...and why things take the time they take.
"Good, I can feel your anger. I am unarmed. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete.
…Actually, wait, don’t.
Beren, I’ll respond to your points individually but first, permit me, if you will, to tell a little story.
When FOTR hit the shelves last December, I got a very friendly call from Howard Shore’s office. (This is not unusual in itself, calls from his office are always friendly because he’s got a cool group of people working for him.) The call was essentially a congratulations for getting through all the Fellowship material (we’d just finished the website material a few days earlier) and to let me know that Mr. Shore was sending a copy of the set to me, so I’d have one of my own shortly. At the end of the call there was a pause then, “Hey by the way, you’d really better start looking at Two Towers, there’s going to be a lot of work on that…”
So after a week of evenings during which I permitted myself to look at something other than a computer screen, the next Monday I started to dig in. This one was going to be work, they were right. I’m drawing my material from the complete book, but whereas the FOTR material had nice rounded beginnings already written, and the ROTK stuff had conclusions in place, the Two Towers material was all middle paragraphs. Well, almost all—thank goodness for Rohan and the Ents! Anyway, I started banging that stuff into some sort of shape, and turned in a first draft of the notes late January / early February. My rough musical examples were put into place as were graphics I invented from DVD captures. Off to New York it all went…
…And it wasn’t much of a hit.
Ok, maybe that’s slightly paranoid, no one threw a fit. In fact, comments were nice—this is a good start—but essential gist was that it felt too much like middle paragraphs. Which is exactly what it was. Too much verbiage relating material to Fellowship or ROTK, not enough on the complex relationships within Two Towers.
Draft two came out about three weeks later. This time everyone was happier, but there was still the sense that it needed more analytical detail, less rehashing of the story.
Draft three was promised in about two more weeks… during which I ran off to speak with Howard at a symphony performance in Cleveland. So this draft was finished in an all night word bender, then sent off at about 3 in the morning. This time it was a hit. Howard’s assistant Alan had been going through most of the editing before this. Howard would read everything, but at this point in the process his comments were more general. Focus more on this, less on that, etc.
Draft three was good enough to go to Howard for specific comments. And when I say specific, I really mean it. Do you like the word “fulminating”? Yeah, well neither does Howard Shore! That’s just one of a handful of deep purple words he asked me to replace or remove. And I’m not even mentioning the specific musical comments. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to sound like I was descended upon by stern taskmasters who raked me over the coals picking over every tiny little word. Comments were always chased with, “It just stuck out to me, but you don’t have to change it if you’re not comfortable.” It’s a wonderfully supportive working environment where everybody is invited to comment on everyone else’s work.
Anyway, at this point we started to find out what graphics we could actually get from New Line. They don’t have hi res captures of every frame of the film, of course, so we have to see what’s in their vaults, and what can be of use to us. Sue from Howard’s staff also began engraving musical examples, most based on my reductions… Over the course of three or four years I’d been visiting NY a couple of times a year to research the written conductor’s scores. I’d jot down materials in the notebooks I kept, enter these into notation software, then send my examples off the Sue who would re-engrave them, and make them a bit slicker looking. Once in a while I’d find that the liners could use an example that I hadn’t jotted down, so I’d have to ask Sue to look something up and create a brand new image.
This all sounds like boring grunt work, but it actually makes a huge difference. We have a certain page count that we can’t go past because we don’t want to up the cost for consumers. This means whatever we turn in to Warner Brothers, we want to show that our page count can be achieved easily. Our mock layout will be copied (and tweaked a bit), but we want to demonstrate something functional. Everything from font size to borders to graphics come into play. We’re not playing with some artistically ideal carte blanche , this is an actual physical thing being designed. It takes a good deal of playing to make it work.
Draft four came and went, as did its notes. Draft five was dated at the beginning of this month, and came back just yesterday (6/27) with notes from Howard’s assistant (Alan), from Howard and from Philippa Boyens. So I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon reorganizing and rejiggering to incorporate all comments, and keep our page count acceptable. We’re down to smaller changes now, so they can be tackled in about a week, for the most part. I’m at 8,805 words currently, by the way, which means I’ve added 43 words and a whole mess of pictures without changing the page count. That’s not as easy as it sounds!
I’m hoping to get finalized track titles this week, as well as a few revised musical examples. Yes, every single dynamic and articulation marking must be checked for accuracy… even if the final excerpt comes out so small it could be printed on the head of a pin! And of course, I need to see if the changes I’ve made are ok with everyone. We’ll probably go through one or two more drafts before we deliver to Warner Brothers. Then after that, we’ll need to proof their work. The layout is critical. The people designing the booklet are not musicians, so we need to make sure that the proper musical examples appear next to the proper paragraphs, etc. while they’re keeping their eyes on visual aesthetics and trying to keep the pages from getting too cluttered.
So does all this sound pretty detailed and laborious? I mean, I know I’m not hauling bricks or mixing cement or anything, but this is pretty intensive work overall. And all this… all this concentration and effort… is just for the liner notes! Imagine the work that’s going in to the packaging. Imagine the work that’s going into the legal affairs and licensing. Imagine the work that’s going into the music !! That’s what it’s all about right?
There’s one chance to do this right. We get one pitch, one swing. If we’re taking a long time in the batting cages… well, it’s because the situation demands it!
Could this be done faster? I don’t know, honestly. Murphy’s Law probably comes into play… but I still think I’d say no. I mean, I guess a product of some kind could be assembled in less time. But really, I don’t think that something of the quality and substance towards which we’re aspiring could be done in a more compressed timeline.
Ok, if you’re still with me, now I’ll go into specific answers:
>>>It's almost july.What about some fresh news?What is Mr. Howard Shore doing?I'm starting to believe that the TTT:CR won't be released this year due to the new LOTR limited edition dvd's.Who would buy 2 LOTR new merchendise released at a period of 3-4 months?And they will also,probably,delay the release date for the LOTR:LE,so the new complete recordings seem far away.If they'll continue this way ,we'll get the ROTK complete recordings on the 10th aniversary.>>>
Beren, you seem to be very emotionally connected to these releases. That’s good, great even. But, please, don’t let that turn negative. At NO time has there been any official discussion of moving the TTT box set’s release date. Suggesting otherwise is both erroneous and misleading in the extreme. More on this below.
>>>This has nothing to do with the emotional,loving atmosphere we were presented in the appendices.Maybe it never did.Maybe it's just about money.More money.I probably (don't) understand how busy Mr. Shore must be,but he could've find time to deal with the new CR.Especially now that LOTR made rich(er) every cast/crew member of the trilogy.>>>
Absolutely NOTHING connected with the creative end of these releases has been motivated by money, and to suggest so… besides again being erroneous in the extreme… is positively insulting to Shore’s integrity. In fact, these sets are probably apt to make money for everyone EXCEPT Howard Shore, as he’s invested so much of his own money. And that being said, none of us will make any money based on sales. If TTT sells two copies or two million, it won’t change anything for us. We’re doing this carefully because our hearts are invested in it, and because we believe in the legacy of what Shore created. That’s it, pure and simple. We’ll drive our accountants nuts, but we’re head-in-the-clouds dreamers who still believe in the intrinsic integrity of art. Any time you see me mention a concern of sales, or number of units… that’s not because it means we’re pulling in bushels of cash each time some poor sucker forks over the dough for the set. (We’re not) It’s because we’re excited to see that people are interested in something we’re poured our effort into.
>>>Even the interest for the new complete recordings(or any LOTR new merchendise)seems to be faded.This thread,for example,looks like it's struggling to post new replies.And the ones that do appear,have nothing to do with the topic.>>>
If you’re looking for specific answers, in most cases I’m simply not allowed to give them yet. Has the set’s color scheme been decided upon? Yes, though I haven’t seen in yet, I know what it is. Can I say what? No, I can’t yet. Is the release date set? Yes, as of very recently, it is. Can I start posting it around the web? Well, no, of course not. There will be an official press release when everyone decides it’s the proper time. Do I know what unreleased bits of music you’ll now be able to hear? Do I know what happens at five minutes into the eighth track? Do I know how many discs it’ll be? Sure, I have to know those things to do my work. That I can’t say anything now doesn’t mean these decisions haven’t been very, very carefully considered. It means that the official announcement hasn’t yet been made, so we’ve not yet pulled the curtain back.
>>>In conclusion,i hope that Mr. Sore and co.(and all the Hollywood;perhaps even the western world)understand that people and feelings should come first instead of profit.I mean this is what the LOTR music is all about.Feelings,right?>>>
I’ll ask you here to perhaps pause a second and read again my comments above regarding the finances of this project.
>>>Yes they will release it(eventually).But i meant that they will postpone it,as they did with the Fotr:CR;and this time with probably at least a month,because of the Limited Edition DVD's.>>>
FOTR was delayed because of legal entanglements that altered the track layout for one of the discs. The lawyers in question contacted Warners at the last possible minute (which was certainly their right), so the date had to be pushed.
>>>You're forgetting that on this same thread(in 2005) it was supposed to be a release of all the CR,togheter.Then each,at a period of 6 months(and now we're almost in july,so 7 months have passed);and now probably more than 12 months because of the new dvd's.>>>
There was never a time when the complete recordings were supposed to be released as one single set—one set to rule them all! There was never a time when the boxed sets were supposed to be released every 6 months. Both these comments were fan speculation. Fan speculation can be a ton of fun, when it’s A) understood to be speculation, nothing more, nothing less, and B) when it’s kept positive. Beren, I’m not sure what would make you think that the TTT boxed set will be delayed by 12 months, but that’s a pretty negative spin on speculation, isn’t it? Let’s ignore for a second that it’s awfully difficult to “delay” something that hasn’t been officially announced, but what on earth would make you assume such a thing? The DVDs and CDs are coming from the same parent company, so it’s not like the CD people didn’t know the DVDs were coming and vice versa. As EldarionSonOfElessar says, relax. And I don’t mean that in a dismissive, belittling way. I mean it as a concerned friend. Take it easy. You’re working yourself into a froth for no reason.
I will tell you right here: The Two Towers: The Complete Recordings will be out this year. 2006. It will be out earlier in the year than FOTR: CR was. How much, how little? Just wait. I’m not saying because I’m not supposed to say… and because it’s simply too early to begin talking about it.
>>>Finnaly,i must tell you that i read carefully almost the entire thread(except the mindless/nonsense/unrelated to this topic mumblings).
P.S.:This is a film music message board,not one for advertising pills.>>>
I can only assume that this comment is directed at me, and if I am indeed coming off as an “advertising pill” then I am genuinely sorry, Beren. I’m here answering questions because… well, because people are asking questions. Really, the smartest thing I could do is say nothing, because I’ve put myself in the line of fire by offering to spill a few beans here and there while keeping a tight lid on others. But my enthusiasm gets the better of me. I want to be able to tell you everything. Heck, I’d like to buy a few six packs and have you all over to my basement to play you the early edits, show you the current draft of the notes and tell you stories.
That seems a little impractical, though, doesn’t it? Not to mention professionally and legally ill-advised.
But I’m new at all this. Maybe I’ll develop the tight-lipped stony demeanor of a pro later in my career, but for right now, I’m still a bit giddy about the whole thing. You’re right, Beren, LOTR is about emotion, not money. It’s about a lack of cynicism, about enthusiasm. And that’s why I’m here. I’m not trying to ram this release down people’s throats. I’m not trying to convince you all that really, there was only one disc’s worth of decent material, so you should still shell out $60.00 for a third of the product, then sneering out the top of my new convertible while my silk neckerchief billows in the wind. (For the sake of clarity, I’ll stress that I’m joking here… TTT:CR is NOT going to be only one disc long, I don’t have a convertible, and the day I start wearing silk neckerchiefs…. man….)
So, ok, I’m like six pages in now. See why Howard has to ask me to cut the notes back once in a while?
Beren, I’m glad you care. This set is made for people who care. But LOTR is also about trust. Think about that.
>>>Late next month I’ll be speaking in New Jersey
Where and when?
Is this engagement open to the public?
I live in New York and have an EZ Pass...>>>
According to https://www.creationent.com/cal/elf.htm, I’ll be at the Crown Plaza Meadowlands Hotel in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Good speakers call their agents, I check the webpage!) The convention runs from July 28 to 30, but I don’t know what day I’ll speak or what time. If they let me know in advance, I’ll post it here. It is open to the public, but it appears there’s a fee involved.
One comment: the set will be out earlier than FotR last year?! RIGHTEOUS! Booyah!