The Cable Guy / 1996 Composed

The Cable Guy / 1996
Suite from The Cable Guy
# Title Duration
Main Theme 1:41
Finding the Sweet Spot 0:00
The Satellite Dish 0:00
Killing the Baby Sitter 3:35
Channel Surfing / Messages 0:00
The Tower 0:00
Memories 0:00
Turn of Events 0:00
No New Friend 0:00
Spiders and Threats / Steven's Pursuit 0:00
Moving On 0:00
Final Joust 0:00
The Airduct 0:00
Jail Threat 0:00
Garage Chase 0:00
"I'd Lock Up" 0:00
The Water fight 0:00
"This Concludes Our Broadcast Day" 0:00

Director's Quote

"John's one of those young and extremely talented savant guys, but he's much more rounded than a savant. He's a perfectionist who cares as much about the film as the director."
- Ben Stiller

View a sample score sheet from "Main Theme"

John's Thoughts

Before I even considered composing for films, I was always afraid to delve into the field because of all the horror stories I'd read about what other composers go through on the stage as they recorded their scores. This is why I never subscribed to Film Score Monthly, just because the stories made me not want to pursue composing! One article I read was about Goldsmith recording his score to Star Trek on stage as they were mixing the film on the next. Another story was about Alan Silverstri having to re-write music on the spot with musicians out on stage, and on and on. Well, The Cable Guy was a great maiden voyage, as every one of those fears wrapped up into one film came to fruition, allowing me to face all of those nightmares head on. At the last session Sandy DeCrescent even said, "I really have never seen it this bad before." So I feel somewhat triumphant that I got through it unscathed.

I was contracted to be on the film for a ludicrous amount of time: from the first day of shooting. So as they cut scenes, I would score them. The first 3 hour cut of the film was temped with my synth renderings of the score, which I constantly re-wrote as the scenes changed. This "scene-changing" frenzy never ended all the way through the final recording of the score.

After all these months of writing we began recording the score. But because of 11th hour re-editing of the film we needed to reschedule for more dates - the irony is that after having been on the film for all that time, I had to re-write half the score in one week to accommodate the new picture. When we got to the final recording days, scene changes were still arriving; we would record a cue to everyone's liking when all of a sudden, an editing assistant would run into the control room and say, "Wait! That scene is different now." BOOM - my nightmare was happening - and they were dubbing the actual film as we were recording the score. As the 90 piece orchestra sat fiddling their thumbs, I found myself at a piano with Larry and Damon singing, erasing notes, and rewriting chords while our copyist Janice Hayen watched over our shoulders to transcribe quicker than a court reporter. The project was ultimately finished - successfully. And I learned a valuable lesson for a composer - GO TO THE DUB. The score was horribly mixed and was not released commercially because the union re-use fees were too high.

Tidbit: "This Concludes Our Broadcast Day" was my cut on the rock album which was released in stores. Because they had to master the CD before I ever recorded a note of the actual score, I wrote a piece that I would be basing the score on. I also added it to the end of the promo score album. I wanted to record it live and not a synth rendering, so two months before recording the actual score, I got a bunch of young student musicians together and we recorded the piece in Burbank. (At the age of 21, Damon conducted the piece. We're not sure if that's an age record or not). After some wiz-bang mixing, it ended up sounding pretty good. I also had begun writing a prototype theme to Snow White which we played through once to see how it would sound. I was thrilled with what I heard, but because of time restraints, we were unable to record it. It gave me the knowledge, however, that when we would record the theme one day, it would sound great.