Bethany Brinton is a college student pursing a double major in Commercial Music and Motion Pictures at Belmont University. She plays french horn, trumpet, and piano. She will be composing the score for The Tomorrow Saga and is working as a production assistant for The Good Book.
When did you first decide you wanted to make movies?
It was actually after I saw the film Ratatouille in theaters. I was 13 years old when I saw it, and it had a huge impact on me. I had never seen a movie that amazing before. I researched the studio, writers, animators: everything I possibly could about the film. Then I found out about the composer, bought the music, and listened to it nonstop. The score to Ratatouille, by Michael Giacchino, is part of what inspired me to pursue a career in film composition.
Tell us about your musical background and training.
I have been playing piano since I was 4 years old. I am well versed in classical and jazz music, which definitely helps in my composing ventures. I started French horn in 5th grade as a part of the school band, and have been playing ever since. I was also a part of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra playing French horn and piano in both the symphonic orchestra and the jazz programs they offer. Last summer the orchestra toured Vienna and Prague, and placed 2nd in the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival. It was an amazing experience, I feel very blessed to have played in some of the greatest concert halls in the world with a world class orchestra! I’m currently a member of the Belmont University orchestra and wind ensemble, and I was blessed to be able to play in the pit for the country’s first university performance of Les Misérables at Belmont. I have also been self taught on trumpet for about 5 years. I have played trumpet in a few musicals and play performances since, and I love it just as much as my other instruments!
Tell us about your unique degree combination.
I started out last semester at Belmont as a commercial music major with an emphasis in composition and arranging. I had planned to look into the entertainment industry studies major in the music business school, but I wasn’t sure it was for me. Then I heard about a new film major that was being developed by the former Vanderbilt film professor who was hired by Belmont; Will Akers. I spoke with him a few times about the programs, classes, and connections he had to offer, and decided that was definitely something I needed to do. I’m currently double majoring in commercial music and motion pictures, with the hope of going into film composition. However, I love all aspects of filmmaking, and I’d love to be involved any way that I can!
What classes will you be taking this fall?
This fall I will primarily be taking music courses like theory, aural skills, and improvisation. I have two film classes I’m looking forward to: cinematic storytelling, and the history of film, part one. I will also be in the orchestra and wind ensemble, and I might join a jazz group playing piano. I will be taking private lessons on French horn, piano (classical and commercial styles), and composition. I’m going to be very busy!
Describe your process for composing a score.
I haven’t had what you would call the “typical” film composer experience. With a typical film, the composer is brought in last, and screens the film with the director and producers, making notes about where music should be added. I scored a silent short film recently. In working on a silent film, music should be present throughout almost all of the film. I worked on this project by viewing the film start to finish a few times, and making notes of what the emotional feel of each scene should be overall. There were a few moments I had clear, synchronized stingers matched to what was happening on-screen, but for the most part I let the film tell its story while the music complemented it. I’m working on an upcoming film series which hasn’t been shot yet, but I was presented with the scripts and given an overall direction of the films. I composed a small theme for the project and was brought on board.
What film projects have you been involved in?
I directed the video for a short jingle by Mike Rodgers (https://www.facebook.com/mikerodgersmusic) to be entered into a nationwide contest. I also directed one of my friend’s history projects, which was a film that had to be set to medieval church chant music. She received an A+, which I was very happy about! I have scored a silent short film, entitled One Way Down, directed by Jason Dean. I am also the composer for the film series The Tomorrow Saga (https://www.facebook.com/TheTomorrowSaga), which will be directed by Gunter H. Sanderson. It’s set to be a three part series about the apocalypse, and how Christ factors into the end of the world. It’s a very interesting story that I’m excited to be a part of.
What is your ultimate career goal?
My ultimate career goal would be to score a feature film. I love composers like John Powell, Michael Giacchino, Alan Silvestri, Alan Menken, the list goes on and on. I would also love to work on a Disney film and orchestrate some of the songs. To me, working in music and movies would be a dream come true.
If God’s plan isn’t for me to score films, I would love to work in any other area of film I can! Screenplays, set work, editing, mixing; all of these things sound like a lot of fun to me. I’m very happy about the brand new motion pictures major that I get to be a part of, and I am excited to see where God leads me!