Korn’s Jonathan Davis and Nicholas O’Toole talk about composing film “After the Dark”

“After The Dark” is the latest film by director John Huddles. The film takes place at an international school in Jakarta, where a philosophy teacher challenges his class of twenty graduating seniors to choose which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race in the event of a nuclear apocalypse. The film was scored by veteran film composer Nicholas O’Toole and Korn front man Jonathan Davis and Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with both of them about their work on the film and their ongoing collaboration with one another.

Adam Lawton: How did you both become involved with the film?
Nicholas O’Toole:  I was approached by George Zakk who was one of the producers on the film. I had known him from another project and they had just started to go into post production on this film. George had known that Jonathan and I had been working together for quite some time and it seemed like a good fit. This led to a discussion with director John Huddles. We ended up hitting it off right away and we have stayed friends since.

AL: What was the creative process like between the two of you?
NO: The dynamic is great as we have known each other for so long. We get what the other one does. I myself am very technically minded and I have a degree in film score work where Jonathan is prolific in songwriting, EDM and a variety of other things including film scoring. We sort of mind shared this project.  Jonathan is very dynamic and variant based. He brings a lot to the table from sound design, to mood and colors. I handle the more technical side of things such as arranging and post work. With Jonathan on the road a lot he and I developed a good solution for sharing our thoughts and ideas. We walked in to the project already having a pretty good flow.

AL: Jonathan, did you find any similarities in your writing style for the film and you writing style for Korn?
Jonathan Davis: It is completely different. That’s why I love it. It challenges me. When you are writing a film score you are trying to convey an emotion part of the film. That’s the whole reason why I love doing things like this as it is so different from the other writing that I do. When you are working on a song you have versus and choruses to stick to and with a project like this there are no rules. It’s really different.

AL: Is scoring something you picture yourself doing more of?
JD: I love doing it and am open to doing more. I am just a musical junkie. When I got sober back in the day I replaced partying with music. (Laughs) It is something that I can’t get enough of.

AL: Did you both work on the same parts together or did you work separately on various parts of the film?
NO: It was purely linear in this particular instance. John Huddles was involved as well from the ground level which made things even greater. Having John involved certainly reduced the re-writes. Normally you create a bunch of material and then show case but for this film John was there the whole time and fully invested. I think we just moved from beginning to end on this and then went back and did some adjusting where it was needed. I think you can sort of hear that in the arc of the story. We kept things moving and it felt very natural.

AL: How much of the film were you allowed to see at one time when you were scoring?
NO: We got the film in a reel which is the general process of post production. We are all contracted to confidentiality. You get the entire film however they may still be editing and changing some of the things. We would get new reels every week. We had a screening with the director where we saw the film in its entirety and we discussed where the music would go and for how long and what type of feel was needed. Everything gets spotted out and then we follow those notes and begin writing. You definitely have to understand the narrative in order to be able to start scoring.

AL: After the initial playing of the film with the score were there a lot of changes requested by the director?
NO: Things did change. The film was shot in Indonesia which is known for a style of music called Gamelan. Jonathan had some previous experiences with this style of music as had I in the past so this ended up being a pleasant coincident. We were going to take a more Gamelan eccentric approach anyhow which we did at first. John Huddles liked it but wanted to try a different approach. We repositioned ourselves in a way that caught fire and we were able to just take off. We kept things quite minimal arrangement wise and then mixed in a little Gamelan with electronic and hypnotic elements. We kept things very natural.

AL: Jonathan, did you have any reservations about working on the project? And do you have to get a specific type of mind set to work on this type of music?
JD: Not really. I love doing music. It’s always fun working with Nick and writing music. It was really great working with a director who had a specific vision. This was something so completely normal from what I do in my day job. I think you have to take yourself away because you are writing a piece of music not a song. I have to wrap my head around that but it’s basically music.

AL: Being that you guys have a friendship with one another outside of your work what do you enjoy most about working with each other?
JD: For me we are just friends making music. It’s a simple and pure thing. I am having fun making music for a cool movie and getting paid for it. There is no bad side to this what so ever. It’s just fun!
NO: The collaboration process is enhancing because if it was just me I would be writing out of my head. Jonathan adds another creative brain which comes from a completely different place. When you put the two together the result is always something bigger than what it would have been. Jonathan is prolific outside of Korn in ways that I think fans of the band will totally understand after hearing this. Like Jonathan said it’s just fun and we have a good vibe together so it’s great to be able to keep that going.

AL: What other projects do you guys have in the works for the rest of 2014?
NO: I am always negotiating on some sort of film project. Sometimes the project is working with Jonathan and sometimes it’s on my own. Jonathan and I have a good system worked out.
JD: I have quite a lot going on with Korn but with computers these days it allows Nick and me to be in different places but still be able to work together on projects with one another. I always have my noise buried in my laptop writing.


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Jonathan Lipnicki talks about producing "Broken Roads"

At age seven, Jonathan Lipnicki was a bona fide star. As Ray Boyd, the precocious son of the title character’s love interest in “Jerry Maguire,” he stole more hearts from the audience then star Tom Cruise. Regular television roles on such series as “The Jeff Foxworthy Show” and “Meego” kept him in front of the camera, as did roles in films like “Stuart Little” and “The Little Vampire.” Though he’s still busy in front of the camera, Lipnicki has embarked on a new career, adding the title of Producer to his resume with the release of the film “Broken Roads.” While promoting the films upcoming NYC appearance Lipnicki spoke to Media Mikes about his new career and dealing with fame at such a young age.

Mike Smith: At age 22 you began a new career as a producer. How did this come about?
Jonathan Lipnicki: I always knew I would end up doing something behind the camera, but I didn’t know it would happen at this point in my career.

MS: How did you become involved with “Broken Roads?”
JL: I like to say I fell into it. I met the director, Justin Chambers, through a mutual friend, and we hit it off. He has this crazy charisma, which makes you want to be friends with him and support him. One day he asked me if I knew any actors who I thought would fit the roles he sent out breakdowns for. I sent him a few actors that I knew and he liked my choices. Not long after that he asked me if I wanted to get involved.

MS: You continue to act. Is this something you’re going to continue to pursue or do you see your career moving to more behind the scenes?
JL: Acting is my number one priority, but I would like to produce more in the future.

MS: You were a star at age 7 when “Jerry Maguire” was released. Does fame look different at that age as opposed to now when you can appreciate it more?
JL: Your perception changes about certain things like fame when you grow older, it definitely loses some of its innocence. That being said I look different so I live in anonymity, which is amazing.

MS: What do you have coming up next, either in front of or behind the camera?
JL: I currently have a web series from the Russo Brothers (“Arrested Development”) on YouTube, and I have two films in post production, “Edge of Salvation” and “TAG”.

Jonathan Sadowski talks about “Chernobyl Diaries”

© Winston Burris / PR Photos

Jonathan Sadowski is the star of the recent Oren Peli produced “Chernobyl Diaries”. Jonathan also star last year in TV’s short-lived “Bleep My Dad Says”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Jonathan about his new film and what we can expect.

Mike Gencarelli: What drew you to the “Chernobyl Diaries”?
Jonathan Sadowski: Starting from the audition process the project had a mystique about it. I didn’t really know anything about it as everyone was being very secretive. I did however figure Oren Peli was behind everything. The script was very improv based and we just let our characters run during the audition process.  Bit by bit we told more about the project and by the time screen testing started I knew what the film was about. Brad Parker is an actor’s director. He is very open to working with you. I had no idea the movie was going to be what it turned into.

MG: What did you like most about your character in the film?
JS: My character is the black sheep of the family. Everything that happens in this film is because my character decides to take these people on a tour of this abandoned city.

MG: Were the shooting locations challenging at all?
JS: We shot in a few different locations.  We were in Serbia as well as a few different cities outside of Budapest. There was a big language barrier there so communicating was extremely difficult. Trying to eat in restaurants there was really tuff.

MG: What was it like working with Oren Peli and first time director Brad Parker?
JS: For Brad being a first time director he is a pro. I can’t say enough about what he did with the film. He gave us tremendous liberties. Oren was on set every day and was also there during the audition process. The script really came out during rehearsals as it was very improv based. They actually taped the rehearsals and turned it into a script format. Oren was the first person to speak up if something wasn’t perfect. He was really amazing.

MG: Do you enjoy working in a more open environment?
JS: I love it! There are really no rules so you can push the envelope. They can always pull it back but at least you have the liberties to go further with your character.

MG: How does your experiences on this film compare to yours from previous works?
JS: The thing that was interesting about shooting this film was the whole secrecy aspect of things. Even when we were shooting we didn’t know what was going to happen or what things were going to look like until we were ready to do them. They were constantly pulling pranks on us to get real reactions.

MG: Can you tell us about any of your other projects?
JS: There is one film that I am in talks to do but the script is still being finished. They are also trying to get me to direct the project as well.


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