I'm a Producer and Film Composer
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Interview with Tony Divine
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I recently completed a time-lapse piece for Ferrari Intl. I was contacted after they'd spent a lot of time looking for a "prepackaged" piece of music for a time-lapse video showing one of their F1 cars. I agreed to write something from scratch and was given creative control. The piece worked out great and I also did some sound design to match. In exchange i was obviously paid, but I also received a paid trip to see a race with VIP treatment.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on another indie film. I also actively write for several boutique sound libraries.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: I'm new here. I do anticipate being very active in the community so this will no doubt change very soon.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital! While I love the analog feel and warmth, it has been so well recreated by digital interfaces, there's no need to amass the storage space needed to keep a bunch of old analog gear. It's,mainly a space issue for me.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I'll keep working until you're satisfied and happy with the result.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I'm an avid music fan, so just being able to wake up every morning and write music is a dream come true.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Who have you done work for in the past? "See my resume" Are you flexible on your price? "Yes I am, within reason."
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: It's easy and so it should be cheap. neither of which are true.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What are you trying to convey with the film, video, commercial. Do you have examples of songs you think fit well with your project? What are your specific time constraints? How accessible will you be during this process?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Be honest and very upfront about your vision. Be willing to tell an artist early on that you do or don't like the direction the music is heading. Don't be afraid to say "Hey, can we start over?"
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Yamaha Grand Piano An iMac Logic Pro X Kontakt String Library Wireless router - lol
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been playing piano and writing music for over 20 years. I worked as a professional in banking most of my adult life and chose to leave that industry 4 years ago when music began to pay enough that I felt it was time to fulfill my real dreams.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Minimalist. Music made for what the client is trying to accomplish without drowning out the message.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Pharrell Williams. I say that because while I always admired his rap and R&B music, he has really transformed into a film composer yet brings an urban and exciting feel to his scores. Best of both worlds.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Go all in! Don't be afraid to try all your different ideas. I like to try (record) many takes using different instruments and melodies. Once I get a feel for where the track is going, I will then start to strip out what I don't think I need. Better to have too much music than the reverse any day of the week.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Commercial advertising music, Orchestral, Hybrid Orchestral, and Soundtrack
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Writing music.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I'd like to think I bring creativity and an ability to covey the clients message through correct instrumentation and application of various instruments. Particularly piano and string sections.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I typically work with sketches. I will tap out melodies and chords on the piano and share those with the client to get a feel for if we're on the same page with respect to direction. After that's done, I go back in and begin tracking it out, one track at a time until I've built what I think is a complete song. Then I go back and start removing what I see as excess. I have a tendency to over do a track with what I think are good ideas, then I go back and thin it out to simplify the track and make it sexy! After that I spend my time completing the mix. This is where I get levels correct, apply compression to individual instruments, add effects, etc. Once the mix is done to my satisfaction I go back to the client. That's their time to really judge the track. Something is too loud, something is too quiet, etcetera. Once we have an agreement I go into the final mastering session. Sometimes this is quick and easy. I use Izotope Ozone 6 (and sometimes 5) along with a few other plugins to achieve polish and professional levels and sound.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: My studio is purely music based. It's setup for music production without vocals. So I have no sound booth. Because I don't sing, and I don't run a typical studio that rents time, I use a commercial rented space. I produce music in Logox Pro X. Samples are served up via the over 250 different Kontakt libraries I own. Monitoring is handled by a pair of Yamaha Hs8's including the optional sub-woofer and all this runs on a Mac Pro 3.7ghz with 64gig RAM.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Hans Zimmer, Pharell Willams, John Williams, and several more
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I'm focused primarily on two areas. The first is scoring film. I've worked mainly on indie films as I grow my audience, reputation, and resume. The 2nd is writing music for corporate advertising. This indludes training videos, commercials, and other marketing based media.