UNC junior Jason Reiser wants to be a film composer, so when he got the opportunity to score animated short films in Music 266: Advanced Composition, it felt like the perfect project for him.
During the fall 2020 semester, UNC students in an advanced music composition class collaborated with N.C. State University students in an animation studio to apply what they learned to create and score animated short films.
Students in UNC music professor Allen Anderson’s Advanced Composition class took the prompt "Dreaming Through Walls" and composed short pieces of music. At the same time, students in N.C. State associate professor Marc Russo’s animation studio began to create storylines for their animated shorts.
“We had this title ‘Dreaming Through Walls,’ which Professor Russo and I both described to our students as fanciful commentary on the condition we found ourselves in of having to relate to people at a distance, or that due to COVID we were separated from one another,” Anderson said.
While films are usually scored after they are completed, these students worked on the animations and music simultaneously.
The animators listened to the compositions and selected pieces to accompany their films. Once students were paired up, they communicated back and forth, taking inspiration from each other's work and tweaking things to arrive at their final product.
“They really had this artistic collaboration once they came together, once the composers got to see the story, once the animators got to hear the composition, to sort of craft the two things together to create the final animations,” Russo said.
Because there were more animators than composers, some music was used for multiple films and some composers created more than one piece of music.
Reiser, who is majoring in music at UNC, ended up scoring many of the animations.