Meet Composer Zain Effendi

I wanted to let you know about one of the many exciting developments that have been brewing over the past few months, and to officially welcome composer Zain Effendi to our small (but highly passionate) production team!

Zain contacted me back in August after viewing the Kickstarter project page, and sent me his website link to sample some of his compositions. His history of working with one of my favorite film composers ever, the hugely talented Hans Zimmer on such films as Pirates of The Caribbean 3, Transformers, and a little movie called The Dark Knight was staggeringly impressive; listening to his work impressed me even more.

The following month I had a chance to go to L.A. and meet with Zain and Brianne, his “Business Partner, Confidant, Best Friend or even Twin Flame” (this last designation he defined as: “two souls that derive from the same source, and continue to meet through past and future lifetimes”… a bit of a romantic to say the least!). I sat and watched the animatic with Zain and Brianne in their tastefully appointed, downtown studio along with my Co-Producer Cat Mihos, and was immediately encouraged to see their emotional reaction to this temp version of the film.

Brianne Gates, Zain Effendi, and myself; photo by: Cat Mihos

A short while later, Zain produced a “rough demo” based on his impressions of the animatic and on several conversations we had shared. It was of immense importance to me that whomever was tasked with creating an original soundtrack for The Price could make me fall in love with their music and set aside the seemingly unbreakable bond I had forged with my temp track (whose copyright remains firmly in the grasp of others).

For whatever reason, my filmic muse is tied directly to music. The first two elements I began with when creating the animatic were a recording of Neil’s narration and a repurposed soundtrack. All of the images and pacing and even other sounds developed and grew from that sonic foundation. And because of my particular creative process, the final music composed for The Price would be hyper-critical in maintaining the emotional impact that was already present.

It was hard not to cry when I first listened to Zain’s demo. He maintains that, although heart-felt and earnestly crafted, that piece of music was only the start of a much longer process to come of identifying  just the right musical themes and cues, and assembling and polishing and refining … but still, in those simple, elegant phrases, I recognized the same emotional language I was attempting to use. The ‘feel’ was absolutely right.

And for those who wish to hear a sample of this amazing music, you may have heard it already: I used it in the Castle Gaiman teaser trailer (which you can see towards the bottom of my last post, or if you prefer, on Vimeo or YouTube).

Another astonishing example of the way pieces have been seemingly finding their way together to help form this little film. I remain gratefully humbled, and wildly enthusiastic …

About Xtopher

Director of The Price, and Owner/Creative Director of Silver Fish Creative, LLC.
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15 Responses to Meet Composer Zain Effendi

  1. Joe K says:

    Will the music be available as a separate download, at least to us supporters? (“No” is a legitimate answer, but it’s worth asking.)

    • Xtopher says:

      That is definitively something I want to see happen, and will be discussing this issue with Zain to determine the particulars.

  2. Cat Mihos says:

    It was such a great day full of trading favorite music scores and talking about how much music can make or break a film. Zain is the real deal and we are lucky to have him. He worked on THE DARK KNIGHT?? i mean, Come on!!! pinch me, i is dreamin’…

  3. Katilou Curry says:

    YAY! So glad you found someone on the same wavelength for this project!

    I’m really glad I’m a supporter. :) Quality takes time, and I’m willing to wait for a quality product.

    • Xtopher says:

      Well said Katilou! Zain and I are most definitely sharing some wavelengths, and I am grateful for your patience & goodwill!

  4. James says:

    The music is great. When I saw the trailer (Castle Gaiman) it conveyed the feeling of the story so much like the original music you used that I thought it was the same. I can now tell the difference, and I think I like it better. Congrats on finding such great talent!

    • Xtopher says:

      I am so very glad to hear you say that, James! The creation of an original soundtrack that could truly replace the temp tracks I had been listening to for 5 years seemed almost an impossibility to me, but Zain is finding a way to make it happen! :)

  5. Andrea Z. says:

    The soundtrack was a major concern of mine when you were talking about the project because I felt like the music you had set the animatic to had such an impact on the story-telling. I was really worried that the new soundtrack wouldn’t be able to live up to it, but I love the little taste I got from watching the Castle Gaiman trailer. I’m anxious to hear more.

    • Xtopher says:

      You and me both, Andrea. That is one of the risks you take when using a temp track, but as a director, I needed to find music that helped me express the emotions I felt when I read The Price. Once I had that in place, it continued to grow itself into my heart and into the soul of this project. I feared that when it came time to change the score out for something new, it would be like tearing-out the foundation from beneath everything I’d created. So yeah, I was a little trepidatious myself … but no longer! :)

  6. Ed White says:

    I’m listening to the music on Zain’s website now, and after having heard that in addition to the Castle Gaiman music, I am thoroughly enthused. I’m a great fan of movie music (Requiem for a Tower is one of my favorite pieces), and can completely relate to the power of music over film and video. I’m always distracted when music does not jive with video, and can’t edit video without a song and feel in mind. I feel that you made an excellent choice with Zain, and I’m glad he found you and expressed his interest in the project.

    I actually went to iTunes, Amazon, AND the news Google Music Store to look for any albums he may have out there, and was disappointed to come away empty-handed. I sincerely hope you guys can work something out and get a “The Price OST” out to the public! Not just to further support your work, but also, selfishly, so I can have some Effendi on my iPod! I wonder if he could even do a little featurette about making the OST for the Blu Ray / DVD 😉

    Seriously, though, Chris…I marvel at your ability to dig up all this quality and bring it to bear in service of this story. I really hope that after all this is done, we get to see more projects with the working group you’ve brought together!

    • Xtopher says:

      Hey Ed — always great to hear from you, kind sir! And while I appreciate the compliment, I think it is the story itself that has drawn all of these wonderfully talented people together; if anything, I may have the ability to recognize their sheer awesomeness and gladly welcome them into the fold, you know? :)

      I’m sure we will work out some kind of album for those who are interested — in fact I need to hop on a call with Zain in about 2 minutes! (I’ll be sure & mention that you searched for his stuff … ) :)

      • Ed White says:

        Yes, please do! Hopefully it’ll encourage Zain to release an album private consumers can buy! 😀

        And I can agree with you there. The wonderful story is drawing the talent, for sure, though I’ve known plenty of people to waste that. Glad you aren’t 😉

  7. Pace says:

    Zain’s a beast.

    Hope this project kills.

    • Xtopher says:

      A beast, huh? :) All I know is he is a great guy & a marvelously talented composer, so I’m very excited to have him on board! (And btw, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Zain!!!)

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