'Brave' Composer Patrick Doyle on Music for Toons and Working With Robert Altman
The ASCAP honoree reveals the need for versatility and the precise craft -- or "Mickey Mousing" -- required for animation.
This story first appeared in the June 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The Hollywood Reporter: Is there a difference in writing music for an animated feature versus a live-action film?
Patrick Doyle: Drama is drama. I worked on Brave the same way I would work on a live-action picture like Planet of the Apes -- it's the same symphony orchestra. With animation, there's more of, for want of a better expression, "Mickey Mousing," where you have to be very exact, but the same discipline and knowledge is required.
THR: You're known for blending an old-school orchestral approach with unexpected instruments and rhythms. Are there no rules to scoring?
Doyle: As a composer, you have to be aware of what's contemporary. At the same time, your style may change as people's taste in music changes. You've got to have a fairly open mind. I'm very fortunate that I've had diverse opportunities to compose music for all these different types of films.
THR: Is there a score that got away?
Doyle: Never. I remember I turned down a picture once, for all the right reasons, and then I went on holiday. When I came back, I got a call out of the blue to do Gosford Park and got to work with a legend -- Robert Altman. I think you create your own fate.
THR: What have you learned about dealing with directors?
Doyle: The art of collaboration. There's enormous pressure on filmmakers, and I suppose my experience in theater has proved to be beneficial in that I was a musical director, composer and performed, so I would work very closely with the director on simply creating.