Documentary director Rob Epstein explains the inspiration for his film THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK and how he combined found sound with composition to create his historically-significant film.

Key Insights

  • Each film has its own requirements for music; using a thematic approach which works holistically, connecting the sequences and dramatic beats of the story can be very effective. 
  • As a director, It can be challenging to communicate your vision for music. As a starting point with your composer, you can find temp music that communicates the emotion of the film to share with your team.
  • When sound design can enhance the narrative storytelling, consider using “key artifacts”, the real sound recordings (for example: police radio tapes) from existing documented material.  
  • For the last sequence of the film, it was important to convey a range of emotions through the score, which needed to emphasize the tragedy and transcendent feeling of hope at the end.

Rob Epstein has proudly been both a fellow and advisor at the Sundance Labs. Eight of his films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He is a director, writer, and producer who has been traversing the worlds of non-fiction and scripted narrative for four decades. more...

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