Music is an important factor revealing people’s emotion. Especially, while watching movies and dramas, we notice that suitable background music greatly helps to maximize viewers’ feelings. The movie Sunny reminds us of certain music. Without a song “Sunny~” in the movie Sunny, the movie may be just a flat video like a fountain pen without ink. And, without background music when a shark shows up in Jaws, people wouldn’t feel tension about a shark’s appearance. Likewise, through the music which is fit for colors, characters mind, situations of the movie, viewers can be touched and feel much more tension. Like this, a movie music director directs effectively a movie music which creates an atmosphere in a movie. Let’s learn about a film music director and a movie music through an interview with Kim, Jun-seok who directed Sunny, and Over Speed Scandal’’s music.
1. What is your job as a movie music director? Please tell us about your job.
A movie music director is a person who takes responsibility for all music in movie. There are composition-centered movies, and selected music-centered movies. For example, a newly-released film ‘Plan man’ is a musical movie. I involved singer UV in movie music because I thought it would be better to recruit a song expert. However, since they don’t know well about movie music because they are specialized in pop music so I played a role of mediator as movie music director. And a movie music director is also involved in directing actors or actresses who are amateur in music so that they can play like music experts which are their characters. I help actors to sing a song or play an instrument by connecting them with vocal or guitar teachers and etc. sometimes I go to filming spots. In case of the music scene, since there is no music expert in filming spots, everyone concentrates on a movie music director. A movie music director goes as far as to take responsibility for actors’ movements and choreography. In case of selecting music, it is one of the movie music director’s roles to ask for the permission of using that music from songwriter. Most of the movies work on music after finishing shootings. In case of music scene, I should select or compose music before shooting film so that music can harmonize with images and other factors.
+)To what an extent is a movie music director responsible for movie music?
Movie is composed of images and sound. As for sound, important factors are characters’ speeches, sound effects, and music. So, a movie music director treats only music work and sends it to sound mixer, which works for the harmony of characters’ speeches, sound effects and music.
2. I think that both movies and music receive much attention since movies get along with music. What’s the secret of selecting or composing suitable music?
Many musicians have an illusion that they can be good at movie music. However, being good at music does not necessarily mean being good at movie music. It is impossible to do film music for a person who doesn’t understand the flow of images. If someone asks for a certain melody according to the scene and explains why that melody is needed, anyone would do it well. But a music director should consider what melody is well-suited to the movie, after he deliberates on the scene, like “In this scene, the actor has a feeling about something, though he looks smile”.
A music director should catch the meaning hidden inside even in a small device. When I select music, I usually think that “I am a director using music as a tool.”If a well-known music fits movie better than a newly composed music, I will choose the well-known music. I am a composer so I want to use my music. But a strange music can’t surpass the familiarity of a well-known music. If only I am a musician, I will use my music since I want to show off the excellence of my music. But that’s not how it works in movie music. Music itself might sound weird but when it puts together with movie, it turns into a great music. So I agonize over how viewers feel about the movie.
3.Which movie is the most unforgettable or do you feel deep attachment among the movies you’ve joined as a movie music director?
My debut film Marriage is crazy is the most unforgettable movie, as that was the turning point of my life. Working long as an assistant, I sometimes deluded myself as very talented. However, after the debut, I was suffering from overwhelming stress, pressure, and tension. I was falling into mannerism as time went by. I really loved music, but it made me exhausted when it became my job. But the movie Over Speed Scandal enabled me to perceive again how amusing music is. In general, a movie music director doesn’t often go to filming spots. But I often went there because Over Speed Scandal has many music scenes, and it was very stressful at first. Even if I didn’t expect much of that movie, the more I filmed, the more I felt interests and fun. If the movie needed music performance staffs, I asked my acquaintances. So I’m more attached to this movie.
4. When was your most rewarding time and difficult moment while working as movie music director?
When I talk about music with a director, we frequently had different opinions, which make my work a bit difficult. But I have my own pleasure as a movie music director. I like when people say “The movie was so fun but I don’t remember any music.” My role is to make people completely immersed in the movie without realizing if there is any music. Movie music is not supposed to be distinguishable except for some scenes. If it is, it might get on people’s nerves. My pleasure is connecting people’s emotion subtly with music. Movie music directors always have to keep in mind that their job is to make the movie stand out, not the music. If the music is too good, then it breaks the flow of a movie. That’s just a sheer nice music, not movie music. Music gets involved for movie. It’s just the difference of viewpoint. To work for movie music, you need to give priority to the movie.
5.Your major in college was not related to music. Do you have any comment to the students who have dream but their major is different from their dream like you?
I originally wanted to study music but my father wanted me to go to the Department of Business Administration. I, however, applied for the Department of Philosophy so that I could be admitted. After entering the university, I prepared for the debut while playing in a band but it didn’t work out. Meanwhile, a senior asked me ‘I heard you want to play music. How about doing movie music?’At first, I started to work at a low position for Christmas in August. My heart beat so fast when I saw my name at the end credits of the movie. That feeling only belongs to a man who has such experiences. Through that moment, I decided to work on movie music. However, an annual salary was very small. Although I didn’t earn much money, I kept going on because it is my real dream. Most people care about what other people think and can’t achieve their true dream. But people see only who you are right now without recognizing the difficulties you had to overcome. Pursuing one’s dream and pursuing money are totally different. Challenge recklessly. Originally I paid attention to my appearance. But after I started my work, I determined I wouldn’t care about anything else until I succeed. I worked very hard, thinking of ‘this or death.’
6. I want to know your next plans. What goals do you want to achieve as a movie music director?< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >
It’s not easy to take on a movie production as a movie music director when you are over 40years old. Many directors don’t want to work with an old music director because they find it uncomfortable to point out something wrong. I am wondering if I would I be able to do this after 10 years. My dream is producing a musical movie when I am 60 years old. If I don’t have a chance to do that, I will be concentrating on training younger people who want to direct movie music.
Kim, Jun-seok who wants to be a ‘movie’ music director rather than movie ‘music’ director emphasized the importance of movie music during the interview. This interview shows us his belief as a movie music director that he strives to make music that does not cut the flow of the movie, instead of creating music that remains in people’s mind even after the movie. Plus, his advice to students whose major differs from what they are passionate about, “if you want, do not hesitate to challenge!” was quite impressive. I hope Gachon University’s students will chase their dreams and be willing to challenge.