Tag Archives: John Powell

Master class with John Powell

JonandJohnPowell-SAGSingers10-23-2014John Powell is one of the wittiest composers on the planet. You can’t spend 10 minutes with the composer of Happy Feet, Rio and How to Train Your Dragon without appreciating both his accomplishments and his dry sense of humor. Last night I was privileged to participate in SAG-AFTRA’s fourth “Meet the Composer” event at the Writers Guild Theater, interviewing Powell about writing for voices and choral groups. It was a one-of-a-kind evening that incorporated video clips, Powell demonstrating how he works with singers, and a moving vocal tribute by some of L.A.’s finest. An estimated 500 performers, composers, students and other film professionals attended.

Hans Zimmer: $20 Billion Composer!

ZimmerBillionVariety2014cropped-low resVariety started a series several years ago — most of which I’ve written — called “Billion Dollar Composer,” a way of acknowledging how successful some of today’s top film scorers have been. For our Hans Zimmer section, out today, the editors were so bowled over by the numbers they retitled it “20 Billion Dollar Composer.” Can’t say as I blame them.

The section consists of a main story, that looks at his recent work and includes interviews with Hans and such filmmaking luminaries as Jerry Bruckheimer and Christopher Nolan, as well as former proteges Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell; his newly revealed plans to return to live performing; his own thoughts (accompanied by colorful images) on six classic scores; and a look at his Remote Control studios, home not only to Zimmer but to more than a dozen composing colleagues.

Interviewing John Powell at ASCAP Expo

2014 ASCAP EXPO - Day 1

John Powell is one of today’s very finest composers for film. If you’ve seen the Bourne thrillers, How to Train Your Dragon, Happy Feet or the Rio movies, you’ve heard his music. He’s an absolute delight in person, and I was happy to interview him today at ASCAP’s “I Create Music” Expo in Hollywood.

Coincidentally, Variety this week published my series of stories about John and his career. Here is the main story, something of an overview with some high praise from his collaborators. A second story deals with his decision to leave film music (temporarily, we hope). And finally, a few choice remarks by the composer himself on five of his notable scores.

John Powell stories in Variety

John Powell, one of today’s most talented film composers, is the subject of a special section in Variety this week (Rio 2 is now in release and How to Train Your Dragon 2 is upcoming). In my main story, I discuss his status as today’s leading animation composer but also talk to directors Doug Liman, Carlos Saldanha, Paul Greengrass and Dean DeBlois as well as composers Hans Zimmer and Gavin Greenaway about what makes Powell so special.

In a sidebar story, John explains his decision to take a sabbatical from film music, and in another, he talks about five of his most memorable film-music experiences.

The role of technology in film composing

Here’s an interesting story about how technology has changed the entire film-music business. I talked to Thomas Newman, John Debney, Michael Giacchino, Mychael Danna, Alexandre Desplat and John Powell — none of whom use paper and pencil anymore.