Inaugural Film Music Guild Conference is Announced

Aug 6, 2009 2:33 PM


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logo of the Film Music Guild

Dave Martina and a volunteer staff of nine other students have collaborated to design the Film Music Guild Conference 2009—a one-day conference for student filmmakers and composers that will take place on October 3 at Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. The conference will offer opportunities to learn from current industry professionals and network with future filmmakers and composers, as well as practical tools for adapting to and succeeding in a field of perpetual forward motion and growth.

Currently confirmed speakers include Pete Docter (director, Up, Monsters Inc.), John Ottman (editor and composer, Valkyrie, Superman Returns, X-Men 2), Christopher Young (composer, Spiderman 3, The Grudge, Ghost Rider), Rob Simonsen (composer, Dollhouse TV show), Mike Watts (orchestrator for Passion of the Christ, Bruce Almighty), J.A.C. Redford (composer, One Night with the King; orchestrations for Wall•E), Allison Wright Clark (music supervisor, Pirates of the Caribbean I), Dan Savant (music contractor, Passion of the Christ, Sin City, Sideways) and Anne Cecere (BMI's associate director of Film & TV Relations). Martina and staff report that they are also in talks with Bear McCreary (composer, Battlestar Galactica) and film music historian Jon Burlingame, a contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Hollywood Reporter.

In 2007 Martina and his friend Jeff Swingle, both music composition students at Biola University, realized that there was a serious disconnect between filmmakers and composers. “We have a music school on one side of campus and literally across campus we have a film school, and they would never talk to each other,” Martina explains. “If I wanted to learn about how to write music for a film, I would have to go over to the film school and try to pick up projects.” While it taught Martina how to network, he was not creatively satisfied with the results and thought there must be a solution somewhere.

Martina and Swingle founded the Film Music Guild to bring together Biola University students from the film and composition departments to network, think about their respective arts in conversation with one another, and talk with professionals from the industry. The Guild's mission is to effectively equip students to face the challenges of Hollywood and also spark conversation on a deeper level about collective creativity and excellent visual storytelling.

The Guild has begun to attract students from film and music programs around Southern California. Past speakers include Brian Tyler (Eagle Eye, Children of Dune), J.A.C. Redford (One Night with the King, orchestrations on Wall•E), and Randy Haberkamp (director of educational projects for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).

The all-student staff of the FMG Conference 2009 believes that collective creativity is the key to telling a good story and making a good film, and that true collaboration between director and composer is an essential piece of the overall picture. The power of a group of excellent artists committed to true, collaborative art making is both immense and under-realized. “The beauty of film is that you have multiple languages being spoken to you at the same time—all of which you understand, many of which you don’t speak, but all of which you can resonate with,” Martina explains.

The Guild also recognizes that students today will be leaders in the industry tomorrow. “If we can get a whole generation of film students thinking about beauty and art and composing and why music is important, we can change the industry,” Martina says.

For more information about the Film Music Guild Conference 2009 , visit

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