NORMAN: Crafting The Score [Video]




Joel Guelzo: Hey guys, I’m here with Daniel Ciurlizza, the composer to Norman. I got to take a really fun trip to go see him. He lives in California and this trip is all about - I really wanted to be able to just kinda interview him about working on the project. Not only was his music just really incredible - the samples that he sent me to be able to work on the project - but he was just a really cool just to get to under- you know, to get to know. And he understood... what I was trying to do with the film. You know, just like, just even with musical taste he had a lot of similar musical taste… and I was just like “alright, this guy understands me,” and I just felt like I wanna - I wanna take a chance with this guy. And it - you know - the music has just blown me away and I can’t wait to be able to share more with you guys. So this video is just gonna include that, just show this is where he works, this is how he makes the magic of music happen essentially. And I wanted to show that it’s, it’s people like… anyone, you know? Just being creative, working hard, and using the most ridiculous things to sometimes make really cool music, you know? It’s - it’s not the most expensive equipment all the time. It’s just like “what do you have laying around?” and creating stuff. And I really wanted to be able to capture every essence of the film. From everyone that’s helped writing, to editing, to graphics, to props, to catering, to everything. And so this is just one of the other elements that adds so much to the movie and makes Norman’s story comes to life. So, hope you guys enjoy.


Daniel Ciurlizza: The first time we see Norman he turns the record on - the record play, and there’s this like, montage. And we were imagining something classical... or something like that. Because Norman is such a... old school dude. And so - I remember this vividly, actually - that old record player in my studio, I’d just gotten it and I’d just bought like, my very first batch of records, and it was Beethoven. I can show you right now.


D.Ciurlizza: I got this - these Beethoven symphonies for like… for four dollars - I got them for four dollars. And I remember listening to - I really wanna… I really wanna know which one I was listening to. So I sat in my studio, I put this record on, I put my headphones on, and I kinda just - and it was like you know, early in the morning. It was like… it was like… six in the morning, five in the morning or something. Nah, couldn’t have been five - I don’t wake up that early. And I played this record. Yeah. So this is what I listened to. And like, you can just imagine Norman doing things - his daily thing, you know? And i thought it was perfect. I mean you can just imagine Norman going through his day-to-day. And like here’s this guy that like… I think he - I think he know’s he’s like - he likes doing things like this way, like with this mood… especially when he’s excited.


D.Ciurlizza: I like to put myself in the characters, and like try to figure out if... how I would feel in certain scenes, right? So, I will like literally write dialogue for him - like inner dialogue, so that I can try to put that into music. So I’ll even like write quotes like… okay, I’ll read some of it, but it’s not like… it’s not like eloquently put as like I would write a script or anything [laughing]. So I… [laughing] the first thing is “this place sucks”, okay? [laughing]. And “I just wanna go home,” just you know, like random thoughts. So “this place sucks… I just wanna go home… I want my old life back… my parents don’t even even exist in this time” [laughing], you know? And then I, I write, “but Jenny… I don’t know. I - I have to leave before I change my mind.”


D.Ciurlizza: I don’t really write music down on sheet music too often. It’s more - I use it more as like a sketch. Or you know, for musicians to play, but… See, I was classically trained, essentially. You know, I took counterpoint. I took like, music theory and all that stuff. When they trained me in that way, they - we only studied classical music. So when I feel like I need to write classical music, or like, classical stylings. I’ll, like, resort to paper because it’s just like the only way I can… I can really understand… the way the melody is gonna go. And so like on here I have a happy theme, a sad theme - and of course, “happy” and “sad” are kinda general, so… I - they’re happy and sad themes but they’re like, deeper than that. They’re like more… they’re more like Norman emotions, but that’s just the way I named them.


D.Ciurlizza: We really wanted cello for this, but we had no budget, okay? We - we had a cellist... Marc Miranda, who helped us figure out what... how cello would work with the things we made. And we hopped on Skype - he lives in LA, I live in San Francisco - and he kinda just played cello like, on Skype, and I was just like “can you, can you just make it sound like this and that?” And so he helped us figure out how to do it. And so he helped with, you know, concept development. But since we don’t have the budget for like, major cello work… we just made do.


D.Ciurlizza: So you hear that part? And that’s - that’s essentially… that’s just me on the violin like… [plays violin].


D.Ciurlizza: So, [sigh]... I really wanted… I really thought a cello could play this. [plays piano]. But it’s impossible. At least for… at least I think. I thought, “okay, what’s a cool, like, modern thing people like to do?” Okay, so like EDM or like pop music - they’ll cut up, like, vocals, right? And so… instead of cutting up vocals for this - because vocals doesn’t really fit for Norman - I cut up Marc’s cello, and it turned into… into this like, weird, cut-up sounding - and hopefully it sounds good and not like, “oh he just, like, cut up that cello and it just sounds weird.” Like, it just sounds like… and this is what it turned into. And like, you know, nobody can play this because it’s like, way too fast, and way too weird.


D.Ciurlizza: Yeah so this piano... was at my parent’s house for a long time and I’ve been wanting to get it in here. Especially for Norman. And I used it for some theme development. But for the most part we - we didn’t use it for recording. And we booked a studio in San Diego and one of my best friends, Chris Chan, to play.


Christopher Chan: So, about a couple months ago, I got an email from Daniel, who’s my old elementary school friend, who’s the composer for this film. And I… he asked me to play piano - he knew I worked at this studio here and, you know, we had resources, we had talent, so we wanted to put them together to help out with this film. And so he sent over the music, I looked over it, and that’s what we’re here today to do, is record a couple songs for - for the film.


Ben Hasdovic: Do you want like a two bar count-in or one bar?

C. Chan: Two bars please.

B. Hasdovic: So I’ll give you a few measures and then just mute it.

C. Chan: Yeah.

B. Hasdovic: Okay.

C Chan: For this one, yeah.

B. Hasdovic: Okay cool. That works. Do you wanna just - do you wanna do a pass?

C. Chan: Sure, let’s give it a shot.


B. Hasdovic: What we’re doing here today is recording Chris Chan on piano. And very simple setup for today. We just had a couple mics close to inside of the actual piano, in a micing technique called Blumlein, and one room mic for kind of to, to add depth to the actual piano. Chris is a super talented actual piano player so it actually went very very easy and very smooth today. And if I have the preference, you always try to record talented people - because they make you seem that much better at your job.


C. Chan: It was - it was great hearing from Daniel. I think we had always thought that, you know, that this could happen. Him being a composer, me being a pianist. And everything just kinda lined up for this project, which is great. Hopefully it’s a good starting point to… for us to corab- collaborate more. I’m happy to play his music. I hear it but I never really get to… to play it. And now that I can bring it to life with, you know, in a great studio with a nice instrument - it’s very exciting for both me, and I’m sure Daniel too.