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Film Scoring

Starts June 2

3 sessions: Wednesdays, June 2-16, 7–9pm

This introductory level online course will focus on the essential techniques of creating sound and music for film. We’ll cover various software production techniques (including synthesis, foley, and sampling of acoustic instruments), as well as compositional techniques, and study/analysis of significant film scores. The featured sound engine of the course will be the Hans Zimmer designed Dark Zebra instrument by Berlin’s U-He, so come prepared for an intense and riveting sound experience.

The instructor will be using Ableton Live 11 to demonstrate application of audio design concepts and production techniques covered. Students are encouraged to download a free version for Mac or PC here. Any digital audio workstation that includes Logic, ProTools, Audacity, or FL Studio, is also fine for this course. Students also need headphones.

No experience necessary in writing music, music theory, or audio software. All skill levels are welcomed.

Session 1: The Mechanics of Sound Design

  • Synthesis and sampling – when and how
  • Core elements of a score: rhythm, harmony, melody, and ambience
  • Technical matters: time code, file formats and mixing
  • Software overview: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Reaktor, and ReWire

Session 2: Working with Samples

  • Working with sample libraries for realistic orchestra and instrument sounds
  • Building your own sample libraries
  • Getting the most out of your sampling instrument
  • Sequencing and arranging tricks

Session 3: Compositional Techniques

  • Tropes: arpeggios for the time lapse, ostinatos for the chase scene, legato for the love scene
  • The basics of harmony and its impact
  • Working with foley and non-musical sounds
  • Maximizing sonic range and depth with effects processing
  • Professional arrangement workflows

NOTE: Participation in this online course requires that you use the free Zoom cloud-based video conferencing service. For optimal performance it is recommended that you install Zoom on your computer rather than running it from a web browser. We’ll e-mail you a course reminder and Zoom link a few days prior to the first session. Click here for a Zoom tutorial.

Tuition: $130 / $105 low-income

James Patrick is a Minneapolis-based music producer, composer, label owner, entrepreneur, and educator. He has over 20 years of professional experience performing at and directing historically significant electronic music events in the Minneapolis area. A pilot member of the Ableton Trainer Certification program, James participated in the first wave of trainer certifications and has been a critical force among the user base in the US. After more than a decade of teaching synthesis and sound design at various institutions including NYC’s Dubspot and Minneapolis’ Institute for Production and Recording, James cofounded Slam Academy in 2012, an Electronic Music School and Ableton Certified Training Center. James uses his professional involvement in both academic and popular electronic realms to unite the creative energy, ideas, and people of his community.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full. Registrations are accepted after registration deadlines if space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 7 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund within 2 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee. As of 5:00 pm the day prior to a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given (Friday at 5:00 pm for Sunday classes). 
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.




June 2 @ 7:00 pm
June 16 @ 9:00 pm
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James Patrick
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Class count or Info
3 sessions: Wednesdays, June 2-16, 7–9pm