ALLAN K. ROSEN
I'm a fan of 80s/90s electronic scores, and as a guy who even watches the end credits, I have noticed the name "Allan K Rosen" appearing on many of the films which featured a score I enjoyed. I see on imdb that Mr. Rosen has 252 credits as music editor, so this is just a little chat about some of the things I personally know.
Jon: What exactly does a music editor do?
Allan: The Music Editor's responsibilities vary depending on the size, budget and scope of the films musical sensibilities. Unless the film is a musical, beginning work generally commences somewhere in the middle or towards the end of the filming process. I would say, one of my biggest responsibilities is to help in any way I can, the director achieve their musical vision. I am also there to provide an important link between the director and composer, responsible for all the music featured (Source Music and Score) to be placed correctly within the body of the film. My job usually begins with the "temp score". This is temporary music obtained from other film scores or other sources that help the director and editor achieve the right pace and emotional arch for the film. The "temp" score is also used for screening purposes, in addition, can be used as a template for the director to communicate with the composer the desired feel for the film. Once the temp score is complete, the music editor, composer, director, music supervisor, etc attend, what is called a "spotting session" noting where all music starts and ends. Normally a Music Editor provides the composer with a breakdown of each cue (spotting notes). From there the music editor keeps the composer apprised of any last minute picture changes, attends all recording sessions, prepares music for the final mix, and attends to any musical changes the director may want.
I think Jay was probably the first of a long list of recording artists I had the fortune to work with. (Mike Mills Bass Player REM, Wyclef Jean, Deep Forest, Iggy Pop). I was a big fan of Spirit, so was very excited to work together. Jay had built an amazing studio on his property in Montecito. A beautiful place to be creative. A common thread among recording artists, they all like to work starting in the late afternoon / early evening and work all night. Something I had to acclimate to doing. And as you are well aware, Creating a score electronically, especially in the 80's /90's was a painstaking process. This was during the birth of electronic scoring, which ultimately changed film scoring forever.You worked with Jay Ferguson on Best Seller and Pulse. Tell us about how you worked together.
I actually never had the opportunity to meet with David Foster. David Mansfield was the original composer on Fresh Horses. David and I have worked together on a lot of films and became very good friends. Although the director and producers loved what David M. had done, the studio wanted to go in another direction. I received a call late one night from David M. asking how everything was going. I was actually shocked that David M. had not been told. One of the hardest things I think i ever had to do was personally tell David M. that the studio decided to go in another direction. Pat Williams was then hired to write the score and I believe David Foster collaborated with Pat on the themes.
Did you team up with David Foster on Fresh Horses in 1988?
Steal The Sky and I Love You Perfect featured music by Yanni, a rare player on the Hollywood scene. How were these experiences?
Sounds crazy, but Initially, Yanni and I were brought together because of our having participated in sports. I had competed twice in the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and Yanni was a National Swim Champion in Greece. So his agent, someone I would occasionally run with on weekends, thought it would be a great idea for us to work together, something we both had in common, something we could talk about, and thought we would enjoy working together. He was right on all accounts. We had a blast! At the time Yanni was living in Laurel Canyon. He had a studio set up in his home, with a beautiful grand piano in his living room. My personal Yanni concerts! We spent a lot of time together. He would constantly preview for me, scenes he was working on, and I was continually amazed at his instinctual ability to contour the score around dialogue / action sequences to really make the music work well with what you were seeing. Yanni really had a great instinct for writing music to film.
I'm curious about the artist/band called ACROBAT, with whom you worked on a couple of late 80s projects. They even wrote additional music for Dead Solid Perfect, otherwise scored by Tangerine Dream. Who hid behind this name?
Unfortunately, I don't recall
Tangerine Dream's The Man Inside followed in 1990. Any particular things you remember from this?
I actually worked with Bobby Roth (Director) and Tangerine Dream on an earlier project "Dead Solid Perfect". As I recall, their studio was set up in the living room of a home they were staying in above the Sunset Strip in the Hollywood Hills. I spent a lot of late nights there!
Stone Cold, Dead Before Dawn and Stalking Laura were among the last US scores by Sylvester Levay before he left the business. Tell us about this line of work.
Sylvester thoroughly enjoyed what he was doing. And loved to entertain and cook! At the time, Sylvester had a home in the hills above Studio City, and would always prepare this incredible meal before we would start to work. He had a studio set up in his house. Thinking back to where the technology was, compared to where it has evolved, you wonder how anything ever got accomplished. Not to mention the consumption of time. I last saw Sylvester years ago, in Germany, when he invited me to speak at the International Film School in Cologne. We then attended a Musical that he had composed in Venice. I'm not really sure why he decided lo leave Hollywood. But his home in Germany is beautiful!
Harold Faltermeyer scored Kuffs from his Munich studio. How did this turn out?
The project actually worked out great. He was in Los Angeles for the spotting session, then scored and delivered everything from Munich. Conversed over the phone.
Leaving Normal featured a score by W. G. Snuffy Walden, where he incorporated the song The Show Goes On by Bruce Hornsby & The Range into the score in a clever way. A case of temp track love by the director?
Exactly! As you know, it happens quite often. Unfortunately the kiss of death, Leaving Normal was released on the weekend after the Los Angeles riots took place. When a curfew was implemented.
You also worked with Walden on The Stand, the brilliant Stephen King adaptation. Any memories from this?
Originally the studio did not want to have a Music Editor involved on this project. However, because of the magnitude of the film and the sheer volume of music, Snuffy and his agent insisted that I be brought on. In fact, Snuffy's agent actually negotiated my deal for me, making sure I was on board! I ended up spending a couple of months dubbing in New York while Snuffy was back in Los Angeles scoring. Really had a great time working with the director Mick Garris and film editor Patrick McMahon. On a side note... Snuffy had called and asked if I thought it would be okay if his friend and Godfather to his boys, Steve Perry could stop by and observe what it is we were doing. As it turned out, Mick used him to record an announcement over a PA system in the movie.
Heart Of Darkness is noticeable as the last film Stanley Myers worked on before he passed away. Did he even get to finish the score? How was it working under these circumstances?
Literally, The day I turned 40, I landed in London to work with Stanley on a film titled Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills. Directed by Paul Bartel. Stanley became aware that I had never been to Europe before, so he was personally taking me for a tour of London. He was one of the most talented, kind, gracious human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and working with. He even had the London Symphony play Happy Birthday to me!
I'm very proud of working on Heart of Darkness. It really is a wonderful movie. A lot of great talent attached to this film. I was aware that Stanley was ill, but we did not have the opportunity to see each other. We continually communicated over the phone. He being in London where he did the score and I in LA. I have never put great emphases on being nominated or winning an award, however this is one time, being Stanley's last film, that I was happy to have been nominated and win an Emmy for this project.
Did you have anything to do with the Deep Forest music in Strange Days?
Strange Days...... Where do I begin. Michael Kamen was the original composer attached to the film. For various reasons, Michael did not continue on. Because of my relationship with the Film Editor, Post Production Supervisor, Music Supervisor, and Jim Cameron, I was then brought on to work on it. I believe there was something like 50 songs in this film. A few of the songs used were from a group in France called Deef Forest. Kathryn Bigelow was intrigued with their music, contacted their management, had them flown to Los Angeles to have a meet and greet, and hired them to write the film score. They returned to France, returning back to Los Angeles a couple weeks later, to preview what they had done. This was their first venture into scoring a film, so the next day, after Deep Forest (Eric Mouquet and Michel Sanchez) returned to France, I was asked if I had a current passport, and was sent the following day to France, with the instructions to teach them how to score music to film. Spent a lot of time in France with them. Each had their own studio in their respective homes. Which made it somewhat of a challenge because they lived in two separate villages in the Northern part of France. We also would fly back to Los Angeles to work in a studio so Kathryn would be able to work with them and have a bit more input. Later on, Graeme Revell entered the film.
You stayed with Brad Fiedel all the way to his last scores, for Y2K and Purgatory. Did he openly state that he wanted to leave the film score business at this time in the late 90s?
Brad and I are great friends. We have been in the trenches working with Jim Cameron on various projects and survived to talk about it! Brad was one of the first composers that I am aware of that began to score projects literally out of his garage! He was really at the forefront of the electronic age of scoring to film. Brad was also one of the few, if any, of the composers that I am aware of, that could move seamlessly, composing scores for television and films. You know how difficult and fickle this business can be. I believe Brad was a bit frustrated, I know I was, that his career did not take a leap, after Terminator II and especially after True Lies. There was certainly enough films in that genre. I know that he has been involved in various other musical projects not related to film.
Have you done any work after 2007, or is the music editing a closed chapter now?
I had been working at Disney on a project for a few years, non related to Music Editing. In 2012, I went in for a simple operation, had an adverse reaction to the antibiotic that I was given, and came very close to dying. After that experience I made a reassessment, I had been in the industry for 35 years, I have a 14 year old daughter and a 4 1/2 year old son. I decided life is too short, my priorities changed, and I decided to retire. I have been truly blessed to have been able to work with the best musicians and composers in the world. To have had the opportunity to travel the world, recording with the best symphonies.
Side note. When the Motion Picture Sound Editors decided to include Music Editing, I was the first Music Editor to sit on the board. When I was voted into the Academy of Motion Pictures, Maurice Jarre was my sponsor.