SoundtrackCorner #2: Main Themes

Finally, the long awaited second installment of SoundtrackCorner. In the first instalment I talked about some of my favourite composers and one of their compositions. This time I want to focus on Main Themes. I’m going to share five great Main Themes with you. I’m going to exclude some all time favourites, so no John Williams. You don’t need me to tell you why the Star Wars Theme is great and the same is true for Jaws and many other classics but maybe I can show you a hidden gem you overheard or maybe my hidden gems are just too obvious. Nevertheless, here are five great Main Themes, enjoy.

X-Men – John Ottman
Some superhero movies have a big problem, they don’t have a cool theme. The X-men franchise doesn’t have that problem.

Sleepy Hollow – Danny Elfman
Elfman is one of my favourite composers and Tim Burton one of my favourite directors. So Sleepy Hollow is a must for me n this list.

Dave – James Newton Howard
Dave is a quirky little movie with a soundtrack and a Main Theme to match.

Dragonheart – Randy Edelman
This is one of my all-time favourites. Dragonheart might not be the best movie but it has a great Score and an awesome Main theme.

The Right Stuff – Bill Conti
In my opinion one of the most subtle heroic themes ever. Just listening to this makes me want to watch the move again.

So what’s the screenwriting lesson here, this is supposed to be a screenwriting blog1. Well, listening to these tracks I see the movie and I get a clear idea about the tone. These Main Themes set the stage for the movie and it’s a sign of great artistry by the composers that in each of these cases the movie and the music are synonymous for each other. I can’t think of Dragonheart without hearing the music and vice versa.

Obviously most writers aren’t composers and that’s probably for the best so I’m not saying we should come up with our main themes but just like these themes, try to give your script an identity beyond the words. Try to give your script a voice, something recognisable, something identifying.

  1. …at least when it’s not a failed romance blog.

About Greg

Hi, I'm Greg and I write screenplays and work as a teacher.
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