I have been working for the past few months on a new film project – “Mobile Moments”, directed by British filmmaker Joanne Ball. This is a study in minimalism if ever there was one. The female protagonist is the only person we see on camera. The style is confessional, similar to an online diary that you might come across while trawling YouTube. The difference here is that I am scoring the ‘drama’. While most online journal entries seem to amount to a rambling diatribe with, let’s face it – very low production values, this piece has been composed very meticulously, while at the same time retaining that ‘raw’ quality, shot entirely on an iPhone.
When Joanne approached me with this project, I have to say that I was stumped for a while as to how to deal with it. On the one hand, there was much scope for emotional underpinnings, given the subject matter (frustration, loneliness, desperation), on the other there was very much the temptation to leave the narrative well alone, given how naked and real it is. My first attempt grew from a relatively simple piano base to a thick, fleshed out thing that ended up drowning the character in a sea of melodrama.
So I started again. No more piano or cello, no more ‘indie-esque’ melodic lines. A few days ago, I decided to strip away the instrumentation down to some very spare lines, using instruments like music box (replete with mechanical/metallic transients) and give the film much more space. I think it’s working better now, and incidentally, so does the director (which is, after all, the most important thing) but the main takeaway in this exercise is that it is indeed possible to throw it all away and start again. Often it’s the only thing to do, and the work is the better for it.