The Legend of Korra composer Jeremy Zukerman recently chatted with Hypable about composing for television, an unexpected soundtrack, and the times when he just has to freak out.

What is your process of composing a piece of music for The Legend of Korra?

We start with what’s called a spotting session. Ben Wynn (lead sound designer for Korra and my business partner), Aran Tanchum (foley recordist for Korra), Bryan Konietzko (co-creator) and Mike DiMartino (co-creator) meet at Nickelodeon where we analyze the episode we’re about to begin working on. We talk about the music and sound design needs simultaneously which is fairly uncommon in the industry. It’s a good way to make sure there’s cohesion among the audio elements though. I leave with a good understanding of the music needs of the episode.

After the spotting session, I have two weeks to hand in a music preview. Of course I really only have about four solid days to compose as I’m finalizing the previous episode. That involves any revisions that have come from Bryan and Mike, prepping the music notation for recording sessions (thankfully I have a couple good people help me with that – it’s a ton of work), proofreading and tweaking the notation, recording strings, recording Hong Wang (Chinese multi-instrumentalist), editing recorded material, mixing and prepping the session which goes to the dub session (where all the audio elements are brought together – dialog, foley, sound design and music).

The actual process of composing might be very boring to watch! It’s a lot of me freaking out about how time is running out and then writing due to having no more time to freak out. I work at a computer and sometimes work with pencil and paper when it makes sense to do so. I’ve even recorded my voice to picture and used that as a map. I recently did that on a very orchestrally dense, fairly long action cue. First I recorded my voice, then I made an orchestral sketch on paper using the voice as a map. And finally I fleshed it out on the computer. There are many processes that work for me. It really depends on the type of cue and my mood…

What is your favorite part of that process?

I think it’s hearing the music come to life when we record the musicians. The simplest compositional idea will really spring to life and it’s really satisfying to record something that wasn’t mocked up in the demo because it can only be done by humans… Experiments or ideas that are realized. It’s especially nice when those ideas actually work. Ha!

Also, composing is a very solitary task and I really, really like the musicians on The Legend of Korra. Interacting with them breathes life into the process and gets me fired up.

What is the most challenging aspect of composing for The Legend of Korra?

Definitely sustaining the work flow. TV is brutal in its relentlessness. And Korra is very ambitious in every facet. It demands something way above and beyond and to not deliver isn’t an option to me personally. So there are many days where the energy and the inspiration isn’t there…but you still have to bring the A game.

Has working on The Legend of Korra been different from working on Avatar: The Last Airbender?

Very different. The nature of the anxiety has changed. It went from ‘how do I do this?’ to ‘how do I do this in time?’

I think I’m much better at what I do now. I feel more in control of the work and when I experiment it feels more specific and satisfying.

Also, The Legend of Korra tone is quite a bit more mature and with the live musicians (something I didn’t have for Avatar: The Last Airbender.) I feel like I can sometimes score Korra more like it’s a live action show, more minimal and subtle. Of course there are still plenty of grandiose epic moments.

Has working on Book 2 been different from working on Book 1?

Yeah, again I’ve learned a lot about working with the string sextet and Hong. In the beginning there was a lot more searching around in the dark (which can be really useful). And now with Book 2 there is a musical history and aesthetic in place. Still, Book 2 is very different than Book 1 in story and tone so it requires almost entirely new material. There are new instruments, themes, techniques, etc.

Is there anything special that viewers should listen for in the music of Book 2?

I wouldn’t want to color anyone’s experience. Viewers have made connections and noticed things I wasn’t even aware of as the composer! I’m excited to hear from them.

Do you have a favorite musical moment in the show so far?

Not one in particular. There is a recurring canonic idea based on gamelan that’s been fun to explore. I think episode 1×20 has some special musical moments. It’s also beautiful visually (no big surprise there, though it’s a stylistic departure).

Fans were really excited to see The Legend of Korra soundtrack released, and the response has been amazing. What has that been like for you?

I knew there was a fan base but I was not prepared for the reception. I’ve been flooded with email, tweets and Facebook messages from people who have had extremely profound experiences with the music. It’s incredible to me. I feel awful that I haven’t been able to respond to everyone but I am beyond grateful and touched.

Do you think we might get our hands on an Avatar: The Last Airbender soundtrack at some point?

There’s a decent chance of that happening. Especially because of the success of the Legend of Korra soundtrack. But it will be a TON of work and take a while to do. All that material was done on old computers and no longer supported software. And I would have to re-record some material, get some live musicians in, etc. If I’m going to do it, it has to be awesome… I think I may need to assemble a small team to put it all back together but I think it needs to be done.

If you could be a bender, what would you bend?

I thought I was an airbender… Isn’t making music airbending?

For more about Jeremy Zuckerman…

Jeremy Zuckerman grew up in New York and first worked in music as a CD shrink-wrapper. One half of the music and sound design team The Track Team, Jeremy plays many instruments, including guitar and something called a duduk. You can connect with Jeremy on Facebook and on Twitter as @JeremyZuckerman. For more information, check out his personal website at JeremyZuckerman.com.

The Legend of Korra: Original Music From Book One is available on Amazon and iTunes.

Come back for daily ‘Legend of Korra’ coverage and join in the conversation with hashtag #SeptBender!

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Quiz: How well do you remember the 2007 Oscars?

3:32 pm EST, January 18, 2017

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

Read full article

As the 89th Academy Awards approach, we take a trip back to 2007 to see how memorable the ceremony really was 10 years ago.

Ah, the Oscars. What a night. Glitz and glamour, lots of rich and beautiful people crying and thanking each other. What’s not to like?

Related: 2016 Oscars: Leo finally wins, Mad Max: Fury Road cleans up

In 10 years, will we look back at the 2017 Oscars and remember every detail of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling awkwardly accepting award after award for La La Land while the other nominees politely clap and try not to grit their teeth? Or will the event fade into distant memory?

Maybe we can get an answer to that question by dialling back the clock to 2007 and see just how clearly we remember the 79th Academy Awards.

How did you do? Tell us how well you remember the 79th Academy Awards in the comments!

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be unveiled Tuesday, January 24.

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

Read full article

You may know that one of those dogs-are-so-great-and-warm-our-hearts movies, A Dog’s Purpose, is hitting theaters very soon. Unfortunately, it’s now embroiled in controversy.

TMZ has released a video from the film’s Canadian set depicting a German Shepherd being forced into a fast-moving stream of water. As you can tell, the dog clearly does not want to go in it.

The most upsetting part of the video comes at the very end when we see the dog finally in the fake river but having trouble staying above water. The crew calls cut to rescue him/her.

“Sources connected to production tell us eight outboard motors were used to churn the water and recreate a rushing river,” says TMZ. “The dog eventually got in the water — or was forced in — but was quickly submerged.”

At 1:28 in the below trailer you can see a scene that looks similar to what was being filmed in TMZ’s video:

Universal and their partners at Amblin told TMZ in a statement, “Fostering a safe environment and ensuring the ethical treatment of our animal actors was of the utmost importance to those involved in making this film and we will look into the circumstances surrounding this video.”

A Dog’s Purpose stars Dennis Quaid and Britt Robertson. It opens next Friday, January 27.

Update: Josh Gad, who voices a dog in the movie, issued the following statement on Instagram. He speaks highly of the film but says he finds the leaked video “disturbing.”

“While I do not know all of the details and cannot speak to the level of care and caution that went into this moment (as I was never on set for the marking of this film), I am shaken and sad to see any animal put in a situation against its will.”

Since apparently some of you did not see the statement I issued last night, here it is again.

A photo posted by Josh Gad (@joshgad) on

We’re suddenly way less interested in seeing this.

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Read full article

Moviegoers may be getting the Spidey we’ve all been hoping for! A new report reveals that Sony’s animated Spider-Man movie, set to hit theaters in 2018, will focus on the Miles Morales Spidey.

Update (January 18, 2017): Sony Animation confirmed on Wednesday, January 18 that their animated Spider-Man movie will star Miles Morales!

Original story (May 2016): Heroic Hollywood, who has a good record of breaking superhero news, is the source behind the exciting development. As was previously announced, the animated Spider-Man movie will be produced by LEGO Movie helmers Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The duo are also set to direct the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff for Lucasfilm.

Who is Miles Morales? As we wrote in a lengthy tell-all about the character last year:

Miles Morales is the current Spider-Man in Marvel’s Ultimate Comics series. Introduced in 2011, Miles is a black-hispanic young man who, like Peter Parker, is a talented scientist and self-proclaimed nerd. However, unlike his predecessor, Morales steps into the superhero’s shoes at the surprisingly young age of 13.

Raised in Brooklyn, Miles was born into a family plagued by criminal activity. Before settling down with his wife Rio, Miles’s father Jefferson used to be crime partners with his brother Aaron (Miles’s uncle). However, where Jefferson tried to shrink away from the lifestyle, Aaron continues to embrace it — assuming the role of classic Marvel villain the Prowler. After pulling off a heist on Oscorp, Aaron unknowingly takes a genetically modified spider home with him. It is at Aaron’s house that Miles is bit by the spider and starts the transformation into Spider-Man.

Where Peter Parker relished the opportunity to become spidey, Miles is reluctant to enter the world of vigilantism. What’s more, his family’s criminal history causes him to question whether or not he can ever be a hero, or if evil is hardwired into him.

Oh, and one other cool thing about him: The guy is immortal, unlike the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man.

Related: Who is Miles Morales? We explain everything

The rumor mill was alive with chatter about the MCU’s Spidey being the Miles Morales version last year, but obviously those reports never panned out. The Peter Parker version of Spider-Man was introduced in Captain America: Civil War, played by Tom Holland. He’s getting his own spinoff film, Spider-Man: Homecoming, next year.

Telling the Miles Morales story on screen may be just the thing the animated Spider-Man movie needs in order for it to draw people into the theaters in December 2018. We’ve had enough Peter Parker stories!

2018 will be a great year for super hero diversity: Marvel’s Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman will be released a few months earlier.