Prime Survival Pt II - Early Music Work...
Updated: May 23, 2020
Part of the emotional fabric of a film score are the themes. For 'Prime Survival' there were certain ideas that felt they needed to be expressed musically, usually due to repeated narrative styles but also to help craft a narrative for the film in general. Up to this point, Jack and I had been in discussions about if we should use John Williams themes. We weren't yet sure if we should or shouldn't and the original ending of the film was intended to replicate the somber yet heroic endings of the originals with what felt like an obligatory statement of the Jurassic Park theme on piano. With this and the script in mind, I wrote a 'Finale' for the story based on the classic Jurassic Park theme. This would start out similar to the finale of all the films with a small orchestral interlude, and then the solo horn playing the 4 note call that leads into 'The Dinosaurs' theme from Jurassic Park. This was one of several temporary tracks I did to explore the project including an ambient track for the website and the teaser trailer music. At the time, I was using an 'm-Audio Sessions' program I had purchased which, although limited in some ways, had some great sounds! One of the more frustrating things I never could figure out was WHY it introduced a high frequency hiss on export. You can tell a lot of these early tracks because of the inclusion of this almost imperceptible but present hum (I did my best to try and remove it!)
For the film, I began to explore creating my own themes. Working with the couple scenes I had, two ended up being the main themes for the film. The Themes
First you had the isolation/loneliness theme. I felt this one was important as one of the main characters gets isolated from his friends for most of the film. Even past that, there's also the isolation of the group after getting stuck on this island. The first time I worked on this theme was the campfire on the beach scene (then Scene 18).
The main characters discuss how they hope that the campfire will keep animals away but also discuss how other people have survived on the island. "If he can" was born of this idea of finding your way alone and ending with some sense of hopefulness. The melody wanders over sustained chords, shifting and moving and ends with a somewhat hopeful sound. The full exploration of this melody was to be my original 'End Credits' track. Voiced with a quartet of horns, I performed it in a single take. (I later went back and doubled the horns with strings to give it a bit more fullness) Although lacking any backing orchestrations, I felt like there really wasn't much to be gained by adding TOO many instruments to this piece. The emptiness was the point after all. The next major theme, what became known as the 'Prime Survival Theme,' was originally written for one of the final scenes. The group has given in and accepted this may be the end for them and decide to throw the last of the gas grenades at raptors. After the raptors stop their attack, the boys notice the sound of a helicopter and get excited! Realizing they might actually survive, the group begins to run in hopes of escape!
"Through The Fog" starts with an almost call by an ethnic wind over tremolo strings. A timpani kicks in and drives home the fatalistic feel. The group runs but Elliot is taken down by a Raptor. The tension builds and at the last second Elliot is able to hit the raptor in the eye with a stick, getting it to leave him alone. This music would not be used in this scene.
Due to the overall strength of this piece and the fact that it was now the main theme of the film, it was shifted forward to the iconic moment where the Rex and Spinosaurus fight, righting the wrong as it were. Several other moments would be scored for the project using this initial work template including the website music, the original teaser music, the original 'Main Title' (unused in the final film), 'Through the Fog,' 'Escape to Freedom,' and the 'Theme from Prime Survival.'
At around this point, production shifted to a second and then a final program for composing music and production boomed. continued on Pt III...