Thomas Newman: Composer

His music will give you all the feels.


Thomas Newman

Thomas Newman is an American composer with more than 50 film scores under his belt. He has added 12 Academy Awards and three Golden Globe nominations, two BAFTAs, 6 Grammys and an Emmy to his legacy. His talent was passed to him from his father, Alfred Newman who was best known for his work composing music for The King and I (1956), Modern Times (1936) and The Grapes of Wrath (1940).

He is most famous for composing scores for American Beauty, Shawshank Redemption, a number of Pixar movies and my favorite: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

lemony-snickets-a-series-of-unfortunate-events-music-composerThe movie itself was good, not great. It is a mix of somber story telling and delightful humor presented through the talent of Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. Newman does an excellent job with portraying this tone and capturing the mood of each scene throughout the entire film using a consistent epic theme from start to finish.

He helps to create personas for the characters through the score. When Count Olaf (the villain) is on the scene Newman created a devilish kind of theme, and for the children a more light, innocent theme.


My favorite piece from this album is The Letter That Never Came. This is playing when the children receive a letter from their deceased parents – a letter that was supposed to arrive long before then. They find this in the remains of their once, magnificent family home. It is filled with glowing advice from their parents that the eldest sibling, Violet, reads aloud while they stand in the ash of their memory. While this juxtaposing scene is playing out, this song is accompanying it in the background.

The delicate piano you here is Newman himself – he always plays the piano in his own work. This, accompanied by a harmonious mixture of strings, woodwinds and gentle percussion, creates an environment that makes it seem that maybe the children are safe, but even for a minute, in the dark place they have found themselves in.

To be able to take the audience out of the darkness that has enveloped the film thus far and make them feel this happiness and give them hope for the children, is inspiring.

Watch the scene Here.

When I listen to this song, I close my eyes and the world just kind of falls away. It’s remarkably soothing and allows me to escape for a moment of peace regardless if I’m in a room packed with people, or just trying to catch that one moment in the middle of a maddening day.

The effect that it has on me is what I believe Newman wanted the audience to feel during this scene – that there is hope. Mission accomplished.

Try it. Listen to it now. Like really listen to it.

Then, next time you’re feeling overwhelmed plug in your headphones and let the world fall away. Let me know how it goes.

And then, if you have a raining afternoon sometime you should watch the movie. It’s entertaining, will give you a few laughs (especially the outtakes), and you can watch for this scene.

Happy Listening.


Image sources:


5 Reasons Why This Film Blog Will Improve Your Life.


Film Score is a film blog that contains a treasure chest of information about new films, old films, great films and terribly awful films that should never have been made. But I’m no A-list Hollywood director, so why should you care? Let me explain:

1. I have the education.

I’m in my fourth year of film school at Michigan State, so I’ve learned most of the ins and outs of what to do and what not do when it comes to film production. Some of this is from classes, but a lot comes from hands-on experience.

Michigan State University Film SchoolPro-Tip: When filming, make sure you record back-up audio with your levels set to around -20. That way you have a fall back if a file gets corrupted, an intern didn’t hit record or the actor decides to start yelling their lines and your levels peak on the original audio.

See, I know things.

2. I’ll bring you multiple perspectives.

I look at films for the content and the production style, however I have a few more viewpoints in my arsenal. I’m also an advertising student at Michigan State, so I also view films from an advertising/marketing viewpoint. Regardless of your opinions on the plot holes in Disney’s Frozen (they’re rampant), it was a huge success from a marketing perspective – according to,  “The Company [Disney] saw overall revenue growth of 10% and earnings growth of 41%, primarily driven by the success of Frozen.”

Frozen Disney Film











I’m also a musician, or band kid, whichever you prefer. Have been for the past 12 years of my life – so I know a thing or two…maybe three. The score of a film is one of the main elements that help drive emotions home to the viewers, and is one of my favorite components of a film. My choice composer is Thomas Newman. Next time you’re stressed look him up on Spotify and tell me how it goes.

3. I have a deep infatuation with this industry.

Film Cameras








I love film. Not just big blockbuster hits, but all forms of the art: documentaries, independent films, short films, web series’, television sitcoms (my guilty pleasure), commercials and of course low-budget student films. I will share my thoughts and opinions that are guided by this passion – you won’t be getting some wishy-washy nonsense.

4. I’ll be posting about ALL THE THINGS.

I will be writing film reviews for both the newest in the box office and the ones that are sitting comfortably in my movie collection. I will also be posting about the latest news from the film world. Not celebrity gossip – things that are actually important to the film industry. The section I’m looking forward to the most is the Play-by-Play section, in which I will record my thoughts as I watch a film. Saving Private Ryan is on my list, so things could get emotional. I will also have a section devoted to film scores where I will discuss where/what/when/why/how of the music. So, get ready.

5. I’ll make you laugh.

I’m a blunt, sassy, emotionally high-strung individual. If anything, my thoughts and rhetoric may at least give you a laugh or maybe spark a great debate, or maybe if we’re lucky someone will learn something.

Read my posts; let me know what you think. Let’s dive in.

 Image Sources:
(1) Photo by me