Young Composer's Dinner (with Hans)

Dan Showbiz

A few days ago I got an invitation to the awards ceremony for the Turner Classic Movies “Young Composers Competition”. Basically, over 500 people entered this year and scored a small film clip from a silent movie that has never been released. Then, after three rounds, it was narrowed down to five finalists. The awards ceremony would include a cocktail reception and dinner, and would be “hosted” by this year’s mentor, Hans Zimmer. The grand prize winner would get at $10,000 cash prize, and score the silent movie to be aired on TCM, with Hans mentoring them through the process.

The evening was held at the Hotel Casa del Mar in Santa Monica. This place is a really nice hotel – just walking around it, I felt like I was thrust back into the glitz and glamour of the 1920s. The cocktail reception was very nice – I had a chance to talk with a few of the finalists, and a bunch of the panel judges. It was neat to hang out and talk with Hans about various things, like the state of Hollywood, and such. I also chatted with his daughter Zoe, who was visiting from London, and was very personable as well.

Dinner was good – there were like 58 forks and knives, so I knew it was going to be a multi-course meal. It was all quite good – the seared chicken was juicy and tasty, and of course the fruit custard brulee was just perfect. Coincidentally enough, I was sitting next to Lisa Edmondson, who had been Elmer Bernstein’s assistant. We discussed a few memories of Elmer, and I found out that prior to working for him, she actually was Henry Mancini’s assistant for almost two decades!

After dinner, the ceremony began, with some comments by Mark Northam of the Film Music Group, and one of the guys from TCM. Hans then spoke, and he was just great. His advice comes from the heart, and the best line he had was: “Never let your wife prevent you from buying equipment. A house will not buy a synthesizer, but a synthesize can buy a house.” So very true.

As for the actual awards, it was kinda awkward. I mean, you have five finalists, and only one is going to win the grand prize. But each “runner up” place gets a prize of sorts. So they started by announcing the Fourth Runner-Up. Then they showed the clip they scored, with their music. (All of them scored the same clip for the final round.) So when it got down to the last two, it was nervewracking for everyone there, because the minute they announced the First Runner-Up, you’d know who the winner was. But still, everyone was a winner!