Comments: 67 • Responses: 27  • Date: 

TheLastOfUsSucks14 karma

Your piece in the trailer is awesome! Great job. Are the Inception-style BWAAHs in there because you thought it would work well for the trailer or is that something the studio asked for? Just curious because that sound is so prevalent in movie trailers these days.

chrisbragg11 karma

Thanks! Yes the inception style BWAAAH is a very prevalent sound these days in trailer music! Because it sets a certain level of intensity and works so well with picture cuts that sound/style of music is certainly referenced a lot by music supervisors. In this particular case they wanted the cue to start of with big and intense hits to help build suspense.

IKingJeremy9 karma

How does the process for this work?

I mean, did you have access to the video that was to be in the trailer before scoring the music or did they just give general guidelines on what the music should sound like?

chrisbragg8 karma

First I was given guidelines from the music supervisor on what they were looking for musically and was in competition with a few other music providers.

After my "submission" was picked for the project I worked with the music supervisor, trailer editor, producer and studio creatives making revisions right up until the trailer was released. On a lot of projects I never actually get to see any footage of the trailer I'm working on due to the tight security which makes it difficult. But I do sometimes get to score directly to picture.

IKingJeremy4 karma

How did you get into this line of work?

chrisbragg11 karma

I guess you can say I worked my way into it. I started my career mixing movie trailers for the big studios. After that I went to work for Hans Zimmer and then left to start a custom trailer music company.

ayahuascaatdawn2 karma

Why are so many advertisers relying on tears for fears covers?

chrisbragg2 karma

Great question... I have no idea.

SecretFedSpy2 karma

As someone who is working towards a full time career writing music to be licensed (not just in trailers, but that's certainly one area) do you have any advice? It's a difficult industry to break into and requires you to be good at a variety of different skills. I'm more than a tad bit overwhelmed at the task ahead of me.

chrisbragg2 karma

Best advice I can give is to keep at it and make music that you enjoy and are passionate about. If you're creating music just because you think it is a style that will get placed it will show. Do what you love and it will all come together.

CattyPantsDelia2 karma

What type of music did you grow up listening to?

chrisbragg3 karma

I grew up on rock n Roll! Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.

Is-ness2 karma

Is there an obstacle in your work that is not so obvious a question to arise here? (A little detail that you come across, for example.)

Is income ever an issue now?

chrisbragg3 karma

Not sure I understand exactly what you're asking but one obstacle that I face is writer's block. Some days it's hard to be creative. Ever heard of the term starving musician haha! It's a tough time to be in the music industry.

StaticTaco2 karma

What program did you use to make it?

chrisbragg2 karma

I composed this piece in Pro Tools using a mixture of live and virtual instruments. (Eastwest, Omnisphere, etc...)

Syphyx2 karma

I have a personal question I was hoping you could answer. I know in a lot of movies, especially ones like these there are choirs for the music. Are these choirs put together for each movie or are there professional choirs that are continuously hired for different movies?

SecretFedSpy4 karma

Not OP, but it is very likely not a 'real' choir that you hear in trailer cues. Often times the deadlines for a custom trailer cue is very short so there isn't time to gather a full choir into a studio and record them. There likely isn't the budget either, although that certainly varies quite a bit. If the cue is written ahead of time and licensed (and not written specifically for that trailer) then it was likely written by a freelance musician who probably doesn't have the time or budget to hire a choir for each of his/her cues. Often times a freelance licensing focused musician will write many many cues in an effort to have a large number of cues in various libraries (not always the case) and it's not practical to hire a professional choir for any/all of them.

There are a number of very capable choir sample libraries that sound very convincing with a bit of elbow grease. EWQL Symphonic Choirs, SoundIron Venus/Mars choirs, 8dio Requiem and Strezov Sampling Storm Choir 2 are just a few examples of professional grade choir sample libraries.

Movie soundtracks are a completely different game. It is very likely that any A or B level movie will do everything they can to have live musicians play the score as opposed to using sample libraries.

chrisbragg2 karma

@SecretFedSpy Exactly. Well said.

ColdFusionPT2 karma

Any crazy storys with Hans Zimmer?

chrisbragg2 karma

I don't really have any "crazy" stories about my time working at Remote Control. But I will say that I really enjoyed my experience there and got to meet and work with a ton of super talented and exceptional human beings!

bobhteorange2 karma

Did you get to see any Behind-the-scenes for the actual movie?

chrisbragg3 karma

I got to see a lot of unfinished graphics and green screens lol. Aside from that I haven't seen anything that wasn't in the trailer.

CaramelPhD2 karma

What's your primary inspiration in scoring music? Who inspired you enter the business in the first place.

chrisbragg3 karma

When I was working at the trailer mix facility I got to see how the music set the tone for the trailers. I've always been a musical guy and played in bands but I guess that was the point that I decided that trailer music was what I wanted to do. As far as inspiration I've always been a huge fan of Zimmer's movie scores.

liamquane2 karma

Who do you work with when working on trailers? does the director have any input?

chrisbragg2 karma

Usually I work with the music supervisor at the trailer house that is cutting the piece. Once the trailer is getting close to finishing sometimes I'll get notes directly from the trailer producer or editor and sometimes the creative exec's at the studio. Directors aren't usually very hands on but will occasionally make notes on the musical direction.

LeonBlank2 karma

How was the experience working with Hans Zimmer? What were the important lessons you learned from him - and what's something you wish you'll never have to do that Zimmer does?

chrisbragg3 karma

My experience there was amazing, I learned a ton about everything from the writing process all the way up to sampling sessions with musicians and recording the orchestra (which was amazing by the way!). I guess my biggest take away from my time there was that it's OK to try different things in a composition even if it seems unusual because you never know what is going to work and what doesn't until you try it in the mix. As far as something he does that I hope I never have to do? That's a tough question because what he's doing is definitely working for him! He does put in a lot of hours, I'm fairly certain he's a robot because I'm not sure when he sleeps!

xshortx2 karma

Could you explain the current trend in movie trailer soundtracks to have slow, stripped back music? It's tough to explain but like the last avengers had the deconstructed Pinocchio song? There's been a LOT of that lately and I don't get it.

chrisbragg3 karma

I think that type of dynamic music with very quiet sections like a solo vocal over a drone leaves a lot of room and freedom for the trailer editors to use big sound design to make a statement. In that particular case the lyrics I think were also making a statement about Ultron.

Johnnyfiftyfive2 karma

What is your favourite instrument ?

chrisbragg3 karma

I'm kind of a hoarder when it comes to guitars and odd stringed instruments. It's actually starting to become a problem.

Nevermore4161 karma

Did you approach them about them using the music, or did they approach you?

chrisbragg1 karma

In this particular case I was approached by the trailer house about creating a custom piece.

mgrahn1 karma

Hey Bud!

What was your favorite music placement before you landed Xmen?

chrisbragg2 karma

I've had the chance to work on a ton of fun stuff over the past few years, Swearnet or the Trailerpark Boys 3 trailers come to mind. I also really enjoyed working on music for the Hunger Games Mockingjay pt. 1 trailer and the American Sniper trailer.

bunnylahoya691 karma

what is your musical knowledge like? D0 you play piano or other instruments? Read/ write music? What DAWs and other software do you use?

Thanks man, awesome job!

chrisbragg3 karma

I'm sort of a jack of all, master of none when it comes to musical instruments. I can play a lot of different instruments in a studio setting but I'm not necessarily gifted at any of them. I can hack my way through reading/writing music but I definitely wouldn't say I'm "classically trained". As for DAW's I use Pro Tools mostly, but every now and then I'll jump on Logic or Cubase. These days they're all basically doing the same thing it all comes down to personal preference.

teflonsteve1 karma

Do you still like "better off as we are" by Blue Rodeo?

chrisbragg2 karma

Absolutely! that song has, and always will be on heavy rotation in my iTunes playlists.

sourgelockte1 karma

How do i get your job? Haha awesome work man big fan

chrisbragg6 karma

Thanks! It was actually quite easy to get where I am. Step 1. Work at it for 10 years for little to no pay. Step 2. Pledge your unwavering allegiance and offer your soul to the devil. Step 3. You're now a trailer composer but still have to engage in an epic battle to the death with all the other trailer composers to secure a gig working on a trailer that may or may not finish for one of the the limited number of major studio releases per year.

CthulhusHat1 karma

The first thing I did after watching this trailer is try to find the music (which I didn't have any luck with since the trailer had just been released). Absolutely love this piece, the parts at :23 and :53 send chills down my spine. What composers are you most inspired by?

chrisbragg2 karma

@ :23 is a song called "The Hunted" by Snow Ghosts. Fantastic song! I take inspiration from a lot of different composers in a lot of different styles, everyone from Ludovico Einaudi, to John Williams, or Hans Zimmer.

qwerty3901 karma

Blondes or brunnettes?

chrisbragg3 karma

I think "and" would have been a better word to use.

qwerty3901 karma

Fuck yeah man. Congrats on the great job by the way

chrisbragg1 karma


cookiemanluvsu0 karma

Are they aware youre doing this AMA?

chrisbragg1 karma

The studio? I'm just here to answer questions about music and composing.

cookiemanluvsu1 karma

Yes, the studio.

chrisbragg1 karma

No, but like I said I'm just here to answer questions about music and my composing process.

Anal_slut_Jenny0 karma

What's a trailer that you've seen that you thought the score was perfect?

chrisbragg3 karma

My favorite trailer recently was the Mad Max Fury Road trailer that used the "Giuseppe Verdi" cue. I thought that was perfect!