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You Talkin' To Me?

posted Jul 30, 2014, 6:23 PM by Kaya Savas   [ updated Jul 31, 2014, 8:45 AM ]

Really, me? Oh ok. So, recently it was brought to my attention by some fellow film score loving pals of mine that a whole thread was dedicated to me over at another film score site’s forum. “Wow! A whole thread? Just about me?!” To my non-surprise the whole thread was dedicated to how shitty of a film score journalist I am, and how I pander to composers just so I can get a chance to talk to them. As I went down the thread I couldn’t help but laugh, because the comments were just awesome. I took absolutely no offense nor did I really care what a few internet dwellers thought of me, but it did further support my disdain for internet forums and what my goal is for Film.Music.Media.

You see, I never really partook in forums such as the big ones like FSM or JWFan, where most of my target audience hangs out. Initially I thought internet forums were a great way to bring like-minded people together to discuss and explore the things that inspire them. Nope. Internet forums, even those dedicated to film scores, are full of a lot of ego stroking as a result of dumb hate-filled remarks. Opinions are great, everyone should have one, but not when you won’t accept other people’s. The forums turn into hostile grounds for barking out hateful remarks behind the safety of the internet’s illusion of anonymity. Just like this thread dedicated to me and my “embarrassing masturbatory reviews” as one user so eloquently put it. 


So, here’s my rebuttal. When I started Film.Music.Media I was just some random film score fan who loved to write. That’s all. I majored in film, have been in love with the art of film my whole life, and have a soft spot for the musical aspect of it. So I decided to channel my writing into a blog. The music I listened to that came from the films I watched inspired me to explore it. That blog gained popularity and lead to a full website. My entire life nothing ever made sense to me except a film’s strange ability to explore the human condition, and how we experience life itself. I honed in on the emotional core of a film, which is the score. So I decided to explore scores by analyzing them. I in no way have ever considered myself an expert or an authoritative figure in film scores. In fact, no one can claim to be that because filmmaking and scores are not a finite concept with set rules. We are constantly finding ways to tell new stories and re-tell our favorites in ways that connect to us. You can love what you love and not love what you don’t love. You don’t have to hate what others love. My goal with my reviews has always been to seek out what works, not bring to light what doesn’t. Also when I give a score 4.5 or 5 stars it doesn't mean that this is the best score in the world. If you keep your favorite score in your mind at all times, and you truly believe that this is the best score ever composed by mankind then of course everything else will be crap. I may give a video game score 4.5 stars, but that doesn't mean I'm comparing it to Gone With The Wind or The Mission. It means that within that genre, style and story that score did a fantastic job. There is no such thing as the best score of all time, just your favorite score of all time. Everything with film, music and media is subjective.

I truly believe everybody has something unique to bring to the table. Composers, writers, directors, cinematographers, costume designers and all the many other roles of a film are all telling a story in the way they know how. So, when I listen to a score I seek out what connects to me, and there is usually always something. No composer tries to write a bad score, but I’m aware that sometimes something doesn’t always come out as one envisioned. Maybe the score went for atmosphere instead of thematic structure, and that in turn didn’t help the movie. Maybe a producer shoved a composer’s face into a temp and forced them to copy it note for note, and the composer was just trying to earn a paycheck so they agreed. Who knows. All I know is that my goal is to seek out inspiring things. I’ve written many negative reviews in my time as a journalist, and when I do it’s usually because the score’s approach didn’t connect with me, or the approach was just flat-out wrong for the film. Maybe it lacked an emotional connection, which happens. I believe if you try to find what works then what doesn’t work will usually be easy to pick out. I never go into something looking for the negative first. You look for what should make the score work, and if it is not present then you can start to analyze why the score is not working. I don’t write reviews so I can interview composers either, that’s not how it works.

I interview composers because all my life I’ve loved scores, and I want to get into as many composers’ heads as I can. I’m still an aspiring writer and filmmaker myself so for me any knowledge is good knowledge. I record and post the interviews with the hope that other people can also be inspired by listening to a composer discuss their work. I find it utterly fascinating talking with a composer and seeing how so many people can approach the same profession differently as they try to bring their own voice to motion picture storytelling. One forum member said, “Guy's happy to embarrass himself and have no credibility, apparently, so he can do the interviews.” The reality is that I rarely have to seek out an interview anymore. I’m gracious to the many people working with these wonderful composers who seek out Film.Music.Media as an outlet, and to give me the opportunity. I was floored when I was approached by Pharrell Williams' reps to set up an interview, I almost fainted when John Williams walked up to me at the every end corner of the red carpet, and was a nervous wreck when Elliot Goldenthal invited me to chat at the hotel he was staying at when he was in town. And not to pat myself too hard on the back, but that means I’m good at what I do. People listen to my interviews, and they get shared around the world. I’ve had many touching messages from people thanking me for posting interviews and even reviews. We all share a love for film and film scores, and spreading that inspiration is all that matters. 

"Punk?"

Most of the people in those forums think they are indeed the film music expert, and they go there to prove it. If your only goal with your passion is to become an expert and tell other people why they are wrong then you’re not adding anything to the world. I’m also not a fan of the website where this forum popped up because every review on that site aims to seek out something negative. That goes completely against how I try to do things, but if that’s what you like then so be it. I’m not mad, because I understand why people aim to shoot down.

Film.Music.Media has grown a lot over the 5 years I’ve been doing it, and I’ve been so grateful to have been able to talk to so many composers and attend many great events. While one of my goals is to keep growing my knowledge and exploration, my other goal is to make sure anything I discover and learn is also available to anyone who wishes to experience it. I take the hateful internet comments as a badge of honor, it lets me know I’m on the right track. I never knew I was doing so much to warrant shit-talking, but if I am then carry on. Oh, and I guess I should actually answer their question of "Who is Kaya Savas?". Kaya Savas is a Marylander living in LA working with Walt Disney Studios as well as running Film.Music.Media. He has interviewed over 150 film/tv/game composers as well as written nearly 1,000 analytical reviews of film scores. His site, Film.Music.Media has a large international audience with over 10,000 visits per month, and thousands of followers on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube. Kaya is also a member of the International Film Critics Association and has had his work quoted in media campaigns running in Variety magazine. He is also an upcoming liner notes author ("woo-hoo"). So I guess that's Kaya Savas. And that was mainly aimed at the guy who said I have no credibility. But now I should really get back to work. I have a stack of CD’s that need reviewing and a bunch of interviews that need editing. Cheers.

P.S: Here's the link to the full thread for your enjoyment: