Do you specialize in film/television music or game music?

I specialize in both. My career started with scoring for film and television, after which point I spent five years as audio director for a game company where I designed and implemented a reactive game music system from scratch. I consider myself to be a dual citizen of two different disciplines, sharing similarities but with distinct cultures, technologies, and practices. In the end, everything is about musical storytelling, whether those stories are fixed or co-authored by a player.

Do you work with live musicians, or do you produce your music with a computer?

Either or both, depending on the artistic needs of a project and its budgetary realities. Some projects need a live orchestra and chorus, and others are best served by digital instruments. I am generally a proponent of using some live players when possible, for the vitality and organic quality they bring to a score. Sometimes a project would benefit from live musicians, but may not have the budget for a full orchestra or ensemble; in those cases I’ll outline several production options, some of which can incorporate musicians. A little human musicianship goes a long way!

How much do you charge?

In order for me to give you a meaningful number I need to ask a few basic questions about your project. (A big one is how much music you plan to have overall.) Please drop me a line, even if you’re just budgeting out options.

What do you know about dynamic/interactive scoring for games?

This is a big part of what I do. When I started out in game music I designed my own adaptive music engine from scratch. Glad those days are past! These days middleware like WWISE does a lot of the heavy lifting, but my experiences in the trenches makes me very sensitive to issues of how music interrelates to gameplay. I’m an active gamer (iOS, PC, and PS4 these days), which keeps the intuitive sense of how music responds to play fresh in my head. I’m happy to help plan the adaptive aspects of your score as much as you like, and my past in audio development means I can “speak programmer” and be aware of implementation nuances.

What’s your work process like for film?

With narrative film, I immerse myself in the story and find out everything I can about the director’s intentions for story and score. Since every director is an individual with particular musical tastes and associations, I try to establish a working vocabulary for discussing music and sense of likes and dislikes. Temp tracks and musical references are common enough, but I’m happy to provide some musical role models when asked for input. After that it’s an interative process of discuss-write-rewrite until final recording or delivery — often at quite a brisk pace given typical post schedules.

Documentaries often require a different approach. Some are closer to dramatic features in sensibility, while others may deal with intimate personal stories and require a more delicate touch. Others still might need little more than raw musical energy, and a sense of forward motion. Either way I work with the director to find a central narrative or theme to the material, and base the musical approach on that.

I have some additional questions!

Feel welcome to contact me via email or phone.

Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - Highlights
  1. Morituri Te Salutant // Michael Gordon Shapiro - Highlights
  2. Emerald, Texas // Highlights
  3. Mythic Battle // Highlights
  4. The Yard Sale // Michael Gordon Shapiro - Highlights
  5. Investigations // Highlights
  6. Home Room // Highlights
  7. Sands of Arabia // Highlights
  8. Spider Cult // Highlights
  9. Poker Night // Highlights