Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Music to my Ears

Funny story; the postman hates me. In his first shift back at work following his Easter break, the poor guy had to deliver eleven (yep, eleven) DVD parcels to my house. Seems I've gone a little trigger happy buying products from play.com - even if those products happen to be some of my favourate shows, including "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Until today, when I spent much of the daytime rewatching clips from the show, I'd forgotten just how fantastic a show "Buffy" was (well, still is, if - like me - you're reading the season eight comics). It captures the sense of doom and gloom and bleak optimism of adolesence perfectly, with sprinklings of dark humour and genius writing (thank you, Joss).

One of my all time favourate episodes was season's five brave grief-stricken "The Body", which dealt with the aftermath of the death of Buffy's mother, Joyce. When I first watched it six/seven years ago, I recognised its genius, but didn't know exactly why. Now, with adult reflection, I do. It's not only down to Joss Whedon's brilliant writing/directing, but the power of the actor's performances, too.

Then there's the fact that the episode is entirely music-free, because Whedon felt that the use of music helps to comfort the audience, and soften the more emotional parts of proceedings. So here, during the most emotional of emotional set-ups, we've no security blanket. Things are as they are - and the emotions we feel are devised almost entirely by what we're seeing on screen.

Which brings me to my own series, "Frank's Apocalypse".

Though the opening episode's script isn't yet completed, I'm forward thinking enough to realise that when it is, we'll avalche our way into production - so I've already started to consider certain elements of production: who will be part of the cast/crew, what locations we'll use, the theme music... ah... the theme music.

Up to this point I've always assumed that the web-series should have a short, snappy theme - one that somehow sums up what the series stands for, and the direction/tone it'll take. I've spent weeks listening to tracks - trying to come up with something that fits. "Paint it Black"? Queen? "All Along the Watchtower"? David Bowie? So much choice, and yet, so little possibility.

Today it hit me; why have music at all when, like "Buffy" before it, it's what's happening on screen that should provoke our audience to react and identify with what they're seeing? And I think that's the solution - no theme music. Frank Mayde has a brother, and he's gone, and it's left such a massive hole in Frank's heart.

He's still in mourning, for what he's lost. He doesn't wake up every day and sing in the shower, or whistle as he works. He can't. The music has gone from his life, and leaves behind a bitter sense of real life and harsh reality. And until he gets over his heartbreak and loss, the music can never return again.

And I can see that now, all thanks to "Buffy".

Thanks for the memories.
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