2020 ended up being a busy year for me, and while the pandemic caused some changes in how everyone was recording scores, they were still finding ways to make it happen.
The first project I’d been scheduled to orchestrate and conduct was Free Guy, composed by Christophe Beck. This ended up being the first movie recorded in Los Angeles after the lockdowns. It was a team effort to make it happen and work out how we could record in a safe way. Because everyone had to be spaced out, we couldn’t have the entire orchestra on the stage at once, so we recorded the orchestra in sections. While there are composers that do this often, Chris is not one of them, so it was a change for us.
We had to space everyone out, which meant no sharing stands for the strings. This meant that the usual Inside/Outside divisi organization was not really there. I ended up making plans for every session, letting every player know what part they were to play in any divisi scenario.
Mark Mothersbaugh had a busy year, and I was happy to come along and orchestrate. We started with the animated feature The Mitchells vs the Machines, which recorded right at the beginning of summer. I actually went to Australia to produce the score, which required two weeks in hotel quarantine! Then in the fall we did The Croods: A New Age. Like The Christmas Chronicles, this one was recorded at Abbey Road but produced from LA.
Mark Mothersbaugh also did the music for a Hotel Transylvania short called Monster Pets, which I orchestrated. You can see the entire short on YouTube!
That wasn’t all, though. I also orchestrated a pair of feature projects for composer Fil Eisler: the documentary Us Kids, and the action comedy Thunder Force. Thunder Force had a fun heavy metal score featuring Scott Ian from Anthrax, Dave Lombardo from Slayer, and a studio orchestra.