Terry Rayment is many things: Director, Filmmaker, founder of LA-based Eskimo Creative Studio, and the person who might have the answers you've been looking for.
Backed with an impressive body of creative work for clients including Microsoft, Lincoln Motor Co., Poler and Steelcase, Rayment is no stranger to balancing the needs of his clients while keeping his own voice. A lot of this comes down to the music he chooses.
We had the chance to chat with Rayment and got to know a little more about his directing process and the musical pitfalls that filmmakers struggle with.
M: When did you start filming?
TR: I remember in 4th grade I found my dads VHS camera and I would just tinker around and make mini movies with tha...just kidding. I didn't actually start moving images together until I was probably 18 or 19. I wanted to do something creative with my life so I dipped my foot into a lot of areas: design, writing, photography, art, illustration and filmmaking — I found I was quite horrible at most of those things besides filmmaking, plus it got me the most excited. I had a small stint in university and then started working for an advertising agency in Chicago when I was 20 years old. I convinced them to hire me because I made a lot of spec stuff in my free time that looked somewhat believable.
M: What's usually your favorite moment when working on a film?
TR: The last 15% of the edit process. This is the point where a lot of very talented people lose faith due to revisions or they've spent too much time with the project and they are not in love with it anymore. I believe there is value in just forcing yourself to see something through no matter any of the outside consequences — be it client or personal.
M: How did you get involved with Eskimo?
TR: I started Eskimo on January 1st, 2011. I think everyone starts their own company/collective because they feel like either something needs to change or they feel like they need to bring their voice to the table, right?
M: Have there been any happy accidents when filming? If so, what's one that stands out?
TR: I've worked with the same two cinematographers for over 5 years — Mike Berlucchi and Hunter Hampton. Not to be funny but I feel like every shoot with either of those guys is just one big happy accident.
M: How do you feel music plays a role in filmmaking?
TR: Being cavalier about your music selections is the quickest way to disconnect your audience from the film. The way music serves a film is a fine line between serving the emotional tone on a silver platter and being too ambiguous that the viewer doesn't know what you're trying to say. Most of the time, music is more important than the visuals, I believe. Some of my favorite little spots I just open up on Vimeo, hit play, and then close it and listen to the story unfold like it's a radio show or something.
M: How do you feel music can be misused in a film?
TR: When you use a song or track just because you like it, or it fits your taste. A lot of times we have to remind ourselves that we are the customer or the viewer this really needs to appeal to. Although we are hired to make things with our voice, taste and input, we are always cognizant of the fact that we are not the people that are going to view this. That said, the music needs to serve the project and not your own personal taste, you know?
M: What's your process of finding a soundtrack to a project? When do you know you've found the right one?
TR: The first parameter I always try and check off when searching for a soundtrack is that it has to surprise me. If you start listening to a track and you can predict where the next :30 and :60 will go, I feel like you should maybe move on to another track. I feel like it's a very time consuming process, so that's why if we find a track we like, we just save it to a library and that keeps on building and building. I think you know you found the right one when it lives perfectly with the project and it surprises you.
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