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Kate Mike (2018)

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Concept Overview

Kate & Mike is an interdisciplinary cross-institutional collaboration between myself (composer, UNSW), Alon Bar David (director and animator, Minshar College, Tel Aviv) and Luke Botting (mix & master, Sydney Conservatorium of Music). It is a short 3D animated silent film that tells the story of a suburban couple – Kate (policewoman) and Mike – who have plans to be married. Mike sees Kate looking at an advertisement for a ring that she would like, but he cannot afford. As Kate leaves the house to begin a night shift, Mike decides to take matters into his own hands by breaking into a jewellery store and stealing the ring she desires. As the alarms go off, Kate appears as a policewoman, and chaos ensues, as she chases the robber – who’s identity is unknown to her. Eventually, Mike escapes and proposes to Kate at their house the next morning, only for Kate to arrest him.

This project is the first of its kind that I have ever worked on. Given that it is a silent film, music is more heavily relied upon to characterise protagonists, establish setting, create mood, and enhance onscreen action. This was an immense challenge, as I had to create the entire tone and aesthetic through composition.

I was inspired by soundtracks to silent films such as BAO (2018), which was the precursor to Pixar’s Incredibles 2, and Raphael Beau’s score to Avner Geller and Stevie Lewis’s Defective Detective (2012) which featured in the Student Academy Awards in 2012. The Disney Pixar range also inspired me – particularly the soundtracks to Up (2009) and The Incredibles (2004), both composed by Michael Giacchino.

This project required an intensive collaboration between composer and director, who had his own demands for the musical aesthetic by insisting on a suburban, jazzy, mildly comedic and quirky sound.

As with many silent films and 3D animations, the music is used in a much more overt way, in that it mickey-mouses edit points and movements by characters. Another key facet of music of this nature tends to develop in a much more non-linear way, particularly through abrupt changes in tone by introducing new musical material or different instrumentation. I have tried to emulate convention in my score for Kate & Mike.

This project has been through-scored using Logic Pro X, in synchronisation with a click track. The soundtrack is a MIDI score featuring recorded saxophone.

I was attracted to this project as it was consistent with a core goal that I set for myself during my Bachelor of Music degree: to develop a range of film composition skills for a diverse variety of films. Kate & Mike fostered the development of a unique compositional voice for a new style of project, fusing aspects of jazz, orchestral and film composing that I have acquired over the course of my degree.

Please enjoy the film – I hope it makes you chuckle!

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