Complete your vision with the right music for a student film!
-Music for a Student Film-
The right soundtrack adds professional polish
People go to art school to create art, of course. And that means provoking a reaction in the consumer. Film students in particular are notorious for seeking big reactions. Of course, their course projects are meant to show their skill in the technical aspects of film production. But the process of making a superior film is hardly a technical matter alone. A great film is not only skilfullly shot, but also an artistic whole. That is to say, everything about it must work together for the creation of a single work of art. From the camera angle to the final editing choices, it’s an exercise in fulfilling a vision. And that includes choosing the perfect music for a student film.
Music guides the mood
Music for a student film isn’t worth its salt unless it tests the audience as much as the story and the visuals do. Certainly the music should vibe with the film’s story and visuals. But sometimes matching the vibe means picking something unexpected. If the story itself is surprising, then “mismatched” music can be deployed strategically to indicate the shift from comfort to discomfort in the audience. You can do this by choosing a style feels opposite from the visual, such as the use of classical music in an industrial landscape. Or you could deliberately choose music with unconventional instruments or beats, for instance.
An excellent example of a film using music in unexpected ways is Next Stop Wonderland. Set in Boston, the soundtrack is surprisingly full of Brazilian music. Although it’s tropical in origin, the music conveys a supreme laid-back coolness. But there’s an undercurrent of simmering passion. Not only does this match the story beautifully, but also it matches Boston. Any outsider there will tell you it’s a cold place on the surface, and not just in respect to the winter weather. But just beneath its icy crust, it’s a city that full of effusive welcome as well as artistic obsession. It’s not a student film, but it’s a great model for how to think about music for a student film.
Rules should be broken
But it’s unlikely that your student film is a feature length job. Even so, you are still likely to need a few options for music for a student film. Music’s role after all is to guide the audience’s mood. So unless the pace and mood of the film is very even, you’re going to want a few short tracks to edit in. Even a very, very short film will probably have at least three distinct soundscapes. Firstly intro music to introduce the action. Secondly, music or some other sound choice to distinguish the action sequence, even if that’s just a lack of music. Lastly, the credit roll or outro music, which might be the same as the intro music.
But what music? For a student film, chuck the rulebook. Gritty, urbane stories, for example, usually get either the hip-hop treatment or heavy metal. But students shouldn’t ever be afraid to play with tropes. It can, for instance, have comic effect, as with the genius the printer smashing sequence in Office Space. Three nerdy office dudes take out their frustration on an office printer to the very aggressive and NSFW “Still” by the Geto Boys. The scene is filmed like a music video, and it nestles in the middle of an otherwise conventionally made film. The visuals don’t quite match the music, but that’s why it’s perfect. We could analyse this scene all day, but you get the idea.
Music for a Student Film to choose from:
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You’ve got your film idea, you’re in production, or maybe you’re already in post. Wherever you are in the process, it’s time to consider music for a student film. There are loads of stock music sites out there. And Yummy Sounds is one of the only ones with a composer at the helm personally choosing each and every track available on site. From classical to house, we’ve got unique, top-quality soundtracking stock. So have a look around. If you need help finding just the right sound, drop us a line. We’d love to help! And we may even be able to share your finished project on our Facebook page. Nothing like a little free publicity at the start of your career!
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