BACKSTAGE - INTERVIEW - FREDERIK WIEDMANN
The World's Finest sat down with composer Frederik Wiedmann, who will be providing the music for Green Lantern: The Animated Series, to discuss his stint on the upcoming cartoon. The animated series recently aired a special one-hour preview in November 2011, but will join Cartoon Network's schedule full-time beginning in early 2012. Continue below for more from Wiedmann!
WF: To start things off – care to fill us in on your background? What were some of your previous works?
FW: I started as a composer assistant to composer John Frizzell, and after 3 years of working for him I started on my own and have been blessed with many great projects since. I have done a lot of movies in many genres and styles, such as the horror films Return to House on Haunted Hill, The Hills Run Red, Mirrors 2, Hostel: Part III, and comedies such as Robert Lee King's Bad Actress, a film called Boy Toy and some very exciting dramas such as Ecstasy, Avarice and many more. Since July 2011 I have been working on Green Lantern" The Animated Series for Warner Brothers Animation, and it has been an amazing experience.
WF: How did you come about working on Green Lantern: The Animated Series?
FW: I was lucky enough to get a chance to send in a demo for this series. They sent out a few clips with very specific directions for each scene, and then made the decision based on what they heard from the submitting composers. I chose a very large-scale sound, orchestral in nature that gets rather epic at times, and I think they responded to that well.
WF: Are you on the series for the long-haul, or at least the first 26 ordered episodes?
FW: Yes - we are looking at 26 Episodes for now.
WF: Opening credits are becoming shorter and shorter for shows, most running 30 seconds. Did you find it difficult to create a roughly 20-second opening theme for Green Lantern: The Animated Series? How did you approach both the short running time and the ideas you wanted to get across in that short amount of time?
FW: That is a great question. There are a lot of challenges with a short period of time like 20 seconds to express what's needed. Especially since a "Main Theme" should be thematic in nature, and in 20 seconds there is only so much you can do. The theme has to start right away - there is not time for an intro of any sort. My plan was to create a layout that lets me have a theme (kind of like an A section) a short B section and then repeat the theme in a larger orchestration, to really make it memorable, and we actually managed to get that to happen in 20 seconds. The nature of the theme itself had to be heroic in nature, but not sound like cliche "Hero Music".
WF: What were your influences when creating the score to Green Lantern: The Animated Series? Expand as much as possible.
FW: When I work on a show like Green Lantern, I don't really think about one specific composer. I really focus first on what the scene needs to be as powerful and emotional as it can be. But I am a big fan of John Powell's animation scores, which I find absolutely amazing. I also grew up listening to James Newton Howard a lot, as well as Jerry Goldsmith, and I am sure they all have influenced me in a subconscious way. I am also a big Christophe Beck fan, who is more known for his work on comedies like The Hangover, RED, etc. I love what he did on his big orchestral projects like Elektra, Percy Jackson, The Sentinel and so forth, and I am sure he has influenced my style a fair amount as well.
Animation music changes emotions rather quickly, and to me the animation scores by James Newton Howard (such as Atlantis, Treasure Planet) work great on transitioning from one thing to the other in a very smooth way - without ever sounding like a Mickey Mouse score. That is a very difficult thing to do, especially when you are switching gears every 10-20 seconds, so his music for those type of movies are definitely very inspiring to me.
WF: Did you listen to the scores for previous Green Lantern projects, such as the live-action movies or two previous animated features? Would you ever consider using themes from those projects on this series?
FW: I have seen Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (the animated feature) as well as the Ryan Reynolds version. I think our series really is its own thing, it has its own story as well as unique characteristics of the protagonists. So I think we will, over the course of the first season, establish our own unique thematic material for the characters in the show.
WF: Now, some of your earlier projects are quite different than Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Does working on such varied projects help or hinder a composer. Why?
FW: It definitely does not hinder me in any way. I am learning so much on each project, and each one of them presents creative challenges that I am always excited to conquer. I am very lucky to have worked on so many different projects so far, there is not one genre that I don't enjoy working on. They are all very special projects to me.
WF: You’ve scored some movies in your career. What is the major difference between scoring for movies and scoring for television? Is it safe to assume one is more time-consuming than the other?
FW: A movie tends to be a 6-8 week process and then you are done. This time period can get very intense, especially towards the end of the process when things are being finalized. On a series things have to move a little more quickly, since a much larger volume of product is produced in a much shorter amount of time. When I say that, it sounds more difficult to deal with that, but you also get into a good groove with the team very quickly, which really helps to make the process as smooth as possible. So the routine really helps to keep things moving at a healthy pace.
WF: Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Is there a type of movie or show you’re hoping to be able to score at some point down the road. Why?
FW: So far I have done Action, Horrors, Drama and Comedy. I love them all. I would love to score some sort of big saga at some point, some great story - like The Lord of the Rings or something like that. I would love to do something on such a large and epic scale.
WF: Lastly, to wrap things up, can you describe your work on Green Lantern: The Animated Series? Are there any upcoming episodes that you’d like to particularly point out that showcase your work?
FW: I am afraid I am not supposed to talk about future episodes much at this point. But I can say we have a ton of amazing episodes coming up that we are all every excited about.