It all started in the press room. Promptly at 3pm, Bear strode through the door exuding star-power personality and boundless energy! For the next hour, he patiently walked the press line answering every question with enthusiasm and excitement. Handsome and lithe, his commanding presence leaves little doubt this is the man who has produced such a prolific body of musical work!
Soon, my turn to ask questions… Bear responded with the same focus and attention afforded each press member in the room. Enjoy our brief exchange!
Daughter, Sonatine, costumed with sword in hand, posed with papa in the press line.
Bear then joined us for a round table discussion. Press members were allowed one question per round. The following recording contains all Q&A wherein Bear offers thoughtful, candid and pithy resposes. Hope you watch in its entirety!
During the round table discussion, I commented on Sonatine’s Quest, an original vocalization by Sonatine Yarborough McCreary and scored by her father. Here, Sonatine sings her feelings about a favorite storybook. Hope you listen to this wonderful creation by his wee lass (clearly, this apple fell close to the tree!).
And, she is only four years old!
After the round table, we scrambled to a different building for Bear’s panel presentation, The Music of Monsters, open to all attendees. He informed the packed session that he became enthralled with sci-fi films and monsters at age 5, after seeing Godzilla footage in Tim Burton’s 1985 film, PeeWee Herman’s Great Adventure!
Bear then posited this insightful premise: music is critical to film because it gives monsters a voice!
He then showed several outstanding examples of iconic music from sci-fi films to support this premise. At the end of each clip, he encouraged audience participation by inviting attendees to call out feelings the music evoked. Responses were numerous, robust and exciting as a vast range of emotions were called out from the floor!
For example, he showed an iconic image from the 1951 film classic, The Day the Earth Stood Still, reminding us of the ominous feelings this music awakens.
He is right! I saw this film at age 9, and to this day, I can recall the eerie music and the words: “Gort, Klaatu barada nikto!” Gort is the name of the menacing robot; Klaatu, the name of the humanoid alien (played by actor Michael Rennie). See the trailer here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaatu_barada_nikto.
Bear also showed a clip featuring his musical score for 2016, “10 Cloverfield Lane.” Bear’s intense and haunting music for this psychological thriller by producer J.J. Abrams establishes mood and scale, as seen in the closing moments of the film.
Bear shared footage from the 2019 film, Child’s Play, scored entirely with toy instruments. He didn’t expect this approach to be welcomed by the director, but it was! He showed this bit of the creepy “Buddi Song,” written by Bear and sung in a child-like voice by actor, Mark Hamill.
Although Bear didn’t perform the music live for us, in the following splendid video, he sings the theme from Child’s Play in a kiddie’s voice while playing multiple toy instruments: watch for bells, ukuleles, harmonicas, pianos, accordion, and several toys I can’t even name! His music gradually builds from innocent childish notes to a thoroughly menacing finale. Hear the theme song in its entirety here: https://youtu.be/YNjCEimjX_4
Bear’s last clip was from 2019’s, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. He shared his first version of Godzilla’s theme and, no surprise, it was excellent! Then, he played the final spine-thrilling, spine-chilling theme, building on music from an earlier Godzilla film, which proved mighty, powerful and awesome! This underscored how critical it is to continue with music until it is right; the final thunderous score is magnificent!
Listen to Godzilla’s theme here:
And, this video is a must see! It shows the collaboration of Bear, his orchestra, Tibetan monks and Japanese Taiko drummers producing music for Godzilla: KOTM:
The session concluded with a robust Q and A. Even after three hours of non-stop shop talk, Bear was as gracious and enthused as at the outset. We were more than lucky he attended 2019 SDCC!
In case you are not familiar with Bear’s prodigious resume, it includes his very first musical score created for Battlestar Galactica, ten years of writing music for The Walking Dead, five seasons composing music for Outlander, and themes for Rim of the World, and The Professor and the Madman, to name a few. Let’s congratulate him on his nomination for the prestigious 2019 Saturn Award for best film music. If I had a vote, he would get it. Thank you, Bear!
What a splendid way to spend an afternoon at 2019 SDCC!
A deeply grateful,
Photo credits: Bear McCreary, Defiant Public Relations, iMDB, OutlanderAnatomy, You Tube