So how did I end up working for Disney?
It was 2002. I subscribed to a service called Advance Production News. They would send out a regular bulletin with TV and Films projects that were about to go into Production. There would be a brief synopsis of the project, along with the name and phone number of the Producer. It was sent out in the post.
I read about Spooky Sisters, it was Disney UK's first-ever animated series and it gave the name and number of Richard Moore, the writer and producer. I gave him a call, and introduced myself. I happened to call at the exact moment when he was thinking about the music for the series. The Spooky Sisters were two young girls who travelled the world, solving the great mysteries of the world. Mysteries such as Crop Circles, Eygpitan Mummies, The Loch Ness Monster, Stonehenge and so on. It was a pilot (12 episodes) and, if Disney liked it, they might commission a lot more episodes in future, maybe as much as 300.
He had someone in mind who he was going to ask to write the music but he sounded interested in what I might come up with. He played some music down the phone to give me an idea of the style but it was so distorted I could barely make it out. He asked me to come up to the Disney offices the following day with what idea I might come up with.
I sat in front on the my keyboard. I wanted to come up with a melody, something quirky. Melody has never really been my thing, I have always been more interested in harmony but I played around for a while. I hit on the ideal of writing a 12-tone melody, that would use all the notes without repeating them. This was one of the many styles I had studied for my Degree in Music and Related Arts and I was so thankful for that education!
As it turned out, the melody wasn't strictly 12-tone, there was one note that was not used and another one used twice but that's the joy of having rules. How much you follow them is up to you!
OK, so I had my melody. I now had to turn it into something that I could put onto a CD and take up to London the following day. I worked until 4am. I think I had to be at thew Disney offices by 12pm and of course it was 1hr 45 mins on the train followed by 45 mins on the Tubes in total.
It was really good to meet Richard. I played him my tune, he heard it a few times and then he said he would think about it and get back to me the following day, which was a Friday.
He didn't call on the Friday and I had a rather anxious weekend. He then called me on the Monday and said that he liked the tune, the more he heard it. He said had was going to speak to someone but then wasn't sure if they would come up with anything he liked more, so he asked if I wanted the job!
It was an absolutely amazing experience, I will detail more with each episode. It was the most intensive and best experience I ever had as a composer and naturally thought, after 7 years of hard slogging, my career as a composer for TV & Film was about to take off.
It actually turned out to be that last gig I ever did. Disney didn't commission any further episodes, although I did some music for a few Disney promos, there were no other significant opportunities.
I was not concerned. After all, I had Disney under my belt, surely I would have no trouble getting work elsewhere in future? However, it was not to be. It took a few years to realise it. It was a difficult one to get my head around.
In hindsight, if I had set up a business on the side at the same time as I pursued a career in music, maybe doing websites, I would probably still be getting commercial gigs now but then again, if I hadn't been so single-minded about it the first place, I would have got the opportunities I had.
Anyway, to have written all the music for Disney UK's first-ever animated series was a pretty cool way to go out on. I loved every single minute of it!