Friday, July 21, 2006

SDCC: Gaining Composure

Pictured from left to right: composers Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion - joined by Glen Murakami

I attended the "Scoring for Superheroes" panel on Thursday - which featured award-winning composers Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistion, and Lolita Ritmanis (Teen Titans, Justice League Unlimited) for a rare behind-the-scenes look at music scoring for animation. They were joined by special guest Glen Murakami (Teen Titans), who will discuss their music for the Teen Titans series and upcoming DVD Teen Titans: Trouble In Tokyo.

We got a chance to see how different scores were used in different situations; For example, we saw a JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED scene with its original score, and then its final score. The score changed from a high-action feel to a more emotionally epic sort of vibe.

Glen joined the music experts and talked about all the different kinds of music used in the TEEN TITANS series. Sometimes, things would be hard to score - like the Terra arc - which shifted from high-action to emotionally heart-wrenching material. Glen talked about how TITANS was "less formatted" than some of the other shows. Many times, they tried to top themselves to ask, "how much weirder can we go?"

Michael noted that it was "open season" on TEEN TITANS, as far as music. He said it was "a dream" to work on since Glen encouraged everyone to take chances and try different things. Lolita said it was "good to be able to try different things out" and be different.

The conversation shifted to a discussion about the upcoming direct-to-video movie, TEEN TITANS: TROUBLE IN TOKYO. Glen was excited since the movie used live musicians. The movie has music with a more Eastern-world influeunce - including an opening score that plays like a Japanese version of the Titans theme song. Or, as Glen put it, they used "Godzilla music."

The panel showed an opening scene of the direct-to-video; Beast Boy hurrily packed a number of items; Robin neatly folded one of his many Robin costumes hanging in his closet; Cyborg packed some extra arms and legs; Starfire used a strange alien purse that you just have to see; And Raven merely brings a toothbrush.

Kris said the team also tried to come up with an Asian super-hero theme song for a few new characters that would appear in the movie. Lolita mentioned that she loved the characters of TEEN TITANS quite a bit. So much so, she was sad to score the last character moments. She said she hopes there would be more in store for the TEEN TITANS. We can hope!

The good news? The musical team will be providing the music for this fall's LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES!

Also, to hear the TOKYO music, you can download a sample for a limited number of days at


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