Sunday, February 6, 2011

Big Time "Big Top" Music, Part 1

Big Top Fitness is non-verbal. Did you know that? There are voiceovers spoken by children, but the core of the program is physical movement and music. From the beginning of this project, I knew music would be incredibly important. When writing my story bible, I really tried to think about what I wanted the show to sound like. It had to be circus music, but it also had to be fun and modern. In the story bible, I wrote:
Opening Title
The opening of each episode will be accompanied by the same instrumental music as the title credit rolls in order to alert the child viewers that the program is starting, and it’s time to get active and have fun.
Individual Episodes
Each episode of Big Top Fitness will be accompanied by a unique instrumental track. The music can be characterized as “new circus” style including an organ, brass instruments, bass drum, and cymbals. The music will compliment the movements modeled on screen and support active and enjoyable participation with the child viewers.

I had no idea where we were going to get the music. I decided I would need to source three different kinds of sounds: piano-driven with high energy, acoustic-driven with a calmer energy, and a Tufts student per my advisor's recommendation. I spent hours scrolling through my iTunes library and finding inspiration pieces which I also listened to tirelessly when writing and creating the characters (a leftover from my NYU character development days). From there, I looked at the artists in my inspiration playlist. I decided to take a risk and contact two of them. To be fair, they were both people I knew: one from high school and another from work at the New Vic. I also got in touch with the music department here at Tufts. I asked them to audition with a 30-second piece to introduce the show. All they had to go off of was the story bible description. My decision was an easy one. One person totally got it, one person missed the mark big time, and the other just never got back to me. It was clear which direction we were going in.

The response from John Foti was unbelievable! He sent us 6 thirty-second tracks with full music and lyrics. Blake McCarty, the director, and I kept going back and forth over which one we liked best. We finally settled on one that really felt like the message we were trying to send out there with this show.

We realized, however, that 30 seconds was just too, too long for our little interstitials. Blake and I picked our favorite parts of that fabulous song and just cut it down a wee bit. Check it out...

Tune in later this week for the second part of our music blog! I'll be featuring an interview with Big Top Fitness musician John Foti!

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