My specialty is creating opening or closing themes for TV, Radio Shows, or Film. I create themes from full orchestral scores, to high energy rock anthems. Everything you see has a tune or mood to let you know and feel what is going on even of your eyes were closed. All genres from around the world.
As a former recording engineer, artist, and actor in Los Angeles, I now spend my time with my greatest love...creating the music that emotes and describes anything you can put on the screen, or talk about on the radio.
Go to my website at www.surrealtoreal.com and listen to my latest CD "Themes For Screens" to get a good idea. I create all the music in my own studio that I built in Augusta. This is where I made the album, and can do the same for you.
I also do specialty work like, mixing, mastering, arranging, composing, restoration, and collaboration with songwriters.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
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Interview with Don Gilmore
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I compose themes for shows or movies in the production phase. They give me a synopsis or video treatment, input from the writer and director (or not) and I take it from there.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: John Barry, Jerry and Joe Goldsmith, Michael Giachino, Justin Hayward, John Adorney, rock from the 60's.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Audio - Studio One Pro V. 4.x currently, Presonus AudioBox, iLoud,Alesis,and Fisher reference monitors, Novation and Alesis Keyboards, G&L-Gibson-Yamaha Guitars, Carvin Bass Guitar, vast orchestral and VST instrument library.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: 1.You contact me with description and scope of project. 2.We have a formal agreement indicating process, price and share arrangement if any. 3. We transfer files back and forth digitally through internet or FTP, or private transfer. 4. As a former client you a 10% referral reward for any verified clients you send my way and book a project.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Polished, professional, radio ready production with attention to detail and craftsmanship.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Making the music visual and emotive.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: TV and Movie themes. I also enjoy working and composing with artists and songwriters in the Indie Rock, Folk, World, and Country genre.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Leave space for the magic to work between the notes. Put in only what is needed, leave out everything you don't.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Justin Hayward for his songs and voice, Barbara Brocolli to write a James Bond movie Theme, producer(s) Brad Wright Robert C. Cooper Joseph Mallozzi Paul Mullie Martin Gero Carl Binder JJ Abrams for their Movies.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Old school detail and musical mood, but emcompassing anything from around the world to make it come alive and be remembered as an icon for your creation.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My classical music training began as a child in Pasadena, California. There I played first chair clarinet and oboe in my school orchestras and the Pasadena All City Honor Orchestra. As a young adult I played guitar and bass guitar in several rock bands of the era popular in the local and Hollywood music scene on the Sunset Strip. Hanging up my guitar for while I graduated from The University of Sound Arts in Hollywood and became a recording engineer working in some of the well known “Hit Makers” in town. I went back to my hometown college in Pasadena and studied music theory some more and piano. Additionally I worked to receive necessary certifications and training to become an audio/video/satellite communications engineer where I enjoyed a long career in engineering, operations, production, and management all the way up to C-level. After my kids grew to adulthood I got bored. Again I went back to school, studied, and became an actor doing TV, Film, and Commercials for several years, but gave it all up to return permanently to my first love…music. My frustration peaked when I realized that there was new music anymore that I could listen to on the radio, or anywhere else that didn’t leave me realizing that the record and music industry had finally hit rock bottom! The only new music I truly enjoyed was in movies and on TV. Especially themes like that for Stargate: Atlantis, by Joel Goldsmith (son of the legendary Jerry Goldsmith), or some artists on streaming radio that you never hear on the AM/FM corporate, mind-numbing, shlock party ! Combining my classical roots, rock performing years, and engineering expertise with my love of writing music, it was time to become a producer helping other artists, and become one myself to write the themes I feel need to be produced for movies and shows yet to be. I want to work with Television and Cinematic Music Directors. My new album “Themes For Screens” is for you. Reading that “Enter The Dragon” was going to be remade, I composed “Return Of The Dragon” for your consideration. Also that the “Highlander” series of movies was getting a reboot, I produced “The Highlands of Home” featuring the high celtic tones of songstress Belinda Burum. Getting wind of the changes coming to James Bond I wrote “The Last Double-O” featuring the sultry, and enticing storytelling voice of Ashley Warner. I left California for Georgia where I work full time in my own studio towards these endeavors. I would love to hear from you, and how we can create a win-win project together. The “surreal” idea in your mind begs to be shared in our “real” world. Let it arrive through the vortex of your open mind.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: A satellite phone, solar generator, bag of seeds, toolbox, water purifier.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Ask if they will provide a small sample of what they can do for you at low or no cost.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want to achieve? What examples to you want it to remind you of? What are you best at, worst at? Your timetable? Your budget? How do you define complete satisfaction in my results?
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: It takes a big budget, big city, expensive studio, and union players to get state of the art results.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q.How old are you A. 66 Q.Why did you leave Los Angeles A. Taxes Q.Why did you turn your back on being a famous act back when A.My family meant more.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I was born for this. It feeds my soul. I get great satisfaction from delighted clients and partner.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I have over years of expertise and skill that will give you top results without the cost of those living in the past.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: As an engineer that came up through recordings studios and 2" tape, and then pioneering into the digital age, to now, I know what is true and what is hype. I once had large expensive consoles and a room crowded with racks of analog equipment. Everyone has an opinion. But through education and lots of experience I am know and have been for several years strictly digital. Better quality, saves money and time. Yet I can make it sound analog if you want. That's the beauty of digital. I could give you a littany of engineering specs. to back this up, but my final judge is my ears and nervous system.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not yet. But I will.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: An album for The Gene Conner Band, and a follow up to "Screens for Themes", and old covers to put up on SoundCloud because it's fun when I have time.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: A few years ago I read about the plans for Bond 25 in the trades. Instead of waiting to get through to the producers for the theme I wrote on immediately based upon the article. That is "The Last Double-O" on screens for themes. They used someone Daniel Craig recommended before I could get their attention. I also read a remake of "Enter The Dragon" is being done. So I wrote "Return of the Dragon" on the same album. Any tips on getting the director's attention would be appreciated. In the same vein I heard "Highlander" is getting a reboot. So also on "Themes for Screens" you will find "The "Highlands of Home". Contact info for those people appreciated.