What I Do For Work, Pt. 2: Heroic Journey Of The Chocolate Obsessed Squirrel

This was the project where i really bloomed as a sound designer, compiling and using sound effects. Obviously i do all the music, too, but i learned more on this project about sound effects than anything else.

The point of these longer commercials is that they actually break down into smaller the 30 second spots that you see on TV. So while this one tells the full story in it’s minute long version, it usually air as just the first half or just the second half. The score of course adjusts to each smaller permutation.

While a commercial campaign technically exists to please the client, and ultimately the director’s job is to balance his vision of the piece with pleasing the client, my job as composer (and sound designer) isn’t really to please the client. It’s to please the director. I will never meet with or interact with the client. In a commercial gig, the director is god, and when he is happy, i am happy. When you make your own songs on your own albums, you can be the god do whatever you want. In a commercial gig, you exist to make the director’s vision happen as they envision it, just like in a film. Being sent back multiple times at the beginning of the process to get the “sound” of the score right is perfectly normal and should be expected. Once a sound of the score is decided upon it’s usually pretty obvious what to do from there, although there will be a few more rounds of notes. (More build here, more subtle here, lose this instrument here, etc)

The thing is, it’s enormously fun work, especially because you can be asked to do music beds in style you wouldn’t normally try. I love that part. This particular video is not an example of that, but i’m just saying. This score was good fun to make, simple and straight forward enough, and like i said, i progressed enormously as a sound effects designer on this one.

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Posted by on August 28, 2016 in Uncategorized


The Test. Short film with music and sfx by paul shapera

I’ve had to take a break from working on the Weird West Cabaret, due to a couple actual paying jobs all coming in at the same time. What are actual paying jobs for me like, you didn’t actually ask? Well, they’re like this example.

I work with a few media houses who email me every now and then with a job creating music and sound effects for whatever project they’re working on. Sometimes it’s a commercial or similar type of campaign, sometimes it’s some promotional video for something or other. Like this short film commissioned by the European Zweifel Chips.

Obviously i do all the music you hear, but i also do all the sfx, meaning, anything that isn’t the voices is being added by me. Footsteps? Yup. Every individual step is added in, every click, even the sound of the air in the room, which you don’t even notice you hear, but i assure you, is there in some cases and is added in by your friendly professional sound designer.

I’ve done a lot of work with this particualr director, Mike Huber, and he, more than anyone has taught and helped make me a better sound designer. He used to do sfx design and it’s advice from him that changed my way of thinking. See, as a musician, sound effects has always been something to be added in and around the music. the music is the central piece of audio, the sfx stuff added in around it to fill out the environment. It was on a project previous to this, a chocolate commercial featuring a squirrel, where he suggested i create an entire bed of sfx without music that would sound as complete and real world as possible, down to the sound of the air in the different spaces. This was an epiphany, creating to complete audio beds, one of music, one of purely sfx. My power with the sound design force grew three sizes that day.

So this is the next project we did and i always really liked it, so i’m going to share it. The current project (this is not the current one) is for FIFA and involves a big band score. But that’s for much later. In the meantime:

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Posted by on August 26, 2016 in Uncategorized


You Need A Book To Read? THIS: Rewired by Matthew Broyles


You might have heard me mention this before, but that was back when i just wanted to read it, before i became addicted to it and it ruined two entire days for me because i couldn’t put it down and lost sleep and i have to go back to it tonight and i need to friggin sleep but i CANT STOP READING THE DAMN BOOK so you should get addicted to it too because what’s the point of taking crack all by yourself and isn’t that why you read books, to get sucked into them like they’re mind/soul vampires, cause if it is, holy rocky mountain oysters (that means cow balls) have i got a piece of book crack for you, and it’s called Rewired by Matthew Broyles.

It’s available right here on Amazon.

What, you want it for your ipad? Right here then.

You gotta Nook? Whodafukhasanook? Okay, you do. Well, here it is

I honestly can’t put the damned thing down. I’m kinda pissed about it too, because i really have lost sleep i so preciously need. No joke, i need some frigging sleep. but my bedtime blows by and i just… can’t… stop reading gawdammit.

It’s a sci-fi political action thriller. It’s got plenty to like, future history, mysterious monsters, some good characters, REALLY well written, but it’s shining glory is its pacing. Holy crud, it is paced on a world class level. Starts in a good first gear, laying down the pieces at a nicely done pace. Heads into second and third gear and cruises along nicely, and then just when you start to wonder if there’s a 4th gear coming, it SLIIIIDES in, and holy scrotum donut holes, from there you are screwed because the damn thing doesn’t let you put it down.

I honestly love this book and i can’t believe i know the damn bastard who wrote it because who knew he could write this freaking well? I mean, i knew he could string a thought process together, but set up a reading crack trap like this? I did not see that coming.

You like to read right? You don’t? Getthefuckouttahere. All right, rest of you, you like to read, right? Well read this. Whatya got to lose? IT’S 3 FREAKIN DOLLARS. You spend more than that on coffee. You want to see the birth of an author? WITNESS!


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Posted by on August 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


Happy Birthday Ray Bradbury! (Now please f*** me)


You rock Mr. Bradbury. So do you, Rachel Bloom.

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Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


12 Year Old Czech Girl Veronika Kusalová Storyboard Animates Annabel Raises The Dead

In 20 years when your kids or grandkids are watching whatever the next generation’s Steven Universe is going to be, you know who’s going to be the showrunner behind that future show of greatness? This girl right here. Animator Veronika Kusalová.

She has storyboarded Annabel Raises The Dead using her own handmade artwork. And it’s awesome. And this is how the great animators of tomorrow are born. Seriously. I am honored that someone of Miss Kusalova’s drive and ability has chosen my piece to be one of her early inspirations. I don’t know who Rebecca Sugar’s early inspirations were, but i bet they’d be thrilled to know it was they the artist in her early period was cutting her chops with.

I love this.

Without further ado…


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Posted by on August 20, 2016 in Uncategorized


Minor key, EDM version of The Little Mermaid’s Kiss The Girl IS THE GREATEST SONG EVER MADE (although a little… restraining order stalkery)

But seriously, this is the best thing ever.

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Posted by on August 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


65daysofstatic Silent Running

You’d think since i was doing a weird west cabaret i’d be listening to lots of old timey music and such (and to be fair i played the Hell On Wheels soundtrack non stop on my car for a week) but lately i’m in a really synthy mood. The soundtrack to Stranger Things (it’s so awesome),  SVIIB’s School Of Seven Bells, Blond Redhead’s 23 and most of all, 65daysofstatic, in particular their Silent Running soundtrack.

65daysofstatic are a band from Sheffield who get classified as post-rock, a genre i lluuuuUUUURv, so i had checked them out based on that classification. However they are not really post rock as such. They are… an evolution into  post rock, post math rock, electronica and glitch.  Anyway i adore them. They’re first album The Fall Of Math is a great place to start. However, that album is not why we’re here today. I want to talk about the one that’s playing in my car stereo every other day: their soundtrack to Silent Running.

Silent Running is a 1972 sci fi film about a space ship containing the last remnants of plant life from Earth and the botonist who fights to keep it safe. I saw it years ago when from the ages of 19 to 22 i worked at a video store. It’s a… boring movie. Nice retro early 70s sci fi look. It was directed by Douglas Trumbull, who had previously worked as a special effects supervisor on  2001: A Space Odyssey and The Andromeda Strain. It’s kind of dull though.

Well, in 2011 the Galsgow Film Festival commissioned 65daysofstatic to rescore the movie and perform it live to a screening of the old sci fi classic. They did and afterwards ran an Indiegogo campaign to fund a studio recording.

It is this recording that is currently my album darling of the moment. Here is a track from the actual album which you can check out more of here, followed by  some samples of the actual live rescoring (although audio quality is not nearly as fine as the album. I would love to watch a DVD of the album/movie



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Posted by on August 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


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