My name is Jeff Tolbert. I’m a film composer. I started this blog because, honestly, it’s something I would want to read. I’m a big fan of continuing to educate myself and improve my skills. I’ve been searching for a blog like this on the internet, and I can’t believe none exists (at least none that I could find), so I figured I’d write it myself.
My goal with this blog is to demonstrate some of the tricks I’ve learned over the years in school and on the job, and to include tips from other composers as well. I’m hoping to provide useful info for all film composers, whether you’re a student or a seasoned pro. I’m going to talk about all aspects of the business, from getting work to writing great themes, from effectively orchestrating your cues to creating an awesome mix. I’ll also periodically critique other film scores and provide links to additional film scoring resources out there on the net.
As for me, I’m a composer and musician living in Seattle and writing music for films, advertising and video games. The films I’ve scored include Walk Right In, Life On Fire, Modern Views, Bobby Ellis Is Gonna Kick Your Ass, The Last Virgin, Safe Passage, Scamp, Brains, Facing the Dragon, and the dance short Slip Cadence. I’ve written music for the games Nightmare Solitaire, Faerie Alchemy, Chimpanzee Catastrophe, Faerie Solitaire and Ramps, and for the childrens’ story app Dragon Embers. Advertising and corporate video clients include Happy Candidates, Bakon Vodka, Outsource Marketing, Createria, MovieMaker Magazine, and the Seattle non-profit PATH.
I am the past president of the Seattle Composers Alliance, and was the President from Nov. 2009–Nov. 2011. I’m also the author of two ebooks on Apple’s GarageBand software, Take Control of Making Music with GarageBand and Take Control of Recording with GarageBand, published by Take Control books. I studied film scoring with Emmy-award-winning composer Hummie Mann and classical and jazz composition with Tim Huling. I currently bass for Seattle singer/songwriter Tiger Zane as well as guitar, piano, ukulele, trombone, and various percussion instruments and household objects. Other bands I’ve been in include The James Howard Band, What Fell?, the Goat-Footed Senators, the diary of Anne Frank String Quartet, 80 Bones, the Penelopies, and the Fireproof Beauties.