A simple stroke of good fortune brought Timothy Williams his first gig in film composing: as an aspiring concert pianist in high school, Williams was at the keys one day at St. Michael’s University School when Seven Up! director Paul Almond, who was shooting a project at the school, overheard him playing and invited Williams to score a film for him.
“It was a great excuse to miss class,” Williams jokes, but the experience (though he’d always admired the work of John Williams and Ennio Morricone) first initiated his interest in a film music career. After training at the national film school in England, he worked for the BBC before moving to Los Angeles where he first worked as an orchestrator before moving on to score films such as Wild Horses and The Butterfly Circus.
As an established composer, Williams gets more than his share of redundant demos. “We try and rip off John Williams or someone we admire, but unfortunately, you have so many now interested in film scoring as a career,” he says. “I think it’s one of those things where if people take the time to really explore what they have, I find that far more interesting to listen to. It doesn’t matter how good someone is at ripping off a well-known composer; find your own voice.”
The advice is easier said than done, but Williams pulled his own voice out of one of his most recent projects, Diablo, in which he dismantled the standard sound for the western psychological thriller. But getting an opportunity won’t help you if you don’t have the skills. “Learn as much as you can,” Williams says. “The pace and speed of scoring is so intense that you really need to have all the basics down. It’s not just a question of getting the opportunity.”
Most recent: Diablo