When SAE student Chris Briggs set off to go backpacking around Southeast Asia, he never thought it would land him in Madrid, one year on, at his first ever film premiere.
It was an off chance meeting with Spanish director Berjer Capati, coupled with his industry knowledge and skills that saw Chris hired as a composer for the film Reunae.
SAE recently caught up with Audio student to talk about his debut project.
Welcome Chris and congratulations! First of all can you tell us about the film?
Chris: Sure. The film follows Claro, a young disturbed man hoping to reunite his family through a special dinner, but the true story reveals itself in time. It’s a short film that’s part of a trilogy produced by a talented aspiring film director located in Madrid.
Amazing! And you met the director on your travels?
Chris: Yes, in November 2015 I left the UK to backpack alone around Southeast Asia for four months. During this time I visited five countries and met Berjer, the filmmaker, in Cambodia. He began telling me about a film that he was working on where he wanted a classical guitar featured alongside the main character, Claro. Of course as a guitarist and aspiring composer I was very interested in this project and thus the story began!
What a way to land your first job. Was it hard working with the director who was based in Spain?
Chris: Yeah so one of the main challenges that me and Berjer faced were that we weren’t in the same country so we had no face to face contact like most directors and composers would. We overcame this as best we could by being in regular contact via Skype, email and facebook.
That must of been hard, as it was the first time you’d composed for film as well?
Chris: It was definitely one of the major challenges. Being that this was the first time I had ever written for film I also wasn’t sure where to begin. However, from reading the script it was clear what kind of emotional turmoil the main character was going through. Berjer would also send me words, phrases and examples of music that he was interested in for me to interpret in my own way.
He must of been happy with your work as you ended up composing for the entire film.
Chris: Thankyou. Yes, although the original plan was for me to play the guitar parts, as I began to show Berjer my ideas for the climax scenes and the outro piece he said that I should compose for the whole film. You will notice when you watch the film that each of the characters have their own distinctive sounds. The classical guitar follows Claro, the haunting and distorted noises follow the father and Claro’s disturbed relationship and the violin portrays the sadness of the mother. The church bells and organ were also vital in portraying the themes of death and sorrow.
How would you rate the experience?
Chris: Well so far this has been my only film project, it’s been an amazing experience and great starting point for what I hope will just be the beginning. When I began I was concerned that I wouldn’t be up to the challenge and wouldn’t know how to approach specific scenes but I feel that it came together incredibly well. It was a very challenging project and brilliant learning experience that I would love to do again.
And what was it like attending the premiere?
Chris: Yes so I just arrived back from the premiere that was held in Madrid last week. It was both exciting and quite nerve racking as I had to go up on stage and answers some questions about the music at the end but overall it was a fantastic experience and a great way to get closure on the film and meet the cast and crew in person whilst being in a hot country!
Incredible. So what's next for you?
Chris: The feeling of working on projects like this is quite addictive, I’m already eager to get working again on a new film. My plan is get my portfolio out there and find as many projects as possible to work on. I want to push myself and attempt as many different cinematic music styles as possible and see what I’m capable of.
And finally before we go, what’s your training at SAE been like?
Chris: I am a new student at SAE but already the tutors here in Glasgow have been very helpful, enthusiastic and supportive during my time working on this film. They were able to make some suggestions that never occurred to me and I was able to use the brilliant recording studios to complete my audio post production. It’s great to be surrounded by people with the knowledge and expertise that I require and I’m sure I will learn a great deal more over the next coming year.
You sure will. Thanks for joining us Chris and we wish you all the best in the future.