Transcription: 0333 - Roger Neill

Released: July 5, 2020

Darwin: Okay today, I have the great opportunity to talk to somebody that was actually introduced to me by this person's publicist. His name's Roger Neill, and as I got the info and the more I learned about him, the more intrigued I was. I mean, quite frankly, it was pretty intriguing to find out that his and my birthday are the same day. So that was a great start. I knew there was going to be some alignment, but as I went through his body of work, I was really pretty blown away. And so, I'm very excited to get a chance to talk to Roger Neal. Hey, Roger, how's it going?

Roger Neill: Hey, great!

Darwin: Good to talk to you. I thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to have this chat. I really appreciate it. For people who might not be aware of your work, why don't we start off by having you talk a little bit about what you're currently working on and what your body of work represents?

Roger Neill: Oh, great. Yeah. Well, I'm a composer, I'm a film composer, primarily film, television, games. Most recently I did something that has come out this month called Valley Girl. So my more well known projects include the film 20th Century Women and Beginners. Those were Academy Award winning films - although not for me - but great films. The TV series, Mozart In The Jungle series, King of the Hill, and many others. I've been doing this for a number of decades now.

Darwin: Yeah you have, you have quite a quite a body of work indeed. I was lucky enough to stumble across your Soundcloud page. And it's a neat compendium of a lot of your work. Now, one of the things I thought was interesting was that you seem to be super adept at latching onto any sort of stylistic thing and really bringing it home in a pretty straightforward way. So whether it's late-seventies, synth poppy kind of stuff, or etherial ambient or especially - one of the things I noticed was that you have done some scoring work for a recent set of animations on adult swim by JJ Villard. Listening to that, that seemed like every 20 seconds there was a completely different musical style. Tell me a little bit about how you feel about working in that kind of thing and having to embrace the styles on a minute by minute basis.

Roger: Well, it's the tricky thing about being a film composer, because you need to be in some ways a scholar of music genres, just because you want to be able to have access to the sounds that are appropriate to any moment or any storyline that you're going to be involved with. And you're more likely to have a thriving career if you can put on a number of different identities as a composer. Sometimes I liken it to being a character actor who can play a lot of different kinds of roles, but always hopefully has that one thing about them that makes them interesting in every role - someone like a Gary Oldman or Willem Defoe, that kind of character actor. They're always themselves, but they also bring something so unique and you can see those guys in period pieces and different identities.

Roger: And so the film composer, it's kind of a similarity cause you kinda need to be able to put on different kinds of identities, but also hopefully have your own voice and that's a tricky thing. I think this is the kind of a thing that a lot of us composers strive for. Now with JJ Villard's Fairy Tales, we took advantage of that because JJ is a nut and he's always bouncing around tonally and stylistically with his animation and the storytelling. So we're always - like every 20 seconds - changing to some other reference or some other kind of sound, you know? So we switched to take advantage of just like the different tools in the toolbox.

Darwin: Sure. Is there, is there any style that you particularly feel at home with and, conversely, any style that is really particularly hard for you?

Roger: Well, I'm a conventionally trained classical musician on one hand. And the other hand, like I'm a guitarist, I'm like a pop music guy, record producer-songwriter, and I have that sensibility as well. So, that helps you mix it up and sort of an arsenal of abilities that I can use for whatever comes across. Now, occasionally, there might be times when I'm asked to do something that's stylistically specific, which is not in my wheelhouse, but sometimes that actually gets really interesting results. Like for example, this hasn't happened, but let's say I was asked to do a soundtrack for a film in the style of Drake. (I wouldn't be the first call for that, but let's say someone [did].) I probably wouldn't be able to pull it off effectively if that was really the intention, but on my journey to try to sound like Drake, I would probably come up with something at least unusual that might really be the best result.

Darwin: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. You know, there's all kinds of questions about the mechanics of doing film composition and I'm sure that every project is different, but how often you find yourself in a position of working with film directors or animation directors or whatever, where they fancy themselves musicians a bit as well - and so they ended up being really involved in the scoring process?

Roger: Yeah. That does happen. There's kind of a stock reply from composers, generally, because I will talk to my composing colleagues and we'll share war stories, and there's sort of a cliche with some truth to it, which is that the most dangerous director or producer is someone who has a little bit of knowledge - because the little bit they know is exactly how to ask you to wrong questions and to direct you in the wrong way. But, for the most part, I feel like it's my job as a film composer, as a collaborative storyteller, to find a way to really communicate with the director. I mean, I'm inviting them into my field. And so sometimes they may say things which may be questionable and I will hopefully find a way to help define what they're looking for, or even if they have no idea, what kind of words to use to talk with me about music. I will help them find a way to speak in a way that gets me to write the music that they're looking for.

They have something in mind, the fact that they have something in mind, but they end up there on a journey that you're trying to help them complete. Some directors who really love hanging out with me in my studio and will almost to the point of writing the score with me sitting next to me; when it works well, it works really well. Except it goes a little bit slower.

One director who I respect quite a lot is Mike Mills, who directed me in 20th Century Women and a number of other projects. And he's a pretty good amateur musician, but he has a very strange ear. And he's the guy that will sit right next to me in the studio as I'm writing things when he has the time up to do so. What he does, which drives me nuts is... Let's say it's a piano piece and it's somewhat interesting except it has one particular cool melodic gesture, let's say. He will love it except for the one cool melodic gesture - he will take that out. So I end up taking out everything that is interesting. And then I'm forced to make these decisions musically that I wouldn't otherwise make myself, like I would definitely not take out that cool part, but the result is surprisingly fascinating because I ended up with a finished composition which is put together by choices I wouldn't have otherwise made. But at the end of the day, somehow I have to make it all work. And by adhering to his ear, it works in an interesting way, and a new way, a fresh way. That's unlike anything I would normally do. And so there are certain directors I work with where the music I write with them is different from any other music for anybody else. Cause I'm following their instincts and their biases and their prejudices. And I like that kind of collaboration a lot.

Darwin: Cool. So I already have about a million questions, but before we get burning into that, one of the things that's a hallmark of this podcast is talking to people about their beginning stories, how they got to be the artists that they are. And I'm particularly curious about yours - again, because you do have to have this really broad range of knowledge of musical study, but also, listening to your work, there's clearly some really well studied classical background in there as well. So I'm curious to know a little bit more about your background growing up, were you like a band kid or a piano lesson kid? How did you move doing the compositional thing? What was the thing that tipped you into composition versus performance? I'm curious about those kinds of stories. Could you fill me in a little bit on that?

Roger: Sure. Well, that's going to go way back, but there is an answer to your question. I've been a musician since I was a kid, I think, probably since about really like age 9 or 10, it was clear that I was dedicated to be a musician and I was going to be a musician. And that was my thing. There was never a Plan B, you know? I think, like a lot of us, particularly in that... I started playing instruments in school, and I say "In that era" because I don't think the school music programs exist anymore. That got me into music. Sadly. I always loved music. I had an older sister with the great record collection. So I was listening to pretty advanced, like progressive rock and stuff, when I was six or seven years old. The first instrument when I started to play, when I was in elementary school, was the flute, I got pretty good at it right away.

And like within a few months of learning how to play this instrument, I started writing things down because there was some notation paper at my house. And that was one reason - I just assumed everybody did that. You know? We'll just do some notes and then start writing down. Well, it turns out perhaps everybody didn't do that, but I was doing that at 8 to 10. So, that led to beginning some lessons on piano and in composition from the guy down the street who played piano like that kind of teacher. But it turns out the guy down the street on piano was a tremendous, tremendous musician who was a big influence on me. His name is Francis Thumb. And I mentioned him because he was such a huge influence on my development. And as a musician - this is in San Diego, my hometown - Francis would teach me Beethoven and Stravinssky. And we hang out at his house and listen to records and we'd listen to anything from like Stockhausen to Zappa, to, John Lennon and talk about music. It was just a wide universe-expanding experience to study with that guy for my formative years.

Darwin: Kind of what age range, what age range was this?

Roger: 12 to 15 or so. I'm going to say this one last thing about Francis: his best pal was this young piano player, a folk musician from San Diego who would hang out at my lessons, waiting for Francis to get done so they can go out and carouse. And, that was Tom Waits, before his first record even came out; he would hang out at my piano lessons. I just wanna finish the story about Francis is that, decades later when my own nephew who listens to anything had wanted to take lessons, so I hooked him up with Francis. And so that storyline continued, so he ended up being an influence on a number of the members of my family.

Darwin: That's so cool. That's amazing. But also it's really interesting to hear of you being able to get your ears opened when you're in that 12 to 15 year old range. I mean, so often people - first interaction with Stockhausen, for example, doesn't really take place until university. So you got almost a jump on that whole edge of things.

Roger: Yeah, I did. And that was, and I'm feeling fulfilled very fortunate to have that, but I was listening to everything - I think a lot of musicians and young musicians do that, hopefully they do. I mean, I was listening to my parents' big band albums and jazz records and classical guitar stuff. And just anything that caught my interest and that expansive hunger for all types of music, I think, is what really ultimately pushed me to be a film composer, because you get the chance, like we started this conversation, you get the chance to bounce around in different genres, different identities. If I was either a conventional recording artist or a classical type composer, I might not have the chance to write, say, something in the style of 1979 synth pop. Because it's like, "Well, why would I do that?" It just wouldn't come up, but in film composing you get to do that. You know, you get to put on these different guises and that's seemed like a great fit for me.

Darwin: So what was your education then, once you went to university? Because it sounds to me like you have a... I mean, you mentioned that you have this very classical music education. What did that look like?

Roger: Well, when I was a younger kid, I was playing classical music. I was playing in youth symphonies. But then when I reached adolescence, I realized playing the flute really wasn't gonna get me any dates. So I started playing guitar - most guys join bands to try to get a date. And usually it doesn't work out, but they get into a band anyway. At least that was my case; like around age 12 or so, I started playing guitar and got good enough to gig. You know, I was a good rock musician, I was a good classical musician - good enough, not great, but good enough. Eventually I wanted to go to college and study music and I realized that, or acknowledged that, the flute was still my strongest instrument. I was still most proficient on that. So I applied to a number of music schools and got accepted to USC as a flute player. I got there and found out I was one of about 43 flute players in the school. And I was about the 41st best flute player.

But what I was really good at was my theory class. So my theory teacher said, "You're in the wrong department, come join Composition." They made a place for me there, and I studied composition at USC, which worked out great. And I felt like I kept on that path. I got my composition degree from them. Then a chance meeting with a professor at Harvard. This was at the Aspen School of Music. We spent a summer there and I met this Harvard professor who liked my music. And just out of the blue said, "What are you doing next year?" "Nothing - I'm finishing up USC. I have no idea." He said, "Well, come to Harvard." That was my application process. So I got accepted to Harvard graduate school, easiest thing in the world. I mean, I just fell in my lap.

I really had no intention of going to school. I'm just like a musician with a degree and no real marketable skills. So I thought, well, sure, better than being a typist. So I went the whole, journey on that and, got a PhD in Music Composition from Harvard. And that was, in some respects, the trajectory I was on - I was thinking I probably ended up being a professor. However, I was already writing film scores. I'd done stuff at USC as a student. And one of my pals at USC was a filmmaker [who] ended up making his first film feature film, which I scored while I was living in Cambridge using musicians we recorded the score in a dining hall at Harvard. So I was already interested in that. But what happened, what really got me into being a composer that works for living, is that when I was in grad school, I started to realize that I could apply for grants and fellowships and things and probably get them - because you get this Harvard credential that, if it's good for anything, it's good for that.

So I applied for the new fellowship out of BMI, the performing, performing rights organization, right. And it was called the Pete Carpenter Fellowship and was a fellowship designed to bring conservatory or non-Hollywood, young composers to Hollywood to learn about the film music business and for the film music business to learn about them. So I applied for and received this fellowship. I think I was the second person to get it. And it's still in existence today - BMI still offers this fellowship. So I got this thing and I left school for six weeks and came out to Los Angeles and worked with a bunch of different composers: I worked with, and just like looked over at the shoulders of, a bunch of different composers. Michael Kamen, Quincy Jones, Mark Mothersbaugh - terrific people. And the sponsor of this fellowship is the TV composer Mike Post. He set it up actually in honor of his late partner, Pete Carpenter. So through this, I got to know Mike really well. And, he liked me and basically said, "So when you're done with Harvard, what are you doing next?" I said, "I don't know. Why do you ask?" And he offered me a job to come work with him. So that's how, it was my connection to work in Hollywood.

Darwin: That is so interesting, but it also helps me understand a little bit about how that mechanism works. I mean, every time I talk to somebody who's makes a career in Hollywood, it always has that kind of feeling to it. Like I was studying, I was working hard. I happened to find myself in LA working with X and we hit it off and that's how I got started in the business. It seems like this personal connection is really one of the hallmarks. What breaks things open for people working in Hollywood? I mean, beyond yourself, is that something that you tend to see in general in the case of film composition?

Roger: Yeah. I think about this quite a lot because I have younger composers who find me and seek me out and some of who I become a mentor for. And we I do a lot of advising on how to develop a career. And, first thing I usually say is "Don't follow my example." Because mine was just, it just kinda fell in my lap. I didn't do anything. It's just a little glib, but not really, you know, one thing I have found to be true for a lot of people - and not just in music, but in all sorts of fields - is the people who ended up being important to you, to helping you get your start, helping you do your first first important projects are not... It's not like you break into Hollywood and meet these famous people.

The people that end up being important to you are the people you already know for the most part, like people that you've grown up with, perhaps even if you grew up nowhere. And I grew up in San Diego, which as far as Hollywood is concerned is nowhere. But a lot of people who I just came up with and spent my childhood with ended up being super important to opportunities that came my way later. And in some cases, they became collaborators with me, in some cases, just people who helped me find other people that were important to me. I say this because I think I find this to be true. And I think it's turned out to be valuable to people who I've shared this information with, because it can be really daunting as a young composer, trying to figure out how to get a toehold, right?

And again, it's not a matter of "How can I meet this other person?" and "How can I meet so-and-so?", a famous director or whatever they're trying to do. That's not where your carrer is going to start, your career's going to start with the guys you already know, people you already know, hopefully one of them might want to be a filmmaker or something, or maybe your relative knows somebody who knows somebody who needs music for something. That, more often than not, is the way that people get those important first opportunities.

Darwin: Well, and also this idea of people - I mean, you say that you came from San Diego, which is Hollywood-nowhere, but also you studied at USC and in fact... It's funny that you were at USC and then booked all the way over to Massachusetts to eventually get the opportunity to come back to Los Angeles. It's kind of interesting, but I mean, in your time in USC, did you build up connections with people that ended up becoming important [to your career]?

Roger: Honestly, less than you might think. I mean, I will say that USC School of Music is just outstanding. So that was great. I learned more practical skills there than anywhere, including Harvard in a way. Harvard is a deeper dive into academic studies and music. And I loved it. I loved it for itself. I loved it for an endeavor of its own. But once I started working as a film composer, I realized (this is a little little glib, but I think it's true) that I already had all the skills at about age 17 that I needed to do this film composing thing. Everything else was just gravy. So USC ended up not being a place where I met lots of people who ended up being important career connections. I just met lots of great musicians who helped me, become better.

Darwin: I'm curious, when you moved out to LA and you started working in a mentee role with Mike Post in some way, what are the things that he taught you or the group of people surrounding him taught you, that proved to be valuable in turning this from a cool opportunity into a career? Because it obviously worked out for you, so you must have like gotten some good, good hints out of that first experience.

Roger: Well, yeah. Meeting Mike was a great, good fortune for me. And he's a super guy and we're still friends to this day. When he offered me that job, to come work with him, neither he nor I really knew what that job would be. He just thought maybe this Roger guy has something going on. And, when I arrived at his studio and started working the first few weeks, he realized I had a pretty firm background in things like computers and MIDI and electronic music. And a lot of this was new. This was, we're talking about the mid-nineties. So this was a fairly new technology. And the fact that I knew this stuff would ended up being surprisingly valuable to him.

What happened in Mike's shop, interestingly - he was super busy with like five, six different TV series. And he got one of his main producers, his pal Stephen Cannell, had one late night action series that Mike did not want to score. He thought it was crappy. But he took the job and gave it to me and his other assistantl Danny Luxe, to score. It was a TV series called Silk Stalkings. And so Danny and I are scoring this series. This is really like two weeks after I arrived in Los Angeles, I'm scoring a TV series with my name on the, on the screen, me and Danny's name on the screen. It just like this just like fell in my lap. It was so simple, which is why I tell people don't follow my example. But to answer your question about Mike, what's so valuable is really part of the learning process for some composers, it's not so much like the notes you choose or how to write music. With Mike, it was two things: how to understand storytelling, which is a really intricate craft in itself. And also simply how to run a business as an artist and specifically how to, interact with your collaborative clients and foster those relationships - and just be part of a team of filmmakers or TV show makers. You're part of this greater idea and just how to fulfill your role in a way that's really valuable. Those are some of the things I learned from those early years.

Darwin: Well, I would like to know a little bit more of those because they're both like really intriguing things, but they're both different qualities of the creative pursuit. So, let's start off. First of all, what exactly do you mean by storytelling when it comes to film scoring? What exactly are you talking about,

Roger: Why is the music there? We can start with that when you think about it, why does film music exist at all? It seems fairly arbitrary. Like why is there music going on while we're flying the spaceship through an asteroid belt? I mean, it works, but it seems like, why is this orchestral music playing? Well, hopefully it's there because it helps enhance the story. It makes it more vivid. It tells something that otherwise wouldn't be part of the experience for the audience. And, specifically, you can enhance the moments, like when are we in peril? When is the release of that peril? When are we winning? When are we losing? What does that little crook of his eye mean at that point - these are all stuff that can be really defined and enhanced by the music in ways that even some music aficionados don't always really appreciate, like how intricate it all works. When I'm working on a new score for a film, it really is a part of the process for me: really trying to figure out who the characters are.

Roger: What makes them tick? What's their journey? What do they know now that they don't know later when they learned this thing and you know, how do they evolve? How does this character relate to that character? Because that's going to definitely determine what kind of music I write for these two people. If they were together in the same scene, there might be a power dynamic that needs to be acknowledged in some way. So intricacies about the storytelling become super important to my musical choices. And that be just the fun thing when I'm talking with my directors and the people I'm working with to get into that: let's not talk about whether it's a B-flat, whether it's on a bassoon, let's talk about what is she thinking right here? What's your thought process at this moment? And then 10 seconds later, what's different? That's helpful. That's interesting for me as a composer.

Darwin: That's so cool. And it really breaks away from so much of what I think people imagine is the "art of film composing", which I think a lot of people get overly impressed by the orchestration or maybe the the complexity or the kind of chordal movement there is. And really what you're saying is to look at the screen. How can you enhance what's on the screen so that the story is told in a more - well, you use the word vivid it - how can the story be told in a more vivid way? And that, that really seems to be a very interesting approach to take.

Roger: Yeah. You know, you have to justify your existence too. So, as a composer, why am I even here? And I'll tell you, what's really gratifying when you play something in a piece you've written for your director and their story becomes more vivid for them, and they're moved by it, or they're delighted by it. That's really gratifying, you know? Cause you feel like now I've justified my existence.

Darwin: Sure. That makes a lot of sense. Now, the other thing that you mentioned that Mike taught you was how to run the business aspect of it. And I think that this is something that's really important because a lot of times, especially when I talk to people who are just getting started in the business or whatever, they're confronted with a lot of business questions that their time at Berkeley or their time at Cal Arts or their time at Harvard, [it] didn't prepare them to ask, like: Are you gonna work on something for free for "exposure"? Are you're going to ghost write for somebody else because that's what we need to do in order to get the funding for a job or something like that. How much of that came into play and what were like the warning tracks that might've been illuminated for you?

Roger: First of all when I'm talking about business side, I'm not simply talking about how to enhance your money flow, but also just much broader things like how to foster a career, how to manage your factories, which are outputting your work in a way that, you know, where you're dependable and it's good quality and I'll pull these other factors. It's just like in any other shop I might be running right. My custom upholstery shop or whatever. You know, as you've learned, I spent a lot of time at conservatory. So I feel like the conservatories generally do a poor job of training their students in how to make a career happen. And I think that's a disservice, a real disservice in the teaching.

I'm cognizant of that. And I really try to push against that because, first of all, it's irresponsible to teach people about music and not teach them how to make a career happen with that music. But also I think from younger musicians who feel somewhat idealistic, they might think business is antithetical to music, but it's not in so far as when I studied the lives of whether it's famous composers or even famous pop stars, their lives - their artistic choices are rooted to their desire to make a name for themselves and to do their work. Beethoven was a fine business person and he would plan his own concerts and sell subscription tickets himself sometimes at the door and write to particular pieces for a particular concert in order to make money for himself and he'd be in charge of the advertising...

People aren't really aware of this, I think, but absolutely true. The Bach Brandenburg Concertos were written as a demo for Bach to get a gig with Frederick The Great! They are demos to get a job, which is what you did not get. But thank God we got the demos because they're amazing. So even things like that, even something, this is, I think also this is a left turn, but Keith Richard, when he wrote Satisfaction, he came up with that great fuzz bass, fuzz guitar part - he played on the fuzz guitar because he really wanted a horn section, but they didn't have the bucks for it. So we find a way to make it work with what resources that they had, as a business decision. I mean, what a less good song Satisfaction would be if that wasn't the case.

So it's just, this is some of the stuff that you learn along the way, like how to make it all work. And sometimes you also learned that your limitations end up being the things that send you in a really good journey somewhere.

Darwin: Right now. One of the things I wanted to explore a little further with something that you said, which is that - one of the things that's neat about being a film composer is that it actually lets you explore musical styles. You probably wouldn't be able to do if you were a "recording musician". And I think that this is something that for people who love a lot of different kinds of music, it actually is a conundrum. You know, it's like a "Hey, I'm known for doing ambient music, but I really like beating on an MPC drum machine and doing beats, but nobody wants to hear my beats - everyone wants to hear my ambient music." Where you have the opportunity... You know, it's funny, I was listening to different things and the 20th Century movie - 20th Century Woman.

You did all of these gauzy synthy tracks, which really sounded of an era. And then a bunch of stuff that you did for Valley Girl had more of this really poppy thing. But then I ran across something called the Beastly Bombing, which is almost vaudevillian in nature. In some cases you've got some stuff where it's solo piano, other stuff where it's outright jazz, it must be kind of fun, I guess, to be able to like dig into a genre and there's just really express yourself temporarily, right?

Roger: Wow. You found the Beastly Bombing...

Darwin: That was funny because that was something - when I saw it, I [thought] this is a very polarizing piece because it seemed like people either absolutely loved it. I think he went to an award for that, right? Then other people just wanted to crucify you for it. So it's pretty interesting thing.

Roger: Thank God - we like those people a lot! It's an opera, it's a musical and it was musically stylistic... we're trying to be in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan, late 19th century British operettas. But the story has to do with white supremacists and Al Qaeda terrorists and, and a bunch of hijinks and the destruction of the country with nuclear bombs and - it's all good fun. I mean, thank you for mentioning that, because that does illustrate my point. I really was given a chance to write music in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan, which... when would that otherwise come around? So I can wake up one morning thinking I'm going to write something that is going to sound like the Pirates Of Penzance? No, not unless I have a reason to. And I found a reason. I have my friend of mine, a very talented writer, Julian Nitzberg, who wrote this, had this concept for a musical. He brought it to me and I said, "Yeah, I'm on board." So we wrote this thing. And it's like, it's in this very specific genre style. And then for that as I was writing it, I took on that character of that composer who would write this style. And that was fun. I'm sorry. You had a question somewhere...

Darwin: It was just like all of a sudden took a left turn into doing a Gilbert and Sullivan piece, which is like pretty fascinating. So unfortunately our time is up already, but before I let you go, I am curious: What is a thing that you haven't gotten a chance to do that you really want to do? I mean, do you want to do a score that is in the style of Drake or is there something that you're like really dying to do that you haven't done yet?

Roger: Wow, good question. I'll try to answer this way. I love it when people ask me to write music that I have no idea how to write. So whether it's like Drake or to write Indonesian folk music, I'm up for that challenge. That's super fun. But also I think, the classroom position of me, I like nothing more than when I'm in front of an orchestra scoring stage - a big, giant, fat orchestra, conducting that glorious sound. I've done that, but I just liked doing that and want to do more of it. And that's really in some ways the pinnacle of when I feel like I'm doing my career to the fullest and I'm doing these big orchestral scores and big orchestral recording sessions.

Darwin: Right on, and what do you have coming up that people can look forward to checking out?

Roger: I'm working at two films now. I don't know when they're released. One is called Unpregnant and it's for HBO Max. It's the same director that directed Valley Girl, Rachel Goldenberg. And she's going to come to the studio in about 10 minutes to listen to my latest cues. That'll come out sometime next few months. Another film called Alex October, which is a independent drama. And I don't know where that'll come out, but both probably be out sometime later this year, early 2020 [or] 2021.

Darwin: That's fantastic. And one last thing, you mentioned that, you actually said "the teaching I do..." What kind of teaching do you do? How do you fulfill that part of your interests?

Roger: I was teaching at UCLA and teaching at Cal Poly Pomona at certain points in my life. But not at the moment. I teach and then I get tired of it and have to be recharged and come back. But I do this one thing, which is every summer there's a workshop I teach called the Palomar Film Music Workshop, myself and my colleague Larry Groupé. It's a nine day workshop in San Diego County on film scoring. And that's my regular thing. I love doing that every year. I usually do at this time of year; unfortunately, we're taking this year off. I'll be around for next year. So that's, that's what that is.

Darwin: It sounds fantastic. Roger, I want to thank you so much for taking the time to have this chat, taking time out of your schedule and for just filling us in on the work that you do and how you approach it. I really appreciate it.

Roger: Thank you. Pleasure talking with you.

Copyright 2020 by Darwin Grosse. All right reserved.