Terrence Malick is as much known for his unconventional process as his unconventional style. Whether handing out reading lists instead of scripts, improvising scenes, or changing the entire direction of a film on the cutting room floor, Malick’s approach is anything but ordinary. When it comes to music, Malick could be considered more conventional. His films feature a blend of classical and contemporary music with original scores. But the way he weaves music through his ideas, characters, movement, editing, and subtext, brings a completely new dimension to these films.
Watch any movie, and you’d agree that music carries an incredible amount of weight in storytelling. So often, you walk away from the experience not thinking twice about a score. But every so often, there’s a score that stands out. Not only has it created an essential background for the film, but it’s set the standard for other films within its genre. That’s what makes the films on this list so special. There’s magic when a great scene meets the perfect score. Magic that continues long past the release of a film.
In a film, music can either be a life raft or the tip of the iceberg: something that sits on the surface, staying afloat, or something that hints at a greater narrative depth. One is a missed opportunity and one is art, and for directors like Phil Wall, behind Hulu’s The Standard, he’s not using his sound as a way to bail out. He’s using it to crack the door to something underneath the surface.
It’s easy to think of an ad’s soundtrack as something that enhances the emotional moments or simply fills out the rest of the edit, and sometimes that’s true. But, there are also times when the script is flipped, when music becomes the starting point, not the finish line.
In her now 21-year career as a film director, Sophia Coppola—the daughter of Hollywood mogul Francis Ford Coppola—has staked her claim as one of the great visionary filmmakers of our time. Though often compared to the likes of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson, Coppola has carved out a distinct style of her own.
When you’re relaunching a brand as iconic as the Ford Bronco, there’s more than a little bit of pressure. It’s almost like remaking The Godfather. In other words, you better not screw it up or you’re going to have an army of angry fans at your door. Wieden+Kennedy’s team was facing this pressure head-on, and so much of their brand reveal hinged on the creative—specifically the director’s vision and the music.
Wes Anderson is a divisive director. Some moviegoers resonate with his idiosyncratic style, while others loathe it. But wherever you land on the spectrum, you can’t deny how masterfully he utilizes music. We take a deep dive into his uncanny ability for finding just the right song for just the right moment, whether that’s how he distinguishes between songs and scores or how he uses music as a way to interpret the stories he tells.
There’s a new group of creators that are currently being aﬀected by unexpected DMCA claims. Twitch music is now causing streamers to face claims for using unlicensed music. And many of them feel blindsided.
Finding music for your films is not easy. It’s a little bit like a treasure hunt, and not always the fun kind—it’s the kind that can really slow your edit if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal. We know because we’ve been there. You’re in the middle of a project and it’s time to start thinking about the soundtrack, then it all comes to a screeching halt.