• Armin van Buuren/Frozen Music Video
  • Mattel/Hot Wheels Commercials
  • Numerical Sound IR Demo
  • The Race
  • Music Sketch – Charge of the Lawmen
  • Music Sketch – Star Trek Theme
  • Iron Man-ia
  • The Capitol Records Building
  • Star Wars iPhone Case Design
  • Cover Designs – Danica McKellar’s “Math Doesn’t Suck” Series
  • Superman Returns – The Shield
  • CG R2-D2: Behind-the-Scenes
  • CG R2-D2
  • Music Sketch – Wonder Woman
  • Music Sketch – So 80’s


There is a world of interesting instruments, tonalities, colors, and harmonies out there which we can use in our work. Rather than just dropping a duduk on top of some strings, lets explore deeper the techniques and effectiveness of truly integrating these gems within our Western framework. When it’s done right, it’s both exotic and familiar, and extremely effective! $30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – ETHNIC and WORLD

Everything You Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask. During the year, I get asked a lot of fantastic questions which nonetheless aren’t quite worthy of an entire class on their own. They’re one-offs about things like: developing ideas, modulating, runs and flourishes, writing for small groups, negotiating with a difficult director, notation, deliverables… a huge cross-section of topics. I’ve kept them in a special folder all year. Well for this class, we’re going to bring them all out, line them up and knock them down – a potpourri salad bar grab bag of useful, with a lot of gems and surprises. Don’t miss it! $30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – NEEDFUL THINGS

In honor of Halloween, this class is about creepy, atonal, disturbing horror effects. Clusters, stabs, effects, and all manner of aleatoric badness. So often, we trigger pre-built effects from a library. Let’s learn what they are, how we can customize them, and how to actually notate this stuff! $30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – THE HORROR

James Horner’s music had a profound impact on me as a young composer; on a lot of us, I suspect. For all the shots taken at him during his career, he was a master dramatist, thematic composer, and craftsman, and he will be sorely missed. Join me for this in-depth look at his techniques – famous and infamous – as we relish what he’s left us, and how to incorporate some of that into our work so he is sure to live on. $30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – ON HORNER

The interwoven melodic lines of great counterpoint add depth and dimension to our pieces, and vastly expand our opportunities to create tension, drama, and excitement in our work. But learning to control it can be tricky – when do you use it? How much; how little? When does it in enhance; when does it compete? What is the impact on orchestration and tone? So many questions. You’ll find the answers here as we begin the exploration of this, my personally favorite part of writing music. Don’t miss it! $30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – COUNTERPOINT 1

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If there’s one thing all the greats have in common, it’s a mastery of the power, color, and drama afforded by great rhythm and masterful use of percussion instruments. Sitting in the percussion section for many years gave me some pretty strong feelings about rhythm, and the use of the multitude of colors back there, and I picked up a lot of great tricks which I now use every day in my writing. In these “epic” times, it’s not always clear what to use, when to use them, and how – beyond a wash of thundering bangs. So in this class, we’ll talk about incorporating strong rhythmic devices into each section, and how to enhance and complement them both subtly and forcefully with the most dynamic section in the room.
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – RHYTHM and PERCUSSION

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By popular demand – Crafting and developing killer themes. We’ll do some genre-specific and emotionally-based theme creation, and then explore ways to modulate, develop, dress up, recycle, and repackage those ideas a ton of ways. Essential skills for any of us – this is the key to connecting with our audiences. Don’t miss it!
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Online Masterclass – THE THEMINATOR

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This one’s all about moods. Heroic, wistful, ominous, elated, vengeful, bitter, liberated, mysterious – learning how to conjure a specific emotion for our audiences is a key skill. I’ll be covering some of the essential tricks for establishing a mood and discussing how to get from one to another quickly and efficiently. I lean on this skillset every day with every cue. Don’t miss this one!
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

I’ve watched most of Mike’s classes and have gotten a lot out of all of them. This particular one is a gold mine, I think it would be a valuable resource for any composer.

Thank you Mike, for presenting the fundamentals of creating mood in such an easy to absorb (and always entertaining) manner. I have a short film I need to write for, and now I have the confidence to make it happen.

Online Masterclass – COMPOSITION 2

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Let’s face it: a lot of us are writing on virtual instruments for virtual instruments, and while following the traditional rules of orchestration and composition is a fantastic approach, not everything translates; not everything works. In this class, I’ll show you how I handle this unusual beast – what I avoid trying to do virtually, how I approximate certain otherwise-impossible effects. We’ll talk about ways to layer and supplement parts, how to manage a template, combine different sample libraries, and more!
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

The class was great, very insightful, super helpful, man, I can’t recommend these enough! The amount of true “hands-on” knowledge that is immediately applicable is enormous and on top of that these classes are such a huge motivational boost to keep learning, improving, growing.

Online Masterclass – VIRTUOSITY

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I think we should be able to do passable “impressions” of our composing contemporaries. Doing so reveals our understanding (or lack thereof) of the colors and styles we’re surrounded by – which naturally influence our own work! This oft-requested class explores the “essence” of the sounds from composers like James Horner, Alan Silvestri, Thomas Newman, Jerry Goldsmith and others. What makes them sound the way they do? Through harmonic, orchestrational, and structural examples, we reveal their secret recipes and approaches. Lots of “Ah-Ha!” moments guaranteed.
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Once again, awesome class!

Online Masterclass – IMPRESSIONS

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Writing music is one thing; writing music to picture is another. In this class I’ll be talking about strategies for thematic development within film structure, handling cue entrances/exits and transitions, techniques for orchestration in and around dialog/sound effects, working with temp tracks, and more. Plus I’ll give you some of speed-writing scoring tips for getting scenes cued and mapped out under the gun, as we look at before-and-after examples from several real-world projects.
$30. Click on the title graphic above to purchase.

 

Fantastic class, Mike! It was very interesting and full of great information. The hours flew by.

…what an incredible class this was, i’ve attended 5 classes now (including the free one’s), and Score 1 was something I Needed exactly yesterday! It completely helped me rework/improve on my existing work for an indie film I am working on.

Online Masterclass – SCORING 1

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Here’s where I come down:

I don’t care how “ex” you are, if you spent more than a decade with someone, shared a life with them, married them, have an amazing child with them, and are fortunate enough to be amicably separated, their well-being just can’t ever be completely beyond your concern. How can they ever be totally out of your heart? I dunno; maybe it’s just me. All I know is that from the moment Danica called to tell me she was going to be on Dancing with the Stars I was excited for her, proud of her, and knew she was going to approach it with the same tenacity and integrity she does everything else. Well you can add “grace” and “courage” to that list as well, because she’s dancing through a broken rib right now, and few people will ever know just how brutal that is for her. But I do. I’m hoping she gets the gold more than ever now; it’ll go with her heart. Go get ’em, D.

Danica Dancing

I’m directing a series of product commercials for Mattel this year… first up: Hot Wheels.  This was a fun shoot in an idyllic neighborhood, where I was going to eventually have to digitally insert some Hot Wheels artwork on the side of the white panel truck we used in the plate.  For other parts of the commercial, I had to create an entirely digital Hot Wheels car and the iconic track for an animation, seen below:

 

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The camera was going to be right up on the CG car and track, which required me to give them an extremely high-level of detail and finesse to make sure they looked photoreal in HD.  Comparatively speaking, the steadicam live plate of the beautiful Kim Nielsen as the mother, and my rockstar kid actor, Xander Taylor, were a cinch to capture.  Brought my little boy on set, too, of course.  By the end, he was calling action…

Mattel/Hot Wheels Commercials

Numerical Sound IR Demo

This piece, Crimson Lake, was written as a demo to showcase The Hollywood Sound Timbral Impulse Collection: LASS Edition from Numerical Sound. It uses LA Scoring Strings v2.0 samples, with a touch of harp. For more on these great impulses, click the link above.