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Showbiz Update: Canada - The West: Music

CLINTON SHORTER
“District 9” composer Shorter, a self-described “control freak,” is known for his versatile sound and strives to serve “whatever the story and director require in order to connect the audience with the film,” he says. According to “District 9” editor Julian Clarke, instead of limiting himself to traditional score elements, “(Shorter) often brings in unconventional or processed elements, which give his music a really rich modern quality.” Shorter has scored more than 300 episodes for TV, numerous commercials and indie films. He is wrapping “Contraband,” starring Mark Wahlberg, for Working Title/Universal.

CHRIS AINSCOUGH
Ainscough’s gift, says director Michael French, is “being able to translate pure emotion seamlessly into music and back again.” French last collaborated with Ainscough on “Heart of a Dragon.” Ainscough says such inspired compositions take a deliberate approach: “It is important to me to get the calculated brain out of the way, and let the inspired part take over.” He got his start in sound post, which gave him an understanding of how to create a multi-layered soundtrack. “Chris is an inspired composer first,” says French, “But his sense of beat allows him to edit pictures with a technique that anchors the post-production process in much the same way a great drummer anchors a great band.”

DON MACDONALD
Macdonald’s work spans genres, from opera to music for horror films, and that versatility is the key to his success. Recently, he completed work on the Weinstein Co.’s psychological thriller “The Chaos Experiment.” It is not unusual to find Macdonald singing and improvising rhythms and themes while composing — when no one else is in the room, of course. Otherwise it is “potentially a disastrous career move,” he jokes. Director Andrew Currie, whose zombie film “Fido” was scored by Macdonald, admires the composer’s bold approach and particular versatility: “He can compose in any genre you can imagine.” Indeed, Macdonald is also a violinist, has conducted orchestras and even had a rock band. But best of all, says Currie, he’s a good listener, which is “rarer than you’d think.” Macdonald is busy working on an opera and three pics over the next six months.

BEN MINK
“Ben is one of the most interesting composers I’ve worked with,” says director Kari Skogland, whose “Fifty Dead Men Walking” he scored. Throughout his prolific career, Mink has recorded for numerous artists including Feist, Barenaked Ladies, Anne Murray, Elton John and Roy Orbison. His work with k.d. lang earned him several Grammy nominations and he has also received a Juno Award for songwriter and producer of the year (1993), along with two LEO Awards for Sundance Channel’s “Terminal City,” and the Syfy miniseries, “Alice,” and a Gemini Award for the doc “Confessions of an Innocent Man.” “He has a wonderful sense of character, which for my work is critical because I like the score to add a layer to the storytelling rather than just reflecting the mood,” says Skogland.

BRIAN CARSON
Nerd Corps Entertainment series director Johnny Darrell frequently works with Carson and describes his music as catchy, finding himself unable to stop humming it. Carson has produced a diverse range of music for EA, CBC, Discovery Channel, E!, Warner Bros, MTV, Lionsgate, Nelvana, ABC Family and the Cartoon Network. Per Darrell, Carson brings a legitimate modern alternative edge to his work. The composer likes to develop distinct motifs for plot lines, characters and relationships in a way that allows them to “fit together like a puzzle into a cohesive and harmonious whole that is pushing all the right buttons and putting the focus where it needs to be,” says Darrell.

NATASHA DUPREY
With a real knowledge of the indie world, Duprey keeps incredibly busy as director of music supervision at S.L. Feldman & Associates. The full-service entertainment company based in Vancouver offers music supervision and event production, in addition to talent-booking services for artists such as Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Duprey spent over a decade working in artist management and musicvideo production before tackling music supervision in 2003. Since then, she has amassed credits on such shows as Showtime’s “The L Word,” MTV’s “Peak Season” and the Lifetime miniseries “Seven Deadly Sins.” Current projects include the features “Foreverland,” “Three Days in Havana” and the Food Network’s “Eat Street.”

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