Matt Schrader: Film Music Documentary

I’m Matt Schrader (director) and I spent the last three years interviewing 60+ Hollywood film composers for SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY out today!


🎹🎸🎷 TRAILER (2:20):


SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY explores where composers get their inspiration and music’s power to give goosebumps.

Featuring Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Danny Elfman, James Cameron, Quincy Jones, Trent Reznor, Randy Newman and more than 60 Hollywood composers and filmmakers shot over the last three years.

Our SCORE team is here with me to answer your questions about film music’s modern renaissance! From the surging popularity of film composer to the explosion in live-to-picture film concerts and Hans Zimmer’s international tour!


Matt Schrader is a three-time Emmy Award-winning news producer and filmmaker and a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In 2014, he left his career in television journalism to pursue SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY, his first feature-length film.

FilmsAreQuiteAwesome: Congrats on the film! That is so awesome! Such a great subject!

What are your personal favorite movie scores?

JugheadBones: How do other composers feel about outliers like Hans Zimmer and Danny Elfman? If I remember correctly, both were amateur musicians who did not consider a career in composing. I read somewhere that Danny Elfman did not learn to read/write music until later in life, and Hans Zimmer composes using a piano roll and samples as opposed to writing it down.

Sherlock_House: What do you think is the most under appreciated score in film?

carolinemathildes: What inspired you to take on this project, and since making it, do you listen to movie soundtracks differently?

antrobus: Hey Matt. I was wondering if you could answer a few question of mine.

* I’ve noticed that sometimes, American feature films are scored by foreign composers (e.g: Ryuichi Sakamoto scored *The Revenant*). How does the collaboration process work? Is there a translator in the studio?

* Is there a composers guild in the film industry?

Thanks in advance.

kmanpilkoids: Are you aware if there will be any screenings internationally? I’m down in Melbourne, Australia and would prefer to see it at a cinema instead of VOD. Loved the trailer – can’t wait to see it!

poxy1984: Just how much collaboration is there between the director and the composer for the films music?

thothram: Great work man! Will check it out as soon as possible.

Who in your opinion is a Great up and coming music composer?

tfraking: What is your favorite action movie?

fish1197: Who was the most interesting composer that you talked to off camera?

Freddulz: Hi Matt (and SCORE team!), I’m a high school educator and I was thinking of showing your documentary for a Creative Writing class, as I’ve always encouraged my students to explore all kinds of ‘writing’ (e.g. music, code, script in addition to standard literature) to make them think about parallels in process and to think differently about writing.

How technical does your documentary get? Do you delve more into the theory side of the music or the creative process? Just trying to see how appropriate this would be for students who have limited background in music theory and composition.

bUrNtKoOlAiD: Looking forward to the film. I’m a big Cliff Martinez fan (Contagion, Solaris, Drive, etc.) and I don’t think he gets enough attention when people talk about great contemporary film composers. What’s your opinion of his work? And is he featured in your doc?

Hordon_Gayward: Hi Matt! I’m a film student and I find documentary production really fascinating– currently taking a documentary class right now. Couple of questions: What would you say the most important things to capture about an interviewee are, regardless of the subject? And how can I give a personal flare to my docs without detracting from the subject? Thanks for your time and for SCORE!

fpp2002: Who in your mind is the greatest living film composer today? For me, it’s John Williams without question.

captionquirk: Congrats! Films about films are a treasure of a genre. Did you consider doing any research into other film industries besides Hollywood? Could you share any insights to what makes American film scoring different? Particularly compared to Japan which has produced its own music scoring superstars.

2crowncar: When we were teenagers, my friends and I always loved film scores by Tangerine Dream. Are they part of your movie?

Either way, how did you pick the 60?

baxter300: I’ve been looking forward to this for a while now, can’t wait to watch it.

To what extent are scores hampered by genre conventions? The high-pitched stab in a horror film, the swelling strings in a romantic etc. And who do you feel manages to work in a way that subverts these expectations without it being too jarring to the tone of the film?

yuna-doll: Score looks amazing ! I really hope it’ll be shown here in The Netherlands.

At what point in the filmmaking process does the composer start writing the score ? At the very onset (with a script as reference material) or when footage has mostly been shot (to capitalize on being able to really tie together music and visuals) ?

dalefritter: Thank you for making one of my favorite movies I have seen this year! I plan on buying the blu-ray and the book of interviews.

Do you have any plans for future documentaries? (and is Brian Tyler as cool in real life as he seems in your documentary?)

howardtheduckdoe: I heard you on Adam Carolla’s podcast, I’m realy hyped for this documentary. Congratulations on all your hard work, I’m a huge fan of movie scores and I can’t wait to view your documentary. Sorry this isn’t really a question I just wanted to send good vibes your way.

mongo_man: No love for Ennio Morricone?

anatomized: Aw man, it doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon Prime UK 🙁

H_Donna_Gust: Where can i watch this?

gualdhar: Why not name it SCORE: A Film Soundtrack Film, and the inevitable soundtrack SCORE: A Film Sountrack Film Soundtrack?

CerebralCortexan: What was it like meeting John Williams?

ramusfl: Good work! I don’t think any movie would “survive” if you would take the soundtrack portion out. The background music is such a vivid part of any good movie that something the audience recognize the music first, then the scene associated with it.

What do you think?

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