Rick Holets – Film Composer

Rick Holets is a film composer from Albuquerque, New Mexico.  His experience includes 12 years of classical piano instruction, self directed studies in improvisation and music theory, and even some time spent playing guitar and mandolin in the Desert Skies folk band.

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Tell us about your musical background?

I grew up in a family where musical education was a given. My mother always made sure that we had lots of classical music to listen to — Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel. Studying piano and music theory, I played pieces from composers like Schubert, Chopin, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky, so we had a lot of young exposure to classical music. 

In my college years, I learned to play guitar, mandolin, and some other assorted instruments. I even ended up playing in a folk/bluegrass band for awhile. The only instrument I’ve never been able to enjoy playing is the violin. My hands are too big!

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When did you first discover that you had a gift for composition?

As I progressed in my study of classical piano, it became apparent that I was not a very good student! Instead of practicing my assignments, I would prefer to spend hours on the piano doodling, or trying to play songs I’d heard on the radio.

I began to study improvisation and found that arranging or writing my own pieces was much more enjoyable to me than learning other people’s music. Playing music in our church from chord sheets gave me lots of opportunity to improve these skills even more. Doing this helped me realize I was growing into an ability to create and structure music that could be unique and beautiful.

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What was your first paid musical gig?

I think it was playing the piano at a wedding. Now that is a high pressure gig! Especially when you sight read as badly as I do.

How did you get involved doing film?

Writing music for movies was something I was interested in from my teens. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I had the time and resources to cobble together some studio gear and try my hand at it.

The first few projects I scored were actually some little shorts shot by friends, family, or myself. It was a great way to break my teeth on the art of writing music for movies. I learned quickly that “writing music” and “writing music for film” are very different skills!

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What films have you scored?

I’ve been blessed to be involved with a number of projects, but some highlights are the Christian Sci-Fi Remember, award-winning drama Slow Fade, quietus (short), and several Jostie Flicks shorts.

What is the greatest challenge with creating a film score?

A well crafted score can propel a film to amazing levels of immersion and empathy for its viewers. But, by the same token, music that is poorly executed can make a mess of things!

It is a great burden to take someone’s film – the cumulation of their love, money, sweat, tears, and dreams – and know that they are trusting me to bring music to the table which could help make or break the story!

As a film composer, the job description isn’t just “make music that sounds good”. Every single cue in a score must be carefully crafted to support the moods, dialogue, actions, and images of its scene.

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What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Without a doubt that highlight is exploring new territory in the world of scoring films! I am looking forward to helping tell more great stories with all sorts of filmmakers and musicians.

What upcoming projects do you have in the works?

I am just beginning work on the score for A Love That Hurts, the debut feature from Framed By Grace Films. I am really excited about the message this movie will bring about love and faithfulness in marriage. This year we will also be starting work on the score to a silent Christian film called The Good Book.

In between other projects, I am working on an epic film music CD. It will be an album of entirely new music featuring a hybrid electronic/traditional orchestra, and my hope is that it will be a blast to listen to! So many people out there have yet to discover the amazing world of movie music, and I want to help them find it through this album.

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