Lovestruck

Film Score

Lovestruck (5 excerpts) 8 minutes, SD video stereo mix © Miami Movies / RB Films / Level Four Films 2006

Background

Lovestruck - Wrestling's No. 1 Fan is a 50 minute television documentary developed by writer/director Megan Spencer. The documentary follows Sue - a devoted fan of wrestling since the 60s. The film takes us through many aspects of her possessions, passions, domestic environment, family issues, dealings with friends, plus her trip to the USA to catch up with her heroes of the mat.

Lovestruck premiered at the 53rd Melbourne International Film Festival in 2006.

Credits

2006

Composed, arranged, engineered, produced & mixed by Philip Brophy
Bass - Bill McDonald
Guitars - Dan Luscombe
Pedal steel - Garret Costigan
Vocals - Sianna Lee
Drums - Philip Brophy

Overview

With its focus on the central figure of Sue, the idea for Lovestruck developed around the idea of 'listening' to her. Megan's documentary performs in this way - more listening to what Sue has to say than simply observing her or even documenting her. Boasting the rough and ready boisterous enthusiasm all wrestling fans have for their favourite sport, Sue's manner is uncompromised both by social mores and any framing of Megan's filmmaking. This suggested that the score should similarly pay full attention to Sue and what she has to say.

Translating this concept to music was difficult at first, until the idea came to voice the score in one of Sue's favourite musical genres - country rock. Following this through, 6 themes were developed - each evoking and responding to various emotional aspects of Sue. Ultimately, all 6 themes are totally 'with' Sue: they attribute to her maximal grandeur, respect, drama and support. This was decided due to the pre-judgment that many viewers would be likely to make of Sue - a mature woman still rabidly obsessed with such a disregarded sport like wrestling. With everything stacked against her, the music is totally in her corner of the ring.

The resulting country-rock tinged score thus ignores any cliches of ironic commentary, smarmy 'winking-to-the-audience' or droll/dry/witty asides which mock wrestling and its fan-base. As Megan's documentary is completely devoid of these modes of 'weirdo-spotting', the score accords with her directorial focus.

Technical

Lovestruck consists of 6 themes based around a bass, drums and guitar trio (Bill, Philip & Dan). After initial composing of the tracks, rehearsals with the trio were scheduled over two days. A test recording was done of the trio set-up live, to de terming microphone placement so as to focus on a breathing spatial sound (in stereo) in the room with the trio. A mix of omnis and cardioids were configured so as to capture as much of the spatial diffusion as of the direct sound of the instruments. No baffling or separation was employed.

Overdubs were then done on a separate day with Dan on 4 tracks, using the same room-tone set-up, then on another day Garret came in to do pedal-steel overdubs on 2 of the tracks. His overdubbing was done in single live takes. Sianna then came on the final day to multi-track 4-part harmonies on 1 of the tracks. Again, her performance for each part was done in complete live takes so as to retain the original dynamic shaping of the trio's tracks.

The tracks were then mixed with no fader riding or movement: all levels were completely controlled by the trio's live playing in the studio. This was the key experiment undertaken in this score - to shape dynamics completely through integrated performer dynamics. This is something central to the work of Jack Nitzsche who pioneered this technique of allowing the studio set-up of rock musicians to become a fundamental of the film compositional process.

The 6 themes/tracks were then handed over to Megan who solely decided on the placement of the tracks in readying for the final mix. The floating development of the themes, plus the light and airy spatialization of the recording were designed to allow voice/speech/dialogue to float over the top while the instrumentation rolls along underneath.