Saturday, August 22, 2015

Music: Interview with International Film Composer and Musician Sebastien Pan

Today, we have a wonderful guest in our blog, Sebastien Pan, a French film composer and musician.
We're excited to learn more about his music and the soundtracks he's creating for movies.

Sebastien, welcome! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I am a film composer and professional guitarist born and raised in the east of France. After musical studies and following my graduation as professional musician in 2004, I taught guitar and played in few rock and metal bands. In the meantime, composing music took more and more space in my head, which brought me to think about « how could I live in writing music? » I had already many pieces of orchestral and non-orchestral compositions ready, thus I decided to find a way to use them.

I built a large portfolio in scoring student filmmakers works and other film and TV projects, which enabled me the following year to be hired as composer in-house at Imaginex Studios, a well-known post-production house in Asia. I moved there and gained experience in working on TV commercials, trailers, animated TV series and feature films.Thenceforth, I started working as freelancer and moved to New Zealand where I’m currently based.

What a wonderful career you're building! So, what drove you to start composing orchestral scores for films instead of getting into a band to play guitar after graduating as a professional guitarist?

Actually, I have always been into composing orchestral pieces, it was just something I liked to do for fun until I thought it could be nice to try to compose for pictures, so I proposed to students filmmakers to score their shorts films and that’s how it began. But I would never thought that one day I would score feature films for cinema or TV shows.
I sometimes miss to play in a band, but I will for sure do it again.

I hope you do. I'm sure you play exceptionally well. Who is your greatest influence and how does this influence helped shape your work?

I would say that John Williams and John Powell are my main influences, I learnt a lot in listening to their scores, how they orchestrate and how they focus on the melodies.

Definitely wonderful influences. John Williams has some epic scores! And talking about these great movie score composers, what is your favorite movie score ever and why?

There is two movie scores that I listen to a lot: « The Lord Of The Ring » trilogy by Howard Shore because this is the most epic soundtrack I’ve ever heard, all the themes sounds fantastic and everything in it is connected. The other one is John Powell’s « How to train your Dragon », full of powerful, rich and emotional themes.
(I could also mention film scores by Christopher Young, Danny Elfman and John Williams)

Too many to mention, for sure! All great choices, though. And what is your source of inspiration to compose?

When composing for motion pictures, the movie and its story are what inspires me, I simply imagine what I would like to hear if I was a member of the audience, what could enhance the picture and bring the emotion. The hardest part is to fit what I have in mind with the director and producers expectations, briefs and temp tracks (A temp track is an existing piece of music which is used in film production during the editing phase, it serves as a guideline for the mood or atmosphere the director is looking for in a scene). So I’m not totally free, it’s a mix between my feelings and the Production requirements. Once a cue is approved, I start to polish and improve the piece.
It’s actually the same thing in TV commercials and trailers.

I have more freedom in animated TV series, once we have found the right mood and music direction for the overall show, I’m free to create themes for characters, environments, situations etc… The inspiration here is guided by the personality of each characters and the plots of the episodes. The themes then will be tweaked to fit with the different moods we will find in the TV show.

From the work you've done with Imaginex Studios, what's your favorite and how did you compose it?

Working at Imaginex Studios
I like all the movies I scored with Imaginex, the team of producers and engineers there is great, they take on all the audio stuffs (sound design, foley, Voice over, mix..). It’s nice to have everything done at the same place.

I compose remotely because I’m traveling a lot. Imaginex set up a server where I can download and upload all the files related to the projects I’m working on.

What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future?

I just finished the score of an animated feature film which was released in theaters the 6th of August. I’m currently working on an animated TV series which will be broadcasted next year. There’s two other movies that I will begin to score before the end of the year, and some TV commercials.
I’m also moving regularly to Los Angeles to grow and reinforce my network.

 Sounds like fabulous plans! So, where can we sample your work?

You can hear samples of my work on my website:
I also wrote a 52 minutes score based on a French epic fantasy novel that you can listen to and download for free here: (see above also for full link).

That's a great score! What a wonderful job you're doing! Thank you so much for granting us this interview. Before we let you go, is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?

It’s a famous quote but I like it: Don’t dream your life, live your dreams.

You got it! Thank you once again, and live your dreams! We wish you success always!

To learn more about Sebastien Pan and his work, follow him on social media:
twitter: website:      

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Book reviews: New Indie Authors to discover in short stories

Just finished reading a few short story anthologies from Indie authors which are worth mentioning. If you're looking for a new, fresh voice, choose one of these intriguing and witty books by one of the following authors. Be adventurous and pick a new book by an Indie author!

Short Stories:

Southern Gentleman, by Tony Burnett

Description: Set securely in the Southern psyche, the 13 stories blossom into quirky portraits of the male ego. These genre – bending tales find the sweet spot between literature and storytelling. A self-proclaimed foodie convinces himself he has women figured out, until he doesn't. Can a freshly orphaned teenager avoid becoming a ward of the state? A homeless veteran struggles for survival in his home country. Two folk artists use chainsaws to dual for the affections of a young runaway girl.
As an award winning poet, songwriter and finalist for the MIGHTY RIVER STORY AWARD, Burnett writes with a Southern populist voice.

Review: 5 stars: Well written and richly descriptive, each one of these short stories leaves you ready to dive into another to find out more about the interesting characters and plots that make this a witty, funny and enjoyable collection. From an illegal immigrant smuggling gone awry to an orphaned teen inheriting a fortune, this collection offers a variety of situations that are entertaining and fun to ready. Short stories lovers will delight in this master storyteller's book.

To buy, click on the link below:

A Stocking Stuffer (KSHM Project book 5), by Henry Martin and photography by award winning photographer Karl Strand

Description: This is our first-ever horror/crime issue, and it features five short stories. Karl took it
upon himself to work the magic with the camera for this issue, hiring models and setting up scenes. He created spectacularly disturbing images that speak to his artistic abilities. This particular issue deals with the uncomfortable, dark side of humanity. Prepare yourself to be disturbed.

Review: 5 stars: Excellent collection of short stories by Martin. The content is graphic, violent and not for the faint of heart. Very well written and I can place it in the same category as some of the best literary fiction short stories I've read, comparable to the likes of Joyce Carol Oates. The photography by award winner photographer Karl Strand complements the pieces almost as if they were taken after the stories were written. What can I say? Martin gets better and better every time I read his work. Highly recommended. 

To buy, click on the link below: