Ryan Taubert is not a name you’ll recognize, but he’s quickly making a name for himself in the advertising world, scoring music and producing tracks for commercials. A self-taught musician, Taubert has been playing the piano since age 9, when he taught himself to play by ear before taking formal lessons.
His career has taken him from Southeast Texas to Sydney, Australia and work with Hans Zimmer’s Bleeding Fingers Custom Music Shop before settling back in Los Angeles.
Most recently, Taubert scored the short film Anomaly, and SciFi4Me caught up with him to discuss his work on the project.
How did you get involved in this film?
The director, Salomon Ligthelm, and I had already been working together for a couple years on various projects. He approached me with the idea for the film while it was still only a 3 minute piece.
When the spaceship first takes over and the camera zooms in on the astronaut’s face there is only one piano key at that time. It is very simple but makes a dramatic statement. Why did you decide to do this? Less is more?
Yes, I think a lot of times there can be the tendency to go with the expected, however there can be a certain emotional chord struck when keeping minimal during chaotic scenes.
Backers pledged over $60,000 on Kickstarter to bring this project to life. Why do you think sci-fi fans wanted this project to be made so bad?
I really believe it has a lot to do with the talent involved. The presentation that was created was as impressive as the film itself. I think anytime you put together a talented team and create an amazing pitch from the cinematography, sound design, music, etc. it cannot go unnoticed.
During the space scenes did you score to green screen or were those scenes already complete?
I actually began working on the film before it was even shot. Salomon likes to edit to pre-existing music so that was our process we went with from the beginning. By the time I got the first cut with visual effects, it was then just finding a home for the existing cues.
It’s fair to say that your discography is very diverse among composers out there, with credits in many different mediums. Is variety something you thrive on in your line of work?
I do love to break out of my comfort zone. Composing for a variety of genres allows me to stretch my capacity in ways I couldn’t if I pigeon holed myself.
What is your favorite sci-fi film?
I think Interstellar is one of the best sci-fi films I’ve seen in a long time. I love it when films take you through an experience you’ve never felt before and really emphasize the human element of story.
Is there any composer in particular you look to as a role model or source of inspiration?
I have many sources of inspiration. Not just composers but artist as well.
For the geeks out there, talk me through your setup and things such as software, hardware, instruments etc.
I’m currently running a 2.7GHz 12-core Mac Pro as my main computer running Cubase, with a 3.0GHz 10-core PC slave to host samples. Combined total of ram is currently 128GB. My sample libraries are spread over about 5TB of solid state drives. A far as instruments and outboard gear, I have a few guitars lying around and some moog synths.
How much discussion was there regarding the emotions of each character in each scene, and how did that inform the score?
Most of the discussions were centered on the overall arch of the story and emotional connection. I think the themes that were built became the broad brushstroke for the whole film.
What determines the instrumentation for a particular scene?
Lots of experimentation and trail and error were needed. We wanted it to be really textural and ambient for most of the film.
Did you use actual strings or synthesizers? Was there a reason for the absence of brass instruments?
It’s a combination of live strings and sample strings. As far as brass goes, there are some cues that have very big brass usage such as “Bayt Lahm”.
Were you influenced at all by the scores for films made in the era in which Anomaly is set?
Not at all. I intentionally tried to pay no attention to the music of the era. My goal was to pull out a raw emotion.
How early in the production process were you brought on board, and how long did you have to complete the work?
I was brought in when it was only an idea and before any kind of pre-production. From the time I started till release of the film was about a year so I had plenty of time to experiment with ideas.
For more about Ryan’s work, you can visit his web site here.