10 Film Music-Related Things You Might Not Know About Jim Lochner
You can tell I’m going through a creative dry spell if I’m forced to focus a blog post solely on me. I usually try to be a bit more subtle about my self-aggrandizing than this. What makes it worse, with my Bio section and the numerous posts that I’ve posted over the last 18 months, you’d think I would have mined everything there is to know about me, at least with regards to film music. And perhaps I have. Only you can be the judge. If not, here are 10 film music-related nuggets that may or may not be of interest, in no particular order, and not a mention of THE OMEN anywhere!
I’m not a fan of reviews, especially writing them. For me, they’re difficult to write well. And as much as I like to tout new and old scores (and spout forth my opinion) as much as the next film music fan, there’s no particular reason why you should take my word over someone else’s for a particular score, either good or bad. Who am I to judge another person’s artistic endeavor? But the reviews generate the most traffic on the blog, so I keep writing them. Just know that every review you read on this site is like giving birth for me.
I like writing negative reviews even less. Unless it’s a score for a major film, I choose not to pollute cyberspace with or focus my time and efforts on more negative energy. I leave that to the message boards. Basically, I aspire to the words of Brad Bird.
I like to have at least 4-5 listens of a score before I even begin to write a review. It takes time for music to sink in, especially if I can’t (or won’t) watch the film. Between the need to live with the music for awhile and the birthing pains, some of my reviews are unfortunately not as timely as I’d like them to be.
I usually don’t read liner notes. Having written my share, like reviews, they’re tough to do well. Finding that perfect balance of historical information and musical analysis is challenging. Like all writing, some people do it better than others.
You wouldn’t believe this if you saw my housekeeping routine (or lack thereof), but I like order, especially in writing. Whether it’s a blog post, review, liner notes, what have you, give me a strong opening sentence that proceeds in a logical fashion to a strong closer. I can’t say I always achieve this myself, but it’s something I strive for…and wish more people did as well. (Is that too “Journalism 101”?)
I tend to put up a wall when it comes to the latest popular composer or score. I also do it with movies, TV shows, books, you name it. The minute something smacks of pop culture, I tune out. The more people gush and fawn over something, the less likely I am to enjoy it, that’s if you can even get me to watch/hear/read it. It may take me years to get around to a particular score or composer. If it’s stood the test of time, great. If not, I didn’t miss anything in the first place.
It may seem ridiculous to state it, but I like film music that has an emotional connection. As a music journalist, I can look at music objectively (or at least try to) and analyze it to death, usually finding a kernel of good in all but the most atrocious of compositions (which you’ll never hear about anyway–see #2 above). But if the music doesn’t elicit some emotion–sadness, joy, fear, excitement–then it fails, whether or not it “works” in the film.
I can’t remember ever attending a full-out film music concert. I’ve heard bits and pieces of film music at pops concerts back when I lived in Boston, but I avoid full concerts of film music like the plague. The “greatest hits” selections that are usually performed don’t particularly appeal to me, and the performances (from what I’ve seen/heard) don’t usually capture the energy and enthusiasm of the score. Have I been missing out? Perhaps. But I’m not yet convinced.
Out of the nearly 3,100 scores I own, I’ve seen roughly 1,000 of the films. In other words, just 33%. That goes to show that you don’t need to see a film (or opera, ballet, symphony, pop artist, etc.) to enjoy the music. The best film music transcends and lasts beyond its celluloid origins.
I’m a few months in to the Managing Editor position at FSM Online and I must say it’s been a real eye-opener. Reading the magazine with my editing hat on has expanded my views of film music. I just spent many bullet points telling you things I don’t like to do, and yet when I open myself up to reading other writers’ takes on film music, I invariably learn. The fact that there are so many people passionate about talking and writing about film music–for the magazine, on blogs and, yes, even on the message boards–is pretty remarkable. A heartfelt thanks from a (mostly) appreciative fellow fan.