Last time, Film School Friday taught loyal readers how to get the perfect beach body. Unfortunately, every time I’ve ventured to the coast since, all I’ve seen is a sea of fat wobbling around in search of the nearest ice cream stall. Why the unfortunately shaped refuse to wear clothes in the summer time is beyond me. Clearly, not enough people could get their hands on Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum and pack on the muscle. Ah well. My bad.
Seeing all that jelly on the beach stressed me out and reminded me that I myself am not the stringiest of beans, so it’s time we relaxed a little with today’s advice. Grab your earphones, lie back and chill as we read on for today’s lesson.
Lesson #33 – How To Make The Perfect Soundtrack
Soundtracks are challenging to construct for even the most ardent music lovers. The trick is to somehow choose songs that suit the tone of the film while simultaneously appealing to the masses. Musicals are arguably the hardest to pull off successfully as they live or die by the songs they choose.
Grab an 80’s Star
Take Disney for example. After the studio reignited their popularity following a run of groundbreaking movies, the company reached their peak with The Lion King, which became one of the highest grossing animations of all time. A huge part of the movies appeal was its soundtrack, which was co-written by none other than the irritating but undeniably talented Elton John. Circle of Life, Hakuna Matata, Can You Feel The Love Tonight…that’s the soundtrack of my childhood right there!
Unfortunately for Disney, the bubble burst soon after and as each animation drew in smaller audiences, the House of Mouse resorted to hiring the irritating and … not talented Phil Collins to helm the soundtrack for Tarzan. I would suggest taking the same route, but with our connections and financial backing, we’d be lucky to get Selena Gomez on board, let alone someone as famous as Phil Collins.
What if we appeal to a singer’s vanity though? Musicians are notoriously self-obsessed creatures, so if we produce a film that revolves solely around one singer, maybe we could get someone more famous on board. Whitney Houston found huge success – and probably a boat load of crack – with The Bodyguard and Prince’s soundtrack to Purple Rain was one of the definitive albums of the 1980’s. Movie ‘biopics’ of this type continued to be hugely popular into the 2000’s as critics rallied around modern classics of cinema such as Mariah Carey’s Glitter and Britney Spears’s Crossroads, not to mention Raise Your Voice starring Hilary Duff…
Oh wait. I got so carried away jamming to Loverboy that I forgot Glitter and these other travesties are some of the worst films ever made… Isn’t it funny when all the characters in the movie have an orgasm every time the star sings a song, like they have the best voice the world has ever seen?
Change of plans. Let’s get inventive for our soundtracks and find someone who can both sing AND act in the movie. A novel approach, I know.
Traditional theatrical adaptations such as The Producers and Phantom of the Opera have great soundtracks, but tend to have a very specific fan base i.e. gay theater lovers, and we need to appeal to an even wider audience if we want to make more money with our music. This is why jukebox musicals are the way to go.
Spice World and Mamma Mia both made shed loads of money and no one cared that they were just terrible, terrible films. No, really. You can write any old crap about some sluts daughter trying to find out who her father is as long as you throw some Abba songs into the mix. You can even force Pierce Brosnan to destroy people’s happiness with just the power of his voice alone. A jukebox musical like this may not technically create the perfect soundtrack, but it will make you rich and what’s more perfect than that?
Alternatively, if you want to do something stupid like retain your artistic integrity, you could just randomly pick records from charity/thrift shops and hope you can somehow make them sound effortlessly cool, Tarantino style. Unfortunately, the fact that you are reading my article instead of bathing in your sauna surrounded by a million hotties instantly makes me doubt your cool credentials, so you’re probably better off sticking to the jukebox musical approach. You can’t write one based on One Direction though… THEY’RE MINE!
Thanks for reading guys and remember to come back in two weeks for another insightful and potentially poignant lesson from the world of films.