Around five years ago I spotted Bear McCreary at a Marvel music panel at ComiCon. While there were several huge film composers and Bear there for a TV series (AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.), he was the one courting long lines of fans awaiting his autograph. I remember pondering, “Why this Guy?”
Around the same time I attended a Hollywood Bowl film concert conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Mixed in with movie composers like Thomas Newman was that television dude, Bear and a suite from BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. HMMM…
Then I went to an ASCAP Dinner where Bear was winning awards by the armful for a bunch of his television work. “Okay, he scores a shitload of TV stuff, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good,” I thought dripping with judgement.
Then they announced the winner of “TV Composer of the Year” an honor based on quality chosen by composing peers. “Damn, it’s that Bear!”
HOW TO PAY THE RENT WITH EXPOSURE
To be honest, I hadn’t heard a note of Bear’s music (other than the Bowl’s GALACTICA Suite) or seen a single episode of anything he had done up to this point. However, it was the constant exposure he was getting everywhere (including his prolific, and often amusing, social media posts) that definitely caught my attention. I’m in show business and with all that exposure he was showing.
HATERS GOTTA HATE
I also took note, with tremendous amusement, of an undercurrent of some people who voiced their fevered dislike and resentment of Bear. The ocean of composers and wannabe composers is enormous and typically, fairly straight-ahead, indistinguishable, without controversy… and, most often, utterly forgettable. Here was a guy sticking his neck out and generating strong reactions both positive and, more interestingly to me, negative. A media composer pissing people off?!?!? Interesting.
I devilishly took note as my curiosity piqued. I dove into his music and got to know Bear better and better as a person. I adored both.
In reality, I had ZERO interest in capitalize on his success in television. He didn’t need me for that. I wanted to focus on what my agency and I could uniquely bring to the table.
So I challenged him… “ARE YOU REALLY READY TO BECOME A FILM COMPOSER?”
That would mean going from the big fish in one world to basically starting anew in another. It would mean a great deal of investment of time, energy and resources trying to stake a claim in the feature film world.
It would mean tons of meetings. And tons of rejections.
It would mean tons of demos. And tons of rejections.
It would mean lots of shifts both big in small of how to approach attaining these goals. And did I mention the rejections?
A HUNGRY BROTHER BEAR
Getting to know Bear was discovering someone who, starting as a kid, clearly has been dying to score feature films like his early mentor Elmer Bernstein. Getting to know Bear was finding a spiritual brother who shared my same spirit of crazed, passionate risk-taking and creative wackiness.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
So we started. One submission at a time. One pitch at a time. Most attempts to crack into film failed. But some didn’t. And so we built on that always clear about our goals. Along the way he forged new relationships with guys like J.J. Abrams and getting bigger and more varied scoring opportunities.
FILM COMPOSER OF THE YEAR
Last year Bear scored a boatload of films including a Godzilla movie, a historic drama, an Amblin-style fantasy adventure and a Chucky movie with a song sung by Mark Hamill! He just went to the the Sundance Film Festival where his film, CRIP CAMP from the Obamas’ Production Company won the Audience Choice Award. A lot of great music written by a guy who loves what he does. And I love doing it with him.
Today he was recognized by the International Film Music Critics Association as “FILM Composer of the Year”
DAMN THAT FEELS GOOD.