Navid Lancaster

We’ve seen you and Steven work together on ‘Buck -The Man Spirit’. How has this relationship influenced your compositions used in “19”? And can you describe what it’s like working together?

We both started working together on ‘Buck – The Man Spirit’ in 2012 and since then our skill sets has improved exponentially. I have also scored works for Steven when he was a student at USC and we have also worked on various music videos where he was the Director and I had the role of Sound Designer. My job is to compliment the Director’s vision and to provide the Score or Sound Design that would best tell the story the Director wants to tell. This involves a lot of discussion and the spotting of the film. During a spotting session the Director and Composer will watch the film together identifying cue points of emotion, where to and where not to have music and what the Director wants the audience to feel in a scene. A film is a Director’s creative baby and after developing the vision, directing the cast and crew and overseeing the editing process the Director now has to hand over this creative idea to a person who is trusted to add the emotional finishes to the film. That person is the Film Composer. We have developed that trust.

Were you satisfied with the outcome?

We have received great reviews so far from various film critics who published their views on their blogs and other forms of social media. The film has also been featured on a video podcast and tonight (Thursday) a summary of the film was broadcast on CNC3. We have also received numerous positive comments about the film, through personal messages and social media posts, about how good it was or how it scared them with a few people asking if we are going to make a feature film from it. As the person responsible for composing the Score, developing the Sound Design and finalizing the total audio mix it is also satisfying that people were also commenting positively about the overall sound of this short film.

How has the current pandemic impacted on your approach to projects and what creative methods have you utilised to facilitate the changes?

My methods and approaches to projects have not changed much due to our current pandemic. Most of my interactions are already online and I spend most of my working time composing or audio editing. I am in a fortunate situation where my tools are readily accessible for me to do my part in post-production and I send the drafts/final products via the internet.

What would you consider the most challenging aspect of composing music specifically for a short film?

Just starting out on a blank slate and trying to express the subtext of the character/mood of the film. When scoring to picture, a film composer is like a filmmaker whose specialty is storytelling through sound. My job is to heighten, lessen or even go contrary to the story being told on screen and also to say things that the visuals can’t (or won’t) say. In a short film (or any length of film) I have to immediately immerse the viewer into its world, keep the viewer engaged, know when to have music and most importantly when NOT to have music and emotionally carry the story to its completion.

What is next for you? Are you currently working on any new projects?

I am currently composing the score for a short film called ‘Immune’. It’s a film about an authoritarian government who hunts those who are immune to a virus during a worldwide pandemic. The film was in preparation for a few months and was shot in England. It is Directed by Robert MacFarlane and Produced by Lesley-Anne MacFarlane and Mo Wani. I also composed the Score for ‘Unbreakable’, an app developed by award-winning Stack Designer Anthony Phills. The app uses Augmented Reality (AR) and portrays the life of Cujoe Lewis, the last known survivor of the Atlantic Slave Trade who was brought illegally to the United States on board the ship Clotilda. It is developed for iOS and will be ready soon.