Posts tagged #Studio

Learning Restraint In Storytelling: An interview with Filmmaker, Luke Randall

Field Notes Interview #46: Luke Randall, Animator + Director

When the short film The Walrus was shared with us from its filmmaker, Luke Randall, a bizarre, yet captivating breeze swept through our studios. The film immediately captured everyone's attention over here. It wasn't just the unique nature of the film that enthralled us, it was in the pacing. Driven by the soundtrack from Marmoset Artist, Henry The Rabbit, the story unfolded at a natural speed and with subtlety -- something that's only learned through experience and maturity in the craft of storytelling. 

Originally from Tasmania, Randall spent his first 20 years experimenting with different forms of storytelling. Now crossing to the other side of the pond and living in Los Angeles, he's firmly rooted as a filmmaker and animator for DreamWorks. We chatted with Luke about his creative process, tough decisions he's had to make as an artist, and how he's learned the element of restraint to tell compelling stories.

M: When did you know you wanted to be a filmmaker?

LR: I tried storytelling through lots of different mediums as kid and teenager; messing around with the home video camera, drawing comics and making animated flipbooks. I was pretty isolated and didn't really understand that making films was a thing that I could possibly do though and there were a lot of digressions along the way that I can only hope were at least character building. Now I'm very much focused on writing and directing.

M: What's your favorite moment of the filmmaking process?

LR: I enjoy all parts. On set is really adrenaline inducing but when there's no budget and you're wearing all the hats and calling on favors, it can be a bit of a circus. Editing is gratifying because you have all the footage and are no longer at the mercy of the conditions of the set. It's just man vs footage.

M: What do you think defines a filmmakers' voice?

LR: As a viewer, the thing that interests me is specificity- the antithesis of generic. Taste, experience and the ability to articulate and spin the best of them into a narrative is probably what it comes down to. If you don't specify each detail of the film, the decisions get made arbitrarily and that can lead to generic results.

The films I enjoy most are auteur films, ones where you could tell who wrote and directed after a couple of shots. They are more personal and more interesting to me. Those films don't always work but when they do, they are thrilling.

M: Tell us more about your process when filming The Walrus.

LR: I wrote, directed and photographed it myself using consumer gear so it was pretty DIY. I was lucky enough to have my good friend and fellow filmmaker Jordan Chesney acting as right hand man through out which made a huge difference as he has more experience and caught a lot of things. The Walrus himself was played by my talented friend Rodrigo Huerta and his girlfriend Samantha happened to be a make up artist. I was originally going to apply the walrus prosthetic myself which would have been a disaster, it took Sam -- who is a talented pro -- several hours to get him into the full walrus get up. I was extremely lucky to have their help.

The exterior stuff was shot guerrilla style which was also nerve-racking. Driving down the heavily policed Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible with a walrus at the wheel attracts attention.

M: What's the toughest decision you've had to make as a filmmaker?

LR: Probably just putting stuff out there. You have to make things to practice and get better, but filmmaking is an expensive and communal medium so it makes sense to put it out there and experience the response, good or bad, even if you are not entirely satisfied.


M: What role do you feel music has in film?

LR: I think it's critical. It can set the entire tone for a scene without a single word or action. Even if it's no music, that's a decision that can have a profound effect.

M: How do you feel music is misused in projects?

LR: There can be a tendency to want to jump right to the touching, emotional juicy part or high energy part in a film by just turning up the appropriate music. That can feel insincere if it's not earned by what comes before.

That's the hard part. I've made a lot of mistakes myself with music trying to work it out. Less is more is a lesson I've learnt the hard way.

M: When do you know that you have something ready to show the world?

LR: It's always different. I never really feel satisfied and tend to shelve things for a while. Once I'm well on the way with a new project and have some detachment, I'll put it out there.

M: What's coming up?

LR: I've got another film finished that is sitting on the shelf. I'll likely release once I've let it stew for a bit. At the moment most of my free time is focused on writing a feature length script.

Does any of this resonate with you? Share your thoughts by commenting below... On that note, share your most recent short films with us at: We'll feature our favorites on the journal and send some sweet swag to our featured filmmakers.

Panel Discussion: Music Production Insights for Composing and Music Licensing

In the modern music landscape, music licensing has become one of the greatest opportunities for making a living as a blue collar, working musician. However, when it comes to crafting music with picture and licensing in mind, it can often times be a challenging, elusive process.

On Thursday, November 6th at 6:30PM, Marmoset is hosting a panel discussion of talented industry insiders in an open conversation to shed light on creating, editing and producing music for picture and music licensing. Through transparent dialogue, our aim is to dispel any mystery, challenges and confusion within the craft and nuances of do-it-yourself music production.

The event is part of Marmoset's ongoing focus on the artists we partner with and engaging them, along with the greater blue collar music community, in education, support and conversation. 

This conversation is taking place at Marmoset HQ - 2105 SE 7th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214

This event is now fully booked and we're no longer accepting RSVPs. Sign up for our email list to learn more about our upcoming panels.

Let's meet the speakers...

Dave Gulick laid the foundation for his career in music by songwriting and performing in bands such as Derby and Fremont. As his career has grown and blossomed over the past three years, Dave has achieved notable success composing music for commercials and recording music for licensing that's specifically crafted with picture in mind. Dave will share his inspiring story and provide insights and examples of how he's been able to forge a successful, blue collar full-time career in music.


Eric Nordby has been on both sides of the coin. He's the songwriter and leader of his band Norman, he crafts music for picture with his friend Johnny Clay in their collaboration project Belvedear, and he also leads the Music Supervision team at Marmoset. He'll share his thoughts and experiences on how to hit the often elusive target that is "music licensing" and will provide examples of real creatives briefs and projects he's worked on.

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Rob Dennler comes with an impressive resume, recording and engineering with the likes of Built To SpillFun., and The Parson Red Heads. Now, as the Lead Producer at Marmoset, Rob brings a wealth of knowledge and experiences to the table, shedding light on the production aspects of music licensing, answering questions like "What ways can DIY recording artists improve their production?" "What tools should they use?" "What are smart investments for equipment and software?" and other tips, tricks, insider secrets.


Moderating the event is our fearless leader, Marmoset Co-Founder Ryan Wines, bringing a wealth of working knowledge in the music licensing industry as a label owner, a band manager, an entrepreneur and a creative director.  Ryan co-pilots Marmoset’s creative teams, overseeing all music licensing and original music projects. He also recently gave a TED Talk on nurturing curiosity, fostering a creative culture, and the thrill of loving the work that you do.

Wanted: Badass Jr. Producer + Engineer

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We’re looking to bring in an awesome detail oriented audio engineer type to support our music producers and music supervisors. This opportunity includes the following primary responsibilities:

  1. Edit, revise and massage music to fit picture.
  2. Mix music against sound design and voice overs
  3. Meticulously organize and manage a rapid flow of music files with a high degree of metadata. 
  4. Organize and manage a music catalog of more than 15,000 tracks, plus individual session files for many of them. 
  5. Organize, communicate and facilitate a rapid flow of forms, paperwork and contracts for a wide range projects

Basics: Super detail oriented. Passion for making and absorbing music, both on the technical and emotional level. Deep knowledge of music engineering and production.

Personality: Plays well with others. Good communicator. Super detail oriented. Creative. Calm and focused under pressure. Thick skinned and open to critique. Resourceful. Fast learner. Potential to lead.

Skills: Mastery of Pro Tools and Logic. Mastery of music engineering. Ability to intuitively edit, revise, and alter compositions to against picture. Intuitive ability to make creative decisions and understand the nuances of music and picture.

Industry: Cursory understanding of  advertising, ability to interpret and execute music related creative direction from musician and non-musician types.

Experience: Extensive experience in audio post production and/or mixing records. Ability to play one or more instruments.

In summary, teachability, human relationships, creative IQ, audio engineering skills, hard work, and the highest degree of attention to detail will define your success.

Click HERE for more details about us and the position.

Application Process

For consideration, you must carefully follow these directions. Please submit a one page resume with a letter of interest in PDF format. Your letter of interest may be up to 2 pages in total length. In your letter, please be sure to include a statement of purpose (100 words maximum) plus any references and web links you believe would be helpful. Feel free to elaborate on your experience and your story so we can get to know you better. We encourage you to explain any ideas on music, audio engineering, producing, creative wizardry, or anything else you believe would support your case. What are you creative tendencies? How do you manage audio projects? Just how detail oriented are you? How do you lead people? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Please give us something to watch and/or listen to.

We’re aiming to begin interviewing candidates by mid October and would like to hire someone by early to mid November. Please apply by October 30th. Do not call or stop by in person without an appointment.

Email your complete PDF application to