producers took George on board to compose the epic music for the new instalment of the mythology, for which he conducted the 90-piece Budapest Symphony Orchestra. Leonard said “George brings to the process a complete historic understanding of film music, with a truly modern sensibility.” Scorenotes.com noted in their score review: “When Kallis gets the orchestra rolling, it’s an unstoppable flow that produces genuine excitement”.

On his scoring process, George says: “Today’s technology lends itself to easily creating high quality music. At the same time however, composers need to face the fact that nowadays anyone with a home PC can call himself a music-maker. Therefore my aim is to provide better music and a better service, so as to separate myself from the competition. Our brand new website showcases my music (http://www.cinematic-soundscapes.com), and it is now very usual for me to collaborate with directors and production companies from all over the world, especially from the US and Europe. I constantly update my clients through my social networking sites, and when I am not able to fly out and meet a client in person, directors and producers can practically 'walk in' to my studio for a face-to-face visual meeting through Skype, which is always accessible from my website. They can even listen to music as it is being composed. I am embracing technology as it not only enables me to have a sampled orchestra right at my fingertips, a second best option when we don’t have a real one, but it also allows personal communication, even if filmmakers or production companies are situated in a different country. Best of all, my clients can download and hear their music immediately from our ftp, freshly composed from the studio!”

Over the past year George has scored a variety of movies including the music for the popular Danish comedy Julefrokosten (The Christmas Party), starring Thure Lindhardt (Angels & Demons) and Helena Christensen. He regularly collaborates with new filmmakers, such as Mavericks Films, who are currently in production with their short film Lost Bullets, to be screened in Cannes 2010. George’s music has also been heard in prominent TV programs such as Farrah’s Story, America’s Most Wanted, Dateline, and others.

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Fiona Skenderlis
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