Feedback Examples

Since your submissions are all different with individual strengths and weaknesses and it can vary a bit from judge to judge, we can not guarantee an exact length of the feedback.
However, the judges will take the same amount of time for each one, it will include specific points for you to improve on and it won’t differ much from these examples. 

Example Feedback 1:
Nicely crafted score, you created a tonal atmosphere that worked well with the film. You employed a well constructed melodic theme with interesting movement. Nice swell on opening titles. Your reactions to starts and stops of dramatic action within the film was very well done and excellently executed. Percussion choices work well with the tone of the film and I thought you allowed for space within the music that matched the narrative.
For larger moments, you could make your strings louder, and more to the forefront as there is no dialogue, don’t be afraid to be bigger. Sometimes I felt the theme repeated itself a little too often and would have liked to see you try different frequency ranges within your chosen instrumentation. The theme could appear in a lower register or with different rhythms depending on the narrative moment. Overall I was very impressed by your score.

Example Feedback 2:
Your score is an absolutely lovely approach for this film, greatly enhancing the storytelling and adding a lot of heart. The whistling element incorporated in your music has a unique character, a bit of whimsy and delight! Your theme is absolutely wonderful. Excellent attention to musical accents of the visuals such as eye blinks, etc. honor the traditional approach to scoring animation. You have a superb grasp of this musical genre, in addition to adding your own musical signature to this piece. Bravo!
A few details that could be improved upon:
:48 The musical build up to the rescue could have been more dramatic, thus providing a feeling of greater relief after the rescue from danger. You do create a musical build, but it needs to accelerate and intensify more before the rescue.
1:11 Once the fall begins, a heightened sense of drama, and musical feeling of falling would have enhanced this section even more.
1:14 This is the point where the wild ride really begins. Your musical change began a bit later on the cut, but the actual visual cue is the cart swopping into motion on the tracks. Move the active music earlier top match picture.
2:04 This moment of realization needs to be recognized musically. The point at which he sees his friend holding the berries needs to be honored. You reveal the group with the berries, but the moment starts earlier with his friend.

Example Feedback 3:
“Well done on a very effective score. You display a very mature combination of dramatic sense and compositional / orchestrational skill. Constructed from the 2 core elements of the main theme (first heard in the ethnic flute under the opening titles) and the boom chick berry-stealing hijinx in the high nylon string guitar / ukele / (banjo even? … couldn’t tell), the score evolves in charming ways Even in a short animated piece like this, it’s encouraging to hear one or more unifying thematic or motivic elements to keep the score cohesive, rather than just an unrelated string of synch-specific musical effects. The music is beautifully orchestrated … very cinematic … with a nice variety of textures weaving the different instrumental families in and out. It displays idiomatic writing for all of the instruments, keeping everyone in range & using comfortable registers … an important point to note when using a sampled orchestra (some of us are listening!). Your spotting was first class with stylish changes of mood and appropriate tension and release. Importantly, the scale of music suits the action … it’s small and intimate when we’re just dealing with the llama and the penguin and the berries; with fuller orchestra for the train; back to small before plunge into mine; big for mine car and flying flying through air. If I had one criticism (and it’s a minor one … very subjective), I feel after crashing into the snow and the beautiful transition to the llama’s sadness at realising he has lost the berries … the swelling strings and woodwinds at the cliff’s edge are too much for the scene. Koro is alone, isolated and sad … and I feel a moment of true empathy is lost to melodrama until the penguins enter and the wonderful main theme returns in all its full orchestral glory. One last pat on the back … enjoyed the change of texture during the mine car sequence where you dropped the brass out and had the strings (of all things!) hitting the llama’s head knocks against the ceiling beams. Lots of fun!”

Example Feedback 4:
“Nice opening, although the harp part is too busy. :18 The cartoony part on the harp should be on a different instrument. :25 Watch out for these little moments of silence. It’s best if they are avoided. No silence is the goal. Think of your score as a piece of string that is tying all of the visuals and sound effects together. When we have silence we are cutting this string. Too much use of pizzicato strings and staccato woodwind lines is another way we cut ‘the string’. :35 Good react. :44 Good drama. Could use a little more low end. :49 Hard out when he lands. :51-55 Nice use of your motif. Sync issue. :58 Penguin has two landings. 1:00 Fall them down. 1:04 Legato clarinet works better. The Cello tremolo should change pitch (it’s too static). 1:11 Good fall down. 1:14 Works pretty well, but the trombones are overpowering the active strings and the woodwind licks aren’t matched to any visuals. 1:27 I could use a bit more of a sense of flying. 1:34 Nicely played. 1:42 Nice landing. 1:52 Here is an opportunity for some nice melodic writing (never pass these up). The bassoon and clarinet seems to just be moving around each other and not really giving the ‘sadness’ the moment requires. 2:06 Nice. 2:12 The general feeling is fine, but the harp and the pizz. Business covers up your tune. Keep playing this material out until the end of the credits. A good animated score needs to be a unified piece of music that just happens to ‘hit’ all (and I do mean all) of the action/drama. You’ve done a nice job with this. “

Example Feedback 5:
“You have a good sense of whimsy and fun chaos that comes through your score! The overall mood matches the lightness of the visuals and the chaos of the story. However, I think that there are several things that you could do to help improve the impact of your score and its support of the scene. The tension underneath the train’s approach is good, but it should grow as it approaches the penguin on the tracks as we sense the fear from our lead character. There should be a sense of growing tension at 1:17 when the cart begins to teeter on the tracks, and this tension should increase througout the incidents that happen afterwards. The bit-noise that you use to acknowledge the penguin’s motion at 1:00 is really fun, and could be a great concept if you incorporated it more throughout! Remember: a good idea is worth exploiting! Your use of silence, while intended to be comedic, actually makes the scene feel more awkward and less chaotic than what we’re seeing on screen. Is the piccolo line an at 1:39 an intentional reference to Williams’ ET? If so, I’m not sure what the correlation is here, but if it’s not, be careful of your melodic and orchestration choices, as they can immediately take someone out of the motion of the scene. Your ET quote, for example, made me immediately start thinking about aliens and flying bicycles instead of animals careening through the air in a chaotic chase. There should be a musical shift at 2:02 when the berry hits our main character so that we feel we’re startled with him.The tune that you have and the orchestration around it supports the warmth of what comes after this moment, but there should be a slight lift, since we’re playing this from his perspective. I wish that you had used a portion of this theme in variation throughout the earlier parts of the film under the action because it’d be helpful for us to track with our main character. Melodic devices are terrific and can help string a series of events together so that they payoff at the end is useful! The transition to the end titles is a good recapitulation to the action that happened earlier in this short, but it’s a very jarring transition musically. Try speeding up your theme or altering it at the end so that you can have a big flourish of strings or harmonic change to get us from point B back to point A. Also, kudos on your programming, as it was quite good through most of the score and help your ideas translate well. “