What Will You Do For Revenge?

May 31st, 2009
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I don’t consider myself to be a violent guy. The last time I got into a fist fight I can remember was probably in 8th grade. Not to say I didn’t have my share of bad burns by people I thought were friends in my later years. However, I always try to be passive and not acknowledge that person’s existence until my grudge is gone.

However, I’m not sure how I would react to someone cutting my face open though. Well, that’s exactly what happened in the film Daniel written and directed by Manuel Neves that I composed for staring Robert Seelinger. It is a story about a man named Daniel who is seeking revenge on the guys that severely hurt him and left him a massive scar on his face. Daniel is confronted with the emotional burden, which tests his relationships with his girlfriend and close friends Bray, Steven, and Rafi.

Daniel – Part 1

Daniel was the first film project that I was asked to composed for while I was in college. My cousin Damian Chen (founder of Colorshadow Communications) recommended me as a composer for Manuel Neves since he had a hard time finding one. Manni and I talked on the phone and I sent him a CD of my work. He liked it and then drove down to Philadelphia from Toronto with a VHS tape with Time-Code burn. This was before the days of affordable software integration of music sequencing and video editing.

I approached each scene by simply writing down words that described emotions that I felt would suit for. Then it was a matter of finding the right sounds and experimenting to see if it matched that words while providing a sense of momentum in the scene. When Daniel is leaving the hospital, the camera doesn’t shoot the scar on his face and his girlfriend is there helping him to forget. The music in this scene is quite uplifting to match the sense of joy he is feeling. However, that will quickly change.

Daniel – Part 2

At the beginning of Part 2, Daniel and his friends are in a meeting planning a revenge. This is one of my favorite parts of the film since you really don’t notice the music building up with the conflict between Daniel and his friends, however, you do feel something subtle. It is a very slow dark build until the scene is resolved. I also “borrowed” the Twin Peaks theme and Moby’s song Go playing the same chords. LOL. Everyone loved the shot of Daniel’s dog Jake. Who’s real name is Rocky and he is deaf. I guess dog whistles can really hurt them. Notice, that Daniel and Meghan have their own theme music.

Daniel – Part 3

The drums are not sampled from Nine Inch Nail’s Closer. I actually did that myself with a simple beat but also running it through a delay which gives the snare a fatter sound and a heartbeat like kick. The drum and bass beats during the chase scene were from my song Passport. Actually, I used quite a few themes from the Dream In Stereo album. It took the sound engineer 2 weeks to create that gun shot sample.

This was a 20 minute independent film costing $20,000. I was over joyed for being asked to compose for a film which was something new and very exciting for me early. I met the cast and crew at the screening and after party in Toronto. I joked with Robert Seeliger saying that his scar healed up pretty fast. But in fact, he replied saying that the make up actually left impressions on his face for a week after they took it out.

Melissa Michaels, Ellen Kay, Robert Seeliger, Manuel Neves

Melissa Michaels, Ellen Kay, Robert Seeliger, Manuel Neves

Quang Ly (film composer) and Manuel Neves (Director)

Quang Ly (film composer) and Manuel Neves (Director)

Robert Seelinger recently starred in Gracie’s Choice with Kristen Bell based on a true story.

To find out more on Robert Seeliger visit http://www.robertseeliger.com