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Seattle native's new documentary: 'The score is the heartbeat of a film'

KOMO file photo

LOS ANGELES -- “Bond. James Bond.”

This phrase is known the world over, spoken by the fictional British secret agent created by Ian Fleming. But it’s the music that adds the drama, suspense and sensuality to the character in movies.

The music in a film can you give you goosebumps, create emotion, even change perception more than anything you see on screen.

"There's a famous story where in ‘Apocalypse Now’ the music that they used actually made the water seem more blue when they tested it with audiences,” said Matt Schrader, the director of a new documentary about movie music.

Schrader, a native of Seattle, dreamed up this idea of digging into the how and why of musical scores for movies. He said he recruited some friends and over the course of more than two years, they interviewed more than 60 Hollywood composers, producers, directors and other greats to produce "SCORE: A Film Music Documentary."

"We can make you feel anything we want you to feel," said Quincy Jones.

The score, they say, is the heartbeat of the film.

Yet the young filmmakers learned it may not start beating until late into production. "There's a part in the film where they talk about driving down Sunset Boulevard, halfway done with a movie, and the posters says it's coming out in a couple weeks and they're like what?” said Kenny Holmes, one of Schrader’s fellow photojournalists who joined him on the project.

With no way to push that deadline, Holmes and Schrader said they write the music and rush to record it.

"The interesting thing is that most orchestra musicians never see the music until they walk in that day to record it and a lot of times it's the first take,” said Schrader.

Schrader said that really speaks to the talent of the composers and the musicians working in film today.

“I think that really speaks to the talent of each one of those people especially that are working in what you see in Los Angeles and in London where most of the films are being recorded,” said Schrader.

This film, coming from men with daily news backgrounds, moves differently, Holmes said, than a traditional documentary.

“We've actually had people mention to us that our film, you know documentary film fans, that they felt like the pacing of this documentary felt different than a normal documentary. You know in news we're so focused on keeping the story moving and making sure people don't get bored in the minute and a half that they're watching a news story, so we kind of kept that flow in the piece. And it flows a lot quicker than the average documentary,” said Holmes.

The film is playing one week at a time in cities including Seattle (at the Grand Illusion in the U District) and can be pre-ordered now on iTunes. Schrader said they’re also working on additional releases for fall.

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