Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thank You, Hans...

I owe a thank you to Hans Zimmer. If you don't think you know him, you probably do - his music has underscored many movies you've seen including his Oscar Winning score for The Lion King. I could list his many credits, but you can simply Google him if you care. I have to thank him, because it is one track from one CD from one film in particular that allowed me to finish the second draft of my latest play, The Bathing of Christopher End.

My use of his score for The Thin Red Line is not new. There are a few film scores that have played on an endless loop as I draft and re-draft. This is one of them, along with Philip Glass's score for The Hours and Elliot Goldenthal's music for Alien 3. Certain music unlocks my creative center and helps me stay "in the zone."

But it was a few days ago, while digging through the second half of my play, when my ears perked up and I actually listened to the music again. Track 3. Titled: "Journey to the Line". It's a little over nine minutes long. I sat back in my chair and took in this music as if I'd never heard it has two sections. The first is a repetitive building motif that eventually explodes with sorrow and passion as the french horns fully take over the melody and wail with unapologetic agony. The second part - a release of tension - goes to high strings and minimal orchestration to invoke a sensation of absolute surrender and "lift". It is almost a meditation on what has just transpired...a cool wind blowing over a sweaty brow.

This nine minutes of Hans Zimmer's genius made me highlight the final forty pages of my play and delete them. Zap. Gone. For I finally understood Christopher. And I actually wept a little. Not at the loss of forty pages - that's really not a big deal - I'm a writer, there's always more... It was about this understanding of a character I so wanted to know better...and now I felt I did. Prior to this musical intervention, I had seen Christopher as complex...layers upon layers of history and wounds...but really, he is quite simple. And in this simplicity, I found the end of my play.

Now, is it any good? Who the hell knows? I can say that I enjoyed being inside the world of this play more that I have anything since I wrote Rubber 'n' Glue in 2004. And I can say that it is very me....whatever that means!

When I wrote End of Play as this second draft was complete, I made myself a cocktail, walked over to my stereo, and turned up "Journey to the Line" at full blast - I floated inside the music as I sipped my Vodka concoction - and I thanked Hans Zimmer.


Jeremy said...

Need to get that one. I love the score to The Hours and, you should know, Aliens 3. They're up there with The Mission (Ennio Morricone) and The Last Temptation of Christ/Passion(Peter Gabriel). The last thing to turn my head was actually Zimmer and Howards score to The Dark Knight.

Patrick Wohlmut said...

And a gorgeous play it is. And scary. And it tears at your guts. And you can't quite believe it as you read it, but you read on.

Really nice work, Matt. Can't wait to read it out loud tomorrow.

MattyZ said...

Oh my gosh, Patrick. What a nice comment to see as I barely slept a wink last night due to tonight's reading (why must I get SO nervous?)...

I am thrilled to have you read the role of Christopher tonihgt. And as you are one of my favorite writers, I'm touched that you enjoyed the draft.

Hugs and squeezes - MZ