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May 2012

 

Composer Kim Planert
Missing: Found in America

 

 

Biography

Kim Planert is a German composer for film and television based out of Los Angeles, California. Currently, Kim is scoring ABCís drama series MISSING, alongside Robert Duncan. The series, starring Ashley Judd and Sean Bean, premiered on March 15, 2012. Other credits include: Caste; The Chicago Code; The Gates; Into The Blue; Lie To Me; and The Unit.
 

Official Twitter

Official Web Site
 

Credits

Missing
Castle
The Chicago Code
The Gates
Into The Blue
Lie To Me
The Unit
2XSalt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composers Kim Planert

"I don't think there is a bond that is stronger than the one between a mother and her child. My parents happened to be in town when I was writing the score. I'd play them cues every night. I was kind of writing the score for them."

Kim Planert


Kim Planert, composer of 2012ís TV drama MISSING, provides Tracksounds with an insight into a European composerís life in Hollywood and the link between the skies and scores.

Interview by Richard Buxton

TS: How has your experience working on MISSING been so far? What have you learnt from working on the show?
 
Kim Planert: It was great to work with GINA MATTHEWS again. We had worked with her on THE GATES, which was a show about vampires and werewolves. In the case of MISSING we got to combine driving action with very touching emotional moments.
 
It was also the first season that I wrote from my new studio in North Hollywood. It's a high-rise with huge glass windows. For too many years I worked in studios with no windows at all, so this was a refreshing change. I love it. 
 
TS: MISSING is a drama show that thrives on tension and suspense. In what ways does such a show allow you to express yourself musically? Does it limit you in terms of thematic development across a season?
 
Kim Planert: I don't think it's limiting. Quiet the opposite. The show is all about a mom looking for her abducted son. That emotion has to be found in every beat of the music. To express this extra level was a nice challenge, and it is totally possible to have the mother and son motif in an action scene. Music is very flexible. A good theme can be used in any situation from a story-telling point of view.
 
TS: MISSING runs at a frenetic pace that ratchets up the tension with each scene. Is it easier to score such intense and brief scenes, or does the real challenge come in the more drawn-out and emotional sequences?

Kim Planert - Missing


Kim Planert: There is a lot of music in MISSING. ROB DUNCAN and I wrote up to 38 minutes for each episode. Cues tend to be several minutes long. The producers want to keep the pace and tension up and basically not drop the ball. A longer cue seems like a big challenge. But it is basically just a bunch of shorter cues tied together. Looking at it that way makes it easier to tackle the task. A cue can span several scenes and usually the music changes in each. The challenge is to give it an overall arc for the cue and the episode as a whole.
 
TS: Compared to previous projects you collaborated with Robert Duncan on, MISSING is somewhat more grounded and something that audiences can perhaps find themselves relating to more closely than CASTLE or THE GATES for example. Is this something that you can draw on when composing for the show?
  
Kim Planert: I think you are right. I don't think there is a bond that is stronger than the one between a mother and her child. My parents happened to be in town when I was writing the score. I'd play them cues every night. I was kind of writing the score for them. It is essential that you can relate to the characters on screen and feel and understand what they are going through. 

TS: You've worked alongside composer ROBERT DUNCAN on a number of projects now, how does working with a fellow composer affect the way you make music? What advantages does it have over working purely by yourself on a film or TV show?
 
Kim Planert: I started working with Robert on THE UNIT four years ago. He taught me a lot and we have produced many hours of music together. Now it's pure teamwork. I love exchanging ideas; it's like creative tennis. With every pass the music gets better. You don't have that on your own. It does make a lot of sense to work as a team artistically and logistically because there is so much music to write.
 
 
TS: How do you find working on TV differs to film? Is it a format that allows you to explore characters and worlds in greater detail over a number of episodes?
 
Kim Planert: The process is the same. As a composer I am framing a story and supporting actions, characters and emotions. The time you are given to write a TV score is a lot shorter though. You don't have the luxury of second-guessing yourself. In that sense my hobby, skydiving puts me in the same frame of mind. Many people call it "flow". It feels the same in the sky or in my studio when the music flows effortlessly. That's not always the case of course, but my aim every day!  With a TV series you can really dig into the characters and evolve with them from week to week. That is the case for a 10 episode season like Missing and in particular for a show like Castle where we have just wrapped season 4. 
 
 
TS: Having achieved a Bachelor of Recording Arts in Australia, how do you feel your perspective of film composition differs to composers who come from a purely compositional background?
 
Kim Planert: I guess I had it a little easier breaking free from the constraints of the established rules in music. That's the great thing about writing for picture. The scene gives you the form and you can totally disregard musical form as long as it fits the picture and the emotion. Film allows you to be a lot more creative. Nowadays there is a lot of sound design involved in scoring. I create a lot of new sounds and instruments myself to give the show or even an episode its own unique identity.  My sound engineering background really helps.

 

Kim Planert - In the recording studio


 
TS: Los Angeles is a name synonymous with film and television. How has your transition from Europe to the U.S. been in terms of your music? Has the move seen a shift in the way you work?
 
Kim Planert: The main difference is that I was able to really break into composing here in the US. I was an established sound engineer in the UK where I worked on dozens of albums over a decade. The European mindset is more boxed in. They don't let you change lanes from engineer to composer even though I had always written music. On a holiday I travelled to the US to do my skydiving license. I happened to pass by a production company and dropped my demo off. Back in Scotland I got a call and they asked if I could pitch for their 10 million dollar movie. So I wrote a cue and got second in the selection. I did not get the movie but it was a clear sign for me that the "Wild West" is still alive. So I moved to the US. The same thing happened again in LA where I started writing for TV three weeks after I arrived. Pretty magic!
 

TS: A number of today's film and television composers come from Europe and have gone on to great success in Hollywood. Do you feel that having come from outside the U.S. has given you a somewhat unique perspective on composing for media? 
 
Kim Planert: I think it gives me a different cultural perspective. Europe is culturally very diverse. I believe it was particularly helpful in scoring Missing because it is shot mainly in Europe. Every episode leads you to another country and I was able to add different ethnic flavors. Some scenes are shot in Croatia and some flashbacks are playing out in Bosnia during the war. Itís now 20 years ago that I was so fortunate to go to Bosnia during the war myself to deliver humanitarian aid. I went on 5 trips and saw first hand what war really is, an experience that has deeply impacted me. I can draw from this when I write. For Castle's Episode "47 seconds" for example I scored a scene with Rob that showed a bomb aftermath. After the show had aired I received an email that stood out from a lady in Croatia who really liked the cue. We went on to write each other about the war. I was very moved that this piece in particular had connected us over distance and time. I thought I must be digging in the right place of my soul when I write.
 
 
TS: What are the difficulties that European and International composers might face when trying to break into the industry in Hollywood? Are there any advantages for such composers?
 
Kim Planert: The first hurdle was my visa. I always say I could have written a symphony and pay an orchestra to play it in the same time it cost me to organize the visas over the years and pay for the legal fees.
 
But I think once you are here it gets easier cause people are willing to give you a chance. A lot of the people here were in exactly the same position once. Then you need to work your butt off. I think coming from far away makes you a bit more lethal that way. It's like you made it to Rome. Failing is not an option. Turns out my "parachute" has opened and life in Hollywood is very good to me.

 

More Interviews

   

Jeff Russo (2014)
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Sean Callery (2014)
Trevor Morris (2014)
Oscar Araujo (2014)
Tom Salta (2013)

Jesper Kyd (2012)
Kim Planert (2012)
Robert Duncan (2012)
Sam Hulick (2011)
Alan Menken (2010)

Mark Griskey (2010)
Tom Hajdu (Tomandandy) (2010)
Doug Adams (2010)
Sean Williams(2010)

Jamie Christopherson (2010)
Tomoya Kishi & Marika Suzuki (2010)

Clinton Shorter (2009)
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Ed Lima and Duncan Watt (2009)
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John Ottman (2008)
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Jesse Harlin (2008)
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Miho Nomura (2008)
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Christopher Lennertz (2006)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2005)
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Christopher Lennertz (2008)
Sascha Dikiciyan & Cris Velasco (2007)
James Dooley (2007)
Jesper Kyd (2007)
Garry Schyman (2007)
David Robidoux (2007)
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Howard Shore (2006)
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John Debney
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Erik Lundborg
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Jeff Rona (1999)

 

   

 


   

 

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