Contact: Adrianna Perez, [email protected]
Composer Julian Scherle’s score for 2021’s sports drama Heart of Champions was, interestingly, inspired partly by rock climbing. At the time, he was living east of L.A., and his daily routine was to watch a few sequences from the film, then go climbing—a mentally strenuous activity that connected him to the film’s narrative about an Ivy League rowing team. “Climbing is like a meditation, and there’s a similar thing in the movie—the rowing team calls it ‘swing,’ Scherle says. “That’s how I understood the feeling I wanted to go after and how to communicate that.” It was his first orchestral score.
Scherle was not initially interested in writing music for film and television. “I was more interested in sound design, creating sound environments and weird textures and telling stories through that. I loved movies my entire life, but I wasn’t really interested in film music itself, because it felt like clichés. It’s a pretty obvious way of manipulating the audience. But I slowly started to understand you can depict emotion through sound in a much subtler way.”
Though it’s “old-school advice,” Scherle says it’s reliable when it comes to breaking into this field: “Make your decisions for the right reasons. Be aware that it’s a long journey. Just keep going, and develop a thick skin. You get rejected 95% of the time; don’t take it personal. Find projects you’re excited about and people you want to work with.”
Scherle, though he’s written music for multiple hit television shows including American Crime Story: People vs. OJ and American Horror Story, says he’s drawn to more experimental projects that allow him to explore new ways of approaching a score and reaching audiences. “We don’t know who we will reach with our projects. Sometimes I receive an email or message on something I did years ago from someone telling me they were touched by a story or could relate,” he says. “I think we have a sort of responsibility to create things that ultimately make this world a better place, and whenever I look at projects, I look at what it stands for, and what the message is, and is it something I can support?”