“There are a few aspects to ‘The Missing.’ One of them is the thriller element — how to get the child back,” reveals Emmy-nominated composer Dominik Scherrer in our new video webchat (watch below). The popular Starz limited series concerns the disappearance of a young boy in France and his parents’ efforts to find him. Adds Scherrer, “The story has a kind of ripple effect as well, and it starts to affect a lot of other people; this one event has this big impact on a lot of people.”
According to Scherrer, director Tom Shankland described the storyline as “a little bit like the life cycle of a butterfly. It maybe starts as a larvae and then it turns into a caterpillar, and then eventually through metamorphosis it turns into a butterfly. So it’s almost like this story goes through the same kind of metamorphosis. I found that quite inspiring, so I started to write these themes based on butterflies. It’s quite nice. Rather than to start writing sort of thriller music, I almost started from a kind of lyrical point-of-view first, and then created a few of these bigger themes which could be used.”
Blending these two elements together may sound like a challenge, but according to Scherrer, “What really helped was to be in there early on. Basically I was working with the script, rather than with a rough cut or a fine cut. I think it helps you much more to be in the story rather than illustrating something afterwards.”
“It’s an intellectually challenging show, and I don’t think the music needed to make it more complicated: it had to make it simpler really,” Scherrer notes. He solved this problem by creating a small number of musical motifs that would play throughout. “I was very careful to stick to our themes. Throughout the series, I think we only had six themes, but they play out in all sorts of ways, and I think that really, really helped to make it stick together. Even though there is actually quite a lot of music in it, it didn’t feel like it was complicated viewing for people.”
Scherrer received his first Emmy nomination for Best Music Composition for the Starz limited series. Check out our full interview below to learn more about his work on “The Missing.”
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