Films that have a strong, clear message are always the easiest to attach music to. Freedom was one of those films, instantly inspiring. The film covers the subject of choice, the idea being that real freedom is the ability to make your own choices and not be dictated to or controlled. 

With the theme and message of the film being so plain and unmistakable, I felt the music needed to stay out of the way of the dialogue, but also to augment the emotion shown in the dialogue. For that reason I chose to start the piece with a very light piano chord and a synth bed. However, I wanted to introduce a thematic melody early, something a viewer would grow comfortable with, and I felt strings worked perfectly to achieve an inspiring, uplifting feel for the film. I chose to introduce some staccato violin to develop a sense of intensity, to really give even more meaning and power to the words being spoken. 

Just under halfway through the film, the solo Stroh Violin comes in. This is a VST from Impact Soundworks which is free. I felt the tone and characteristics of the instrument set it apart from a regular violin. I wanted to use the Stroh as an audio representation of the people in the film straying from the traditional path of life, that sometimes the conventional way, isn't the ‘best’ way to live. The frame drum comes in just over half way, again to add more ardency and passion to the already fervent words. 

In terms of the placement of music, I wanted to have the music almost be its own piece, as well as the film be its own piece, and the two of them be independently strong pieces of art that play in parallel and enhance and improve each other. I didn’t want to have the music react to each person you see or each setting, but instead to move alongside the film, adding a sense of comfort and familiarity to the words. This film was released during the Trump/Clinton campaigns and I felt it needed to convey a message (that I agreed with) in a non-confrontational way.

The music starts to build to a climax as the voices in the film are summarising their message, laying down ideas they would like to see carried out in life, by themselves and others. I felt the music should naturally trail off at this point and leave the viewer with the piano that was introduced at the start, and the incredibly important words in the closing of the film. 

On a quick technical side note, this film was an opportunity for me to try out the new Steven Slate Verbsuite Classics Reverb. Which was used on pretty every instrument and added a sense of realism to the instruments that were unfortunately not recorded in the rooms Verbsuite models. 

It was a privilege to work on a film that dealt with a very current subject and a thought that I’m sure is on the minds of a lot of liberal people. 

This film was made by Blurred Pictures and I thank them for the opportunity. 

Ashley Holbrook

Ashley Holbrook Film Composer