Film Score Monthly Downbeat: Harsh Realm
Jason originally wrote the following for use in "Downbeat," our section in FSM dealing with current scores and the challenges featuring well-known (and some not well-known) composers. He talked to Mark Snow about Harsh Realm -- which was canceled before anyone could blink. So, we didn't run the piece. Recently, however, Harsh Realm has been broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel so we thought we'd dust this off: -LK (Lukas Kendall)
Having already cemented their place in TV shows dealing with the paranormal, ten-time Emmy-nominated composer Mark Snow and X-FILES creator Chris Carter are at it again -- this time with the series HARSH REALM.
Described as a tense and edgy contemporary-looking virtual reality adventure along the lines of THE MATRIX, Snow says that HARSH REALM should easily lend itself to music, much in the way THE X-FILES has.
"THE X-FILES is such a great show. It's like scoring a mini-movie each week," says Snow. "And coming from the same people, HARSH REALM, from what I've seen of the pilot, I expect the same quality which makes scoring the shows much more inspiring and a pleasure rather than just work."
While Snow's weekly scores for episodes of THE X-FILES have tended to
stay in a similar musical ballpark throughout the entire series run, he
says that won't be the case with HARSH REALM.
"Well, once you get on a TV series that's successful, basically it's the first ten episodes where everyone is involved and giving a lot of input into the project," he says. "Then if they're happy and feel comfortable, they leave you alone and then you have the freedom to experiment. My experience with X-FILES has been just that. After the first bunch of episodes, I was left to my own devices and felt totally uninhibited by whatever I wanted."
Much like the music for THE X-FILES, and most television scoring in general, Snow will not develop different character themes for HARSH REALM. While that isn't something that would be very difficult to do, Snow says it would be very limiting.
"The TV show works better for me to have themes for situations rather
than people," he says. "I think that by now if you had a theme for Mulder
or Scully you'd grow sick of it. That's why it's not about themes for
them as much as it is the situations they get in to. Each week the situations
are, as you know, colored so differently and there are so many variations
of the themes -- so to keep my interest in it and to keep it sounding
fresh, I prefer to score new thematic material every week and I think
that's how it's going to work for HARSH REALM."
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