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Samantha Foster is a musician and a composer for many kinds of project already, from games to films. Here is an exclusive interview with this amazingly talented woman, whose information about herself and her works can be found more on her own website.
1. phio_chan: Pick three words which describe yourself. How do they describe you?
Diligent, creative, and intuitive. I am diligent, working hard on composing projects and school. I am a History-major student; it’s a lot of reading and writing. My approach to composition is very intuitive and creative. Sometimes, compositions simply flow out while noodling on a piano. I view orchestrating a piece similar to painting a picture. I have a lot of virtual instruments (VSTs), my pallet. I compose both classical and jazz. I am a natural jazz improviser.
2. phio_chan: How did you fall in love with composing music?
I learned that I could compose music in 6th grade. My very first composition was called “Medieval Tune”. By 7th grade, I developed my own waltzes on the piano. By high school, after listening to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, I fell in love with jazz composition/improvisation. I ended up composing and performing my own jazz pieces with my high school’s ensembles. Listening to numerous video game and film soundtracks sparked my interest in composing. Someday, I want to be the next Hans Zimmer! I realized that I wanted to compose for video games at a very early age, after listening to the Outlaws (1997) soundtrack by Clint Bajakian. My first video game soundtrack project was “La Fugue Orpheline” (The Runaway Orphan). I taught myself to orchestrate and use virtual instruments (VST’s) to compose pieces for the game. I am currently scoring a documentary.
3. phio_chan: Which one is more challenging for you, to make music for games or films? Which one you like better?
Films are more challenging to score than games because the music needs to fit within a specific time frame and has to accompany what is going on in various scenes. For video games, I just need to compose short, catchy melodies that can be looped. In practice, I like scoring for games more because you don’t have the restrictions of composing to fixed images within a specific time frame. However, from my experience, most of the video game projects I’ve worked on are run by amateurs and tend to never be released (the project dies because amateurs have other commitments). Producing a video game involves graphics, programming, writing, etc. It’s alot harder than taking a camera and shooting a film. I’d love to compose for a game that is commercially viable (rather than amateur projects that crash). Hopefully in the future, I will be contracted by a major game company such as Lucas Arts, Microids, Sega, Atari, etc (where the projects have big budgets and will more likely be completed than amateur games). I like films because unlike games, they are completed. I am scoring music to a completed product (scenes of the film).
4. phio_chan: Tell us few things about your current projects.
I am still working on La Fugue Orpheline (The Runaway Orphan) with a video game creation club at INSA Rennes in Rennes, France. Although since it is a club, they release demo videos of the game from time to time featuring my music. I have a few other amateur game projects pending (not sure if they’re going to be produced yet). My biggest project right now is scoring a documentary which might appear on PBS! It is a challenging project because I am composing music that is outside my comfort zone. For La Fugue Orpheline, I can pretty much compose in any style I want. For each scene of the documentary, I am usually sent two versions: one with a temp. score and the other without music. The temp. score represents what the music for a specific scene should sound/feel like in terms of instrumentation/tempo. For instance, I had to score an opening scene with marimbas! It was very difficult because I’ve never composed with marimbas before. To learn more about my current projects (and to hear my music!), check out my official website.
5. phio_chan: What are your hopes and plans for your career in the future?
In the future, my dream career is to be the next Hans Zimmer, Jack Wall (big time video game composer), James Horner, James Newton Howard, etc! I am a History major. I am hoping to minor in Communications as well! Reality: I will need to find a day job when I graduate from college. I am currently a junior in college. I am interested in entering the fields of production for television, working for History Channel, NBC, ABC, A&E, etc. I also feel I could work in the fields of social media.
I’ll need to find a job after I graduate that I enjoy doing, compose at night. Hopefully, my passion for composing will turn into a career. My dream is to earn a living as a composer for video games and films. Need to get a lucky break!
6. phio_chan: What do you think of world’s current music development, in general and especially in genre you’re working on (classical, jazz, games/films soundtracks)?
I am a big fan of movie and game soundtracks. I’ve listened to older golden age soundtracks from the 50s and 60s (such as Ben-Hur by Miklos Rozsa & Anastasia by Alfred Newman). These soundtracks seem to have a quality to them that doesn’t exist in today’s film music. In terms of game soundtracks, Tommy Tallarico (big time video game composer) was lucky, entering the video game composing world when it was simply synthesized sounds. More and more, scoring for a game is similar to a film (major game companies usually expect composers to work with live orchestra to score a game).
7. phio_chan: Who inspires you the most? How does he/she inspire you?
Wow! Tough question! George Gershwin inspires me the most because it fueled my passion for jazz. I never get tired with listening to his music. I love listening to the original 1924 recordings of Rhapsody in Blue. Listening to Rhapsody in Blue inspired me to compose my first jazz composition with an ensemble at high school.
It is such a lucky chance to be able to know you better, Samantha. Thank you for sharing us bits about your life; I hope it inspires all readers to become a hard-working person. I wish you good luck in all your projects and dreams! – phio_chan