Sound and music for Contour

I made a post at regarding the music in Contour.

Yeah… really ain’t easy getting amazing music for the budget I had. I think I spent around $725 on all of it. I’ve heard people grit their teeth on Andy’s end fight but I like it… the first half of it anyway. Would’ve gone with Anton Patzner if I could (Undercut), but I remember him being quite busy, and I don’t think I could’ve afforded him since he was touring and being famous. Undercut’s score was around $400 I think, and bargain doesn’t even begin to describe that price.

Drop Black Sky did the intro, bat fight, piano music, and dojo fight music. The guitarist worked at the warehouse and offered to make music. Those tracks were $500 total, which also got me the rights to the end credits music and a few other bits. Mark Degli Antoni, who’s on the pro level, did all the end fights plus the dream sequence. He didn’t want to charge me anything but it was taking forever to get a track out of him, so I dropped $150 off at his house. I think he banged everything out in a weekend, and at that point I thought to myself, “It’s 90% awesome, and I wanna release this movie, and I’m broke. I’ll take it.”

Then I also paid Jon Roche for some of his premade tracks. One of them is the traditional music when we break into the warehouse, which is one of my favorite tunes in the film. Also got some ambient and filler tracks, paid maybe $125 for all his music.

When paying a composer less than $300 a day to do work on your film score, they start to dislike you very quickly. Same goes for sound mixing. If you’re not constantly feeding their wallets, they have no incentive to improve anything. When you go in and say “Nah, it needs more work” it starts to disintegrate any friendship you guys may have had. On visit #3 for music tracks, I just kinda had to say “Uh, I’ll take it, in fact, gimme all the versions you ever made.” Then I’d go home and tweak it myself. I had to tweak the sound mixing quite a bit too after the fact.

Music and sound aren’t cheap, and if your feature film relies on music, allocate at least two grand for a good score, plus another thousand (two thousand for feature) for sound mixing, unless you can manage all of it yourself. For me, I know next time I’m going to rely much less on music. It’s a bad habit we develop from all those years of doing short films to our favorite tunes.

Here’s a clip from Contour featuring a fight between Andy Leung and me, which kicked off the discussion about which fight had the best music in Contour: