Updated: Apr 14, 2019
The final cut of my "Leaden Hearts" trailer
Throughout my production process thus far, one of my greatest challenges has been choosing audio tracks that capture the mood of my piece. During my experiments last semester some of the feedback that I received was that I relied too heavily on the music I featured to invoke emotion or to supply the mood/meaning of the piece. The music was overpowering and often distracted from the images or narrative of the experiments. Keeping this feedback in mind, I chose to wait until the end of the editing process to choose and add in the music for my trailer. This was scary because as I would watch my trailer throughout the editing process I was worried that it seemed bland. However, once I got the ball rolling I realized that many of the images were able to stand alone. I felt as though I had finally achieved the "show, don't tell" goal I had set for myself.
Now that I felt comfortable enough with the imagery to add in music, I began doing research into music of the region during a specific time period (1830's - or 1834 in particular). As much of my script and the narrative was informed by letters from British convicts sentenced to transport to the Australian or American colonies themselves, I began looking at folk music that derived from poetry or letters of this origin. I discovered a ballad called "The Emigrants Farewell To His Country" on the Broadside Ballads Online website (you can find the document and webpage here), that was printed on a ballad sheet by Peter Brereton of Dublin. Though the ballad is dated c.1867, I was struck by the text. The words felt so genuine to me. I began searching for modern renditions of the ballad and found a version by the band The Furrow Collective. Their arrangement and performance of the song was so simple and haunting. With minor use of instruments, their voices stood out in such a haunting way. It was this bareness and simplicity that I was searching for when looking for music for my trailer. I did not want to overwhelm the piece with complex arrangements and overbearing instrumentation. The beauty of bare human voices was all that I needed.
I chose to sample this version of the song in my trailer - and to address the sticky subject of copyright, I will not be using this version for anything other than academic purposes. My classmate Tanja and her partner have graciously offered to help create a new arrangement and recording of the ballad, which is in the public domain, and therefore not subject to copyright. The music for the professional trailer and film will be all original recordings of ballads found in the public domain. This aspect will be new to me, but I am looking forward to it - as it gives me the freedom to create the type of sound that I want; It can be molded to fit the story in a much more personal way. I am delighted to not only give shape to these voices from history, but to also incorporate traditional and folk music of the time as well. This ballad adds an extra "link" to the past. Having finalized the audio and editing, I am delighted to present the final edit of my trailer for my film "Leaden Hearts":