MUSIC 220C Project

Jack Xiao

Scoring Heartrender


Heartrender is a student written, produced, and directed medieval period-action short film. Among the inspirations behind the film (especially in regards to the music) are RRR - a Bollywood action-drama released in 2022, and The Princess Bride - a Romance-Adventure from 1987

The film is lasts 12-13 minutes in total, and since the directors intend for the film to be score-heavy and for music to drive the plot, music will be playing for majority of the movie. The score will include mostly virtual instruments, with a few live-recorded tracks of solo instruments/voice.

A key aspect of this particular film scoring project is the rapid development timeline. Normally, when scoing a film, the majority of the scoring procss aside from sketching and finding sounds would not begin until picture lock (i.e. the timing of scenes/cuts/events are finalized). But, ss of the beginning of the quarter, shooting had not even begun for he film, and a rough cut would not even be available until the end of week 3. Even then, the picture would not be locked until the end of week 7. With the screening scheduled on Week 10, that would leave 2.5 weeks to fully score the film. In order to make the short timeframe more managable, I will tackle the sketching process in a much more concrete manner, and build out templates that would allow for the scoring of the entirety of the short film in less than 3 weeks. Also, rather tha receiving a full locked picture before beginning the scoring process, I would receive smaller portions of locked picture that I could begin scoring as they continued to edit the remainder of the film. Furthermore, most sound effects and visual effects would not be present in the locked picture, so much of the scoring would have to be done with the understanding that the overall sound/visuals of the film may change drastically in the final weeks.

I plan to also include several live-recorded tracks. While I have a lot of experience working with virtual instruments, I have little studio experience working with live instruments, and so this is an exciting opportunity to learn how the recording studio works and to explore how live tracks can be integrated with VST tracks (as well as making VSTs sound as natural as possible).


Inital Timeline


Tools Used


Weeks 1-3: Sketches

Week 4: Initial Spotting Notes on Rough Cut for first ~5 minutes of film (no timecodes since picture is not locked)

30 sec initial big shot
pull back when talking/closer cuts
magical noise when map comes in
begin tense music
hit when sword is pulled
also hit with title (a few seconds after sword is pulled)
ominous cue as they walk into forest (maybe a bit toned down)
on tilt down to amulet, elf queen-ish music, some indication that it is important
hit on partial sword draw
subtle tense music as they argue
first sword swing cut to silence and only sword noise
music cuts back in as they walk around each other
battle music as they fight (not to heavy)
music cuts out as they speak close
as he gets thrown, music comes back in
there will be a shot of sword breaking + heat, very dramatic music
pinned against tree, sad music
dramatic hit when realize amulet is gone
chase-like music when running with amulet
music slows slightly when she stops
another hit on cut to amulet
sudden shift to evil
fade out as camera pulls out to landscape


Week 5-6: First Act Score


Week 7-8: Second Act Score (Tavern)


Week 9: Third Act Score (Final Battle)


Week 10: Final Mix, Recording


Logic Screenshots

screenshot 1


screenshot 2


screenshot 3