When picturing the rolling landscape of wine country, picturesque leisure comes to most minds: people basking in a bounty of fresh air while clinking their glasses of wine, mumblings of salute exchanged wistfully. Many will fail to pose the question of how this wine came to be, blissfully unaware of the working hands that have constructed the perfect scene before them — erring in thinking magic is behind it all.
It’s not magic. Nor is it from nothingness. There’s backbreaking work surrounding each aromatic pour and tasting. It’s easy to overlook as this work occurs behind the scenes, commencing at an hour many are still in bed. It’s work that’s hidden in plain sight but should be recognized, discussed, even questioned — something that filmmaker, Claudia Meza sought to pose in the original film she created for Marmoset’s fifth annual A/VEC 5 showcase.
Meza’s mission was to offer insight into this generation of migrant laborers, following the story in a ‘day in the life’ terms — the film opens on an early morning backdrop, we’re visually introduced to unnamed workers who hustle in a way that’s unprecedented by what you’d commonly see in any office environment. There’s a ferocity and propelling drive that catapults the subjects forward, it becomes nearly impossible to focus on any single person. In a way this is intentional, Meza aspiring to present the facts while still protecting identities.
“The reason I wanted to make this, I wanted to know what a migrant worker does because we hear so much about migrant laborers, undocumented workers, Mexican immigrants,” says Meza. “But we have no clue what is actually going on. Trabajo pesado, what that means is “hard work,” it means heavy work. And whenever your parents tell you to study, or tell you what they're doing for you so you don’t have to do — trabajo pesado.”
As Marmoset’s A/VEC series is constructed around the premise of music and picture working together to create a single experience, there’s something deeply profound in they way Mendoza’s score (Y La Bamba) resonates seamlessly with the visuals. An impressive feat considering neither artist was allowed to communicate with one another leading up to the screening (naturally, part of the entire A/VEC premises).
While this unknowingness of one another’s identities throughout their individual creative process existed, there is an unshaken connecting thread of understanding — there’s clearly an unspoken recognition of the film’s weight and a shared compassion for what the visuals exposed that Mendoza registered. Despite Meza’s intentional decision to omit vocals captured on the day of filming, the context hits home through Mendoza’s lyrics within her original song titled, “The Screams.”
“It’s not so often that this gets to be presented in my music scene,” says Mendoza. “I feel like my life, my parents’ lives — and I know some of us here too that can also relate — how our lives and our stories are being magnified.”
Mendoza recounts her family lineage entwined with a similar kind of physical labor, her story is similar to Meza’s and to those featured in the film. And while neither artist knew who was on the opposite side of this collaboration, both shared a similar personal journey and appreciation of the previous generation’s trabajo pesado.
“We have always lived and carried this knowledge, this is part of living and breathing and surviving, and it’s something really rewarding but it breaks me in front of you to share this and actually exercise what’s been killing me for so long. It’s like this emotional awareness.”
As the event enters its Q&A portion, questions revolving around ‘what’s next’ fill the room. A stirring statement is made by a member of the audience thanking Meza and Mendoza for sharing art that speaks volumes within our rugged political landscape. The attendee reverses the ‘what’s next’ inquiry, prompting fellow audience members to ask themselves what they can do rather than placing the weight of responsibility solely on the artists.
Marmoset commends these artists for allowing their art-form to speak for those who often go without a voice. In an effort to assemble in what we can do together, we’ve listed resources and references in support of America’s migrant workers.
The fifth installment of A/VEC is tonight at Marmoset headquarters. Need a reminder of what A/VEC is? We’ve got you covered. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Last year’s A/VEC installment brought together the talents of filmmaker Jennifer Reeder (whose film, A Millions Miles Away was screened at Sundance Film Festival) and Marmoset artist, Secret Drum Band.
The two artists’ identities were kept a secret until the night of the reveal — it’s a true testament of how art can be interpreted so vastly differently based on one’s personal experiences. With Secret Drum Band creating an original score to accompany Reeder’s finished film, the finish line entails the mergence of a single cinematic experience.
You’ll want to catch our recap short film highlighting the collaboration. Check it out here —
A reminder this event is RSVP only so don’t forget to get your name on the list before time runs out. Can’t make it? We’ll miss you but stay tuned for our behind the scenes film capturing the creation process and premiere.
The ultimate journey to StudioFest begins now. As we make the trek from Portland, Oregon to the Catskill Mountains of Phoenicia, the upcoming weekend will be filled with non-stop music to the multifaceted sides to filmmaking (need to catch up on what StudioFest is, check it out here).
Our Creative Licensing Team assembled the ultimate playlist to get you amped up. Follow the link below to get listening and stay tuned for more information about the winning filmmakers & screenwriters!
The trailer to a film can be the fingerprint to an entire project — it’s what tells your viewers just enough engaging information without giving away the best parts (c’mon, no one likes spoilers). It’s an art-form to master and can influence just how many viewers will be hooked enough to seek out the rest of the story.
Similar to commercials, the film’s sneak peek can be cut down and edited around the right music to tug on the heartstrings of the audience — from the lighthearted pop rock that lulls behind dialogue of a comedic romance to the rhythmic percussions guiding an action sequence. But what’s the right kind of music for your trailer and how does one even begin searching for the best fit?
We have three tips to help nail down the best music for any trailer or short video.
Considering Song Length
This is it, the first impression. And you have to do it typically in under two minutes. While the visuals and dialogue will help create a compelling exposition for the film, music is a surefire method evoking emotional investment from the audience.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see a range (one to two, or even three songs) with the first song defining the vibrancy and tone, the last song as the catalyst.
In the “Sorry For Your Loss” movie trailer, two songs were licensed for the project: “Possible Deaths” by Typhoon and “Golden October" by Ryan Stively.
The songs, while emotively different, still compliment each other through their reflective qualities. While it’s clear neither song plays from start to finish in the video, there’s an intentional shift and purpose for the music’s placement. When “Golden October” trails off, “Possible Deaths” illustrates a heavier mood, hitting home a somewhat mysterious quality to the film (remember the mentioning of hooking your audience, this is that moment).
When a project needs succinct music to perfectly fit within a timeline the Length setting aids editors in finding music to appease such time constraints. Get searching and check it out here.
It’s All About the Mood
We hinted at this above but the emotional qualities of a trailer can be what intensifies or lessens the trailer’s message. If the film is a dark drama set in the 1800s, the music should similarly help complete this palette. Will there be swelling moments of inspiration? Or is the audience meant to feel alienated? These are the kind of factors to consider when placing music to picture.
On the Marmoset browse page, there are two key settings to filter a song’s search. Toggle the Mood and Energy settings to find music that compliments the overall atmospheric tone.
A Certain Kind of Subtext
In deciding between lyrics and instrumental versions of a song, the lyrical version can offer subtext to a trailer — all without the audience even realizing it’s happening. Call it subconscious persuasion but it can help hit all the right points quickly and effectively.
In the “Sorry For Your Loss” trailer, “Golden October” alludes to the idea of missing someone or wishing to be reunited with them. This aligns with the trailer’s unfolding narrative as this also centers around the main character struggling with the death of her spouse.
To utilize a song’s lyrics to their fullest music searchers can check out the song’s lyrics from the Marmoset music search page. Simply play a song and if the artist submitted lyrics to Marmoset, an “open book” icon will appear on the bottom of the window. Click this icon and a pop-up window will appear with lyrics.
Check back next time as we continue offering more tips on how to find the music for every project.
Don't believe that sounds collected from everyday office life can be smartly pieced together to create music?
Our "Found Sound" short film is about to prove naysayers wrong. The piece is the brainchild of our in-house Original Music Composer, Graham Barton and Marmoset's Visual Content Director, Josh Brine. From clicking and clinks to woofs and slams, the short film offers an example of our Sound Design experts at work.
And while the sounds are natural and truly captured from Marmoset headquarters, don't mistake it for sheer luck or coincidence. The "sounds" were carefully mapped out beforehand and scored by our Original Music Team, when strategically planned out, captured, produced, and edited, the finished product is anything but pointless noise.
The short film proves how even the most obscure of sounds can be strung together to create an entire score — check out the video above and listen for yourself.