On bookshelves, the paranormal and the oddly fantastic have always been popular amongst YA and adult readers alike. With titles like Warm Bodies and even Twilight, we can all admit that a good pararomance is our guiltiest of pleasures.
But what about when you take the typical tropes of a YA paranormal romance and infuse it with characters as nostalgic as Eleven and Mike from Stranger Things and a cheesy 1950's black and white horror film sense of humor? Well, then you have Blue Bottle Tree by Beaird Glover. And we think it's pretty bewitching . . .
Recently, The Parliament House produced a little something special for Blue Bottle Tree. Traveling between New Hampshire and Lakeworth, Florida, we shot a couple of live-action book trailers starring the very talented Brayan Betancourt as Seven LeVay and our own Shayne Leighton as Penny Langston.
A project with so much hard work and dedication by the players both on and off screen, we decided to interview director, Emily McGuirk (@shewolffilms on Instagram) and composer of the original score, Jonathan Munoz (@johnmunofficial on Instagram).
[ph] What was your biggest inspiration in wanting to create a live-action book trailer for Blue Bottle Tree? [em] When I was in NH and began playing with my drone over the trees, that got me inspired and excited to really jump into this project. I really love the characters and seeing Penny (Shayne) come to life, that was it. [ph] As a filmmaker, what you do you foresee for Blue Bottle Tree’s future and project potential? [em] I see this being a feature film or a really sick TV series. I think it would translate seamlessly and captivate the audience. There's nothing like this on tv as of yet. [ph] What is your process like? When you first receive a project, take us from start to finish through your prep before you get to set for the first time. [em] I see if I feel it, you know the tingles and excitement, that's when I know I want to direct that project. Once I have decided I'm committed, I begin breaking down the project, shots, locations and actors. [ph] How are book trailers different than other film projects? [em] It's pretty similar, just with a micro crew. On a trailer I'm shooting as well as directing, which makes it run a bit faster and I skip a few steps, like not needing to go over shots with the cinematographer because I'm now two in one. I enjoy both in different ways. I like having a crew on a movie, but I love the gorilla style of book trailers, it keeps me fresh and grounded. [ph] What is your favorite book / film genre to work in? [em] I loved Vampire Academy, I wish I could have adapted that into a series... I love Fantasy, sci-fi, super hero type books. [ph] What other film projects do you currently have in the works? [em] I have a tv series I'm developing at the moment and fingers crossed a movie that is in discussion. [ph] What was the funniest / most interesting moment when shooting Blue Bottle Tree When shayne and Brayan were trying to sync with the door opening scene. He kept opening the door for her.
[ph] Tell us a little bit about your musical history / past career accolades.
[jm] I am a classically trained musician. I started learning guitar in a conservatory in South Florida. Immediately, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. In middle school, I picked up the trumpet and was exposed to a wind ensemble and orchestra for the first time. Using my initial knowledge of music, I decided to take a leap and audition for the New World School of the Arts. I was accepted for classical trumpet and was put first chair trumpet starting my sophomore year. Even though I was accepted for trumpet, I was also the principle guitarist for the school musicals (Once On This Island, Cabaret, Evita). During my high school years, I recorded my first album (Self-Titled) with my ex-band Disrupted Uprising. After graduating NWSA, I went off to Miami-Dade College to study Music Business. My first year of college I recorded my first solo album (Soundscape).
[ph] What made you decide to switch from commercial music / progressive rock to composing and scoring film and T.V.
[jm] I realized that progressive metal didn't fully satisfy my creative adventures. I needed more colors, more sounds, I needed a full orchestra. My music has always told stories and took you in adventures while triggering different emotions. I knew what I had to do.
[ph] What are some of your current projects you’re working on?
[jm] I am currently working with CrossFire Pictures on a Fan Film called Spider-Man directed by Markos Lee. I am also working on some personal projects to build a larger catalog of compositions for the public. There will be future projects I will be a part of working with The Parliament House.
[ph] When you first receive your canvas (a music-less visual), take us through your process? What do you do first? How do you gain your inspiration for what the themes will be?
[jm] I try to really understand the overall picture as if I was watching as an audience. I watch the film, trailer or commercial several times, but I heavily lean on my first impression. The themes can really vary on the scenery, the characters and what is the purpose of the picture. My inspiration for themes is extremely visual, even if it's a mental picture.
[ph] Do you have any specific or weird rituals when you’re scoring? Like, does it need to be raining outside, do you write better at night? That sort of thing…
[jm] The nighttime seems to be a really good time for me to compose music. Here is a little side story: I had turned off my computer and I was getting ready for bed at around 4:00am. I was able to fall asleep for about 25-30 min. I woke up with the extreme need to write music. 4:34 was the time when I got everything running again. I wrote an entire five minute composition that morning and it was named 4.34. Back to the question, I keep a scented candle next to my computer. Usually, when I need a little boost for inspiration I turn it on and just enjoy the aroma as well as the view of the fire.
[ph] Who’s your favorite film composer and why?
[jm] I really don't have a favorite film composer, but I do listen to Ramin Djawadi, Hans Zimmer, Mark Isham, Danny Elfman etc.
[ph] Take us through your process when writing the score for Blue Bottle Tree. Did you look to any existing films or television for inspiration?
[jm] Blue Bottle Tree was very interesting to write. It's a combination of thriller/horror and some rock. Having a really strong metal background, the ideas were written with ease. The real challenge was to compose a score that would really impact the picture using all these elements in a three minute time limit, without missing dramatic cues and without making the music feel awkward. The music still has drive and can be listened to without the motion picture and still retain its quality. I used some of the soundtracks from the video game Call of Duty: Nazi Zombies game mode for reference.
[ph] Where do you see your composing career headed in the next five years?
[jm] I definitely see a bright light at the end of those five years. How? When? Why? I'm not too sure, but I'm enjoying the ride and letting time do its thing. For now, being consistent with my work, will secure that bright light.
[ph]Finally, where can listeners / viewers find more information about you?
[jm] We are now in a visual era, therefore my most recent updates are on Instagram and YouTube
Thanks very much for stopping by to read about the making of the Blue Bottle Tree Trailer. Blue Bottle Tree is now available to pre-order wherever books are sold!
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