Creating Successful Music For Animation

Four working composers discuss the creative challenges of making music for animation. Denis M. Hannigan, Don Grady, Jody Gray and James L. Venable offer tips and advice for both composers and creators, directors and producers.

Denis M. Hannigan suggests that composers ask the producers and directors very direct questions about their musical likes and dislikes before composing. Photo credit: Teri Hannigan.

Chances are that when something moves you by either making you laugh or cry while watching a movie or TV show, a musical score accompanies the scene. Music is a fundamental device that filmmakers use to develop a mood, set up a character and move a scene along. Music for animation has its own set of requirements, so we asked four successful animation composers to give us a behind-the-scenes peek at how they work. They talked with Animation World Magazine about their working relationship with producers, directors and creators, how they approach their work and what they think about when writing a score.

Denis M. Hannigan, Hooligan Music

Composer for Rugrats, Recess, CatDog, Beakmans World, Adventure in Wonderland and the 2002 ASCAP Award Winner for Most Performed Underscore.

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