Commercial Music student produces soundtrack for short film

tytusBy Mary Norris
The Carolinian

USC Upstate Commercial Music student, Kaleb Alexander, also known as TYTUS, had the opportunity this year to score music for a short film shot this year by David Bliss titled “The Visitor.”

“The Visitor” features two main characters, Jake and Ian. The film starts with Jake playing video games in his apartment. He hears a knock on the door, and opens it to find a man on the other side, Ian. Ian, using overly-formal speech, tells Jake his car broke down and asks Jake if he can use his telephone to call his girlfriend. Jake suspiciously invited him inside. While they both wait, Ian begins to make conversation about Jake’s video games, and once he challenges Jake to a match, Jake’s night gets weird in the most alien of ways.

TYTUS revealed the official soundtrack for the film at a recent Music Friday in the HPAC Recital Hall. He explained his process for scoring film music.

“The Visitor” is a comedy, but is shot and staged like a horror film. Naturally, TYTUS composed jarring, retro-synth music.

The soundtrack for the film is made with electronic sounds. Using Logic Pro 10, TYTUS took the instruments programmed into the software for his sounds, and he also used Logic’s software synthesizers to create synth sounds of his own for the film. TYTUS only recorded one sound for the soundtrack – whispers, which are featured on the first track.

He recorded himself reading all of Ian’s lines both whispering and talking and reversed the takes to create a more alien sound.

“I prefer synthesizers and enjoy composing electronic music,” TYTUS said. “The problem I run into with a traditional orchestra soundtrack is I don’t have some of the very expensive plugins that you would need for… those natural sounds.”

By “natural sounds,” he means it would be difficult to create a sound that is similar enough to a cello or other strings instruments to have a realistic-sounding orchestra.

The process for scoring the nine-minute film began with Bliss’s general vision.

“David is very good in wanting to give not just the composer, but everyone that’s working on the project artistic freedom,” TYTUS said.

TYTUS plucked out basic theme ideas – based on Bliss’s initial examples on the piano – at his job at Carolina Christian Broadcasting. Once he received the rough cut of the film, TYTUS began composing more thoroughly, and he also edited the music after the final cut was finished.

“The Visitor” is currently on the on the film circuit for selection for short-film festivals, so it will be unavailable to view until the circuit finishes running.

The soundtrack, however, is available to stream on tytusofficial.com.

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