A diet of Disney musicals as a child spurred Austrian-born composer Edwin Wendler’s interest in film music. Now 40, he most recently scored three horror films released appropriately in time for Halloween. In Austria, film music at
the time was considered subpar to the classical music tradition, so Wendler came to UCLA Extension to study film and music. His break came through an entry in the 48-Hour Film Festival, in which Wendler had two days to score a short project. The cinematographer remembered his results, and eventually referred Wendler to director Hank Braxtan––who gave Wendler a shot at scoring Unnatural.
The film’s editor then forwarded Wendler’s name, which again led to a gig: I Spit on Your Grave 3. Needless to say, word-of-mouth has worked for Wendler, who also worked on Little Fockers, Fear Factor and X-Men: Days of Future Past. “The most obvious thing is to not give up,” he says, after two decades of working in the industry. But he also recommends praise where it is due.
“Also seek out work you love. If you love the director’s work, they may have a great working relationship with another composer, in which case it would be weird to insert yourself, but you never know. Always be polite and kind and full of praise, exclusively when it’s honest.”
Young composers should connect with as many filmmakers as possible, Wendler adds, and they should use social media to help track them down and for communication purposes.
“I found a picture for David Weinstein’s profile,” he says. “It showed an image of a computer-generated character that was full of character and emotion, and I responded to it and asked if he was working on anything. Fortunately, that very day, David was looking for a composer. That’s how I worked on Azareus Rising. Every contact is a good contact.”
Most recent: I Spit on Your Grave 3, Unnatural, Tales of Halloween