What is your name and your current occupation?
Gregory Hinde, Music Composer www.GregoryHinde.com
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked for an industrial air-conditioner company cleaning ducts by climbing through them. Some of them were as long as 450 feet but only 2 feet high and 3 feet wide. I kept thinking what if I get stuck?!
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I started in the production side of animation and some of my favorite projects were Roger Rabbit and Little Mermaid at Disney Feature. I also worked as a checker on “Animaniacs” and “Pinky and the Brain” for WBTV before I started composing full time. My training is as a classical musician. Being a part of production really helped me understand the process of animation and the importance of telling a story with the music I write. I’m proud of the score and song work I did, along with Drew Neumann, on “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” at Cartoon Network and the final season of “The Wild Thornberrys”. Recently I’ve been composing for Bellpepper Animation and doing sound design for the “Bejeweled” game series.
How did you become interested in animation?
I loved watching the “The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour” with my dad and brother. I was amazed at Carl Stalling’s music.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Atlanta. I got into the business when I scored a short for animator Ken Boyer. Ken introduced me to Mike Wolf who was production manager working on “The Chipmunk Adventure”.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I like working early in the morning after a cup or four of coffee, then into the studio. I break for lunch then back in the studio till …? The advantage, and disadvantage, of having the studio at home is I can work any time of day or night.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my job is developing character themes and theme variations because it makes the music a part of the storytelling process. The theme music tells the audience so much about who a character is and even about the emotions that motivate him or her. When you first hear Darth Vadar’s theme you know what kind of character he is even before you know anything about him. Imagine his theme as a light, airy tune with strings. It would be difficult for the audience to accept Vadar as the evil antagonist to the Jedi way of life.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Looking at a scene that needs music and wondering “what do I do?” Usually I’ll put it aside, then about 3 in the morning I’m hit with an idea and into the studio for a quick draft.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
As a composer, I think the most difficult part of the business, in this age of Garage Band and library music, is to convince producers that the music score for cartoons is a large and important element of the production. Many people think music just fills dead air, but it’s the emotion evoked by the music that helps tell the story. Music subliminally leads the audience to what they should be feeling, like in a scary movie the music builds tension and terror for the viewer. A well written, well placed score can completely change how a person feels about what they see onscreen. Composer Laurence Rosenthal said “there are 3 equal components to a really good movie: story, characters and music.” If each of the 3 parts are well constructed it makes for a great movie and if one of those is missing it is out of balance.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I use computers, audio samplers and all sorts of synthesizers, along with the “unplugged” technology like a grand piano and guitars to get the job done.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I can’t say in my travels because June Foray came to me. June came to my studio to record dialogue on a short for Baer Animation. We all talked for a bit and it was exciting to hear some of her stories.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
We’ve all been through tough situations, but I’ve always found what doesn’t kill you…..really hurts! But you rise above, learn from it, and it really does make you stronger.
Any projects you’re working on you’d like to share details of?
I’m working on two animation projects, both in the beginning stages. The first project is called “Bulbs” produced by Christian Stibbe of Nine Streets Animation, along with Moonscoop Entertainment. The second project is from BellPepper Animation yet to be named.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Keep moving forward, even when you’re discouraged. Also, don’t be married to your artwork on a project because there is a likelihood that you will be asked to change things. Remember when you are getting paid to create, your work is to serve the need of the production. Continue to create and develop art on your own time … that work you can marry.