Multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor Carolyn Voss says “I refuse to ever miss a good adventure.”
And adventures she has certainly experienced: travelling to all seven continents, over 40 countries, many of them third-world countries. All for the love of documentary film.
In the late 90s Voss spent a month in Ethiopia for a documentary on the African country. Ethiopia as a dynasty dates back to the second century B.C. It currently has a population of over 82 million. While most of its history saw monarchical rule, it now is fragile politically.
Voss, partnered with her cameraman, toured that world in a 50-year old MI-17 helicopter, shooting in cities, villages and rugged terrain. The helicopter had been built in the 1960s in Russia, spent years in Cuba, and now is in service based in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Abbaba. Ethiopia has 38 MI-17s. Voss travelled in one of the only two now functional.
Asked to describe her MI-17 flights, she says, “Many of the wires were disconnected… the cockpit instructions were in Cyrillic… there was no radio (and no one to call if it did work)… and we had to keep the equipment off the floors as they were awash in jet fuel.”READ MORE...
Film music exists to support and enhance the story. By creating emotion or underscoring action, music pulls the viewer into a far more satisfying experience of story. Historically, music did this for silent film long before actors’ voices were heard.
We reached San Francisco-based film music composer Thomas VanOosting, who brings to the table (keyboard?) 10 plus years of experience composing for features, documentaries and animated shorts. His most recent work includes co-writing the score for PBS’s Lincoln: Prelude to the Presidency, and the upcoming Columbine documentary 13 Families.
SUPPORTING THE STORY
When asked how he creates music to support story, VanOosting said, “First of all, I try not to over think it. As much as I can, I try to rely on my first instinct when I look at a film clip.”
VanOosting believes that whatever he’s feeling initially when he views a scene, there's a good chance that someone else is going to feel the same. When the scene is good he works at augmenting that feeling. When the scene isn't quite working, he’ll try and alter the feeling to some degree with his music. READ MORE...