Scoring Markham – All killer – no filler

This morning I’m due to sit down and watch the latest cut of my feature film debut as a director Markham.

Markham is a zero budget horror film, which was shot in Staithes in North Yorkshire, and a few other locations up and down the Yorkshire coast.

One thing I can firmly say about Markham is that it pretty atmospheric. Partly thanks to the moody locations and stark black and white photography. But, the music has added an extra dimension too.

I commissioned the score from LA based composer Mariella Nelson Renaud, and gave her free reign to come back with a horror soundtrack which would befit the movie.  She did an amazing job.

Music makes such a big difference in film, and especially in horror cinema. The score can make or break a movie. Watching Markham with all the cues in place makes such a difference to the experience.

Working with composers is one thing directors rarely consider. Directors happily work with writers, actors and technical crew – we speak the same language, but how do you work with a composer, musician or someone from a discipline that’s different from film, and who might not speak the same language? With Mariella, I gave pretty specific examples of scores that I like, and that I considered a ‘type’ that would work with Markham.

Mariella took these examples, ran with them and added her own unique style and personality.

The score feels like a cross between Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s work on Kubrick’s  ‘The Shining’, Carpenter and the late great Ennio Morricone’s work on ‘The Thing’ and Giorgio Moroder’s music for Paul Shrader’s Cat People (1982) – a personal favourite amongst all these great works. These are great scores to be compared to by Mariella’s work really warrants the comparison.

When I heard the score the first time I was over the moon.  If anything comes from Markham at all, it should be that Mariella Nelson Renaud’s work should be recognised.  She’s a really talented film composer with a great work ethic and ability to interpret what’s on screen in music; she was also a pleasure to work with.

As well as being a freelance film director for hire, Matthew has also enjoyed a long career as a script writer for hire he’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer.

You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb You can find out more about Matthew’s work as a director here.

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