Composing Grandeur

Hi, my name is Frank DiMarco. I’m 43 years old and I am a television and film movie composer. This is my blog. I feel kind of funny starting this. I never was one to have a journal growing up. I always felt about life how I feel about photography. What was the point of taking pictures if it was preventing you from experiencing what you were trying to capture. I also have always been someone who never quite had something to say.


In fifth grade Mrs.Urubian showed us the first picture of the Earth that had been taken from space. She pointed out the different landmasses, the continents, the oceans, the rivers, the mountains and then with the point of her chalk she showed us how big our state, Maryland, was by comparison. She didn’t even complete a stroke of the line it was just a dot. It was as if she put a beauty mark on the face of Africa, dolling it up to be some limp-wristed dandy. Yes, we were existing within the artfully placed sticker covering up the syphilitic sores of the Sahara.


Suddenly, everything that I was experiencing at that moment didn’t seem to matter. My parents’ divorce didn’t matter, whether or not Susie Applesby liked me or not, or even if anyone would be able to find my cockatiel- what was the point of caring when we were so small? I guess I just figured, why care about things like emotions when they were such a small part of me who indeed was already so small. Sure, it sounds like a stereotypical realization- but that’s why stereotypes exist. If there wasn’t some truth to these patterns, these events, these gestures then they wouldn’t offend anyone.  But who’s this going to offend anyway? These phrases are just being shouted out into cyberspace and casually being bottled away into the infinite space of servers- machines will be the only audience to these words.


Anyways, I guess I should let you, my robot friends, know why I feel so inclined to write a blog for the first time. Well, as you might have assumed, I’ve started seeing a therapist. Not because I’ve necessarily been going through anything- quite the contrary if anything. I think I’ve been going because I feel like it gives my blasé life some sort of mystical allure. The first couple of sessions were quite informative. I learned that I resent my father and everything I’ve accomplished was to prove him wrong for leaving or to make my mother proud for sticking around. However, after that realization was made (day two), I found myself lacking in stories to entertain the therapist.


I got abou
t 15 minutes out of my rebellious stage in college. This was primarily consisted of going to see late night punk bands and sleeping through my music theory classes the next day. I got another 30 minutes out of my homoerotic dependency on my friend Karl and my insatiable need to live through him. When asked about my own love life everything always ended up the same way. Met a girl, fell in love, I wouldn’t be emotionally invested enough, she would become enraged and leave.  The only thing I ever did that seemed to entertain Dr.Kevin (he’s one of those salt-n-pepper, pony-tailed, clog-wearing doctors) was my Sunday afternoon ritual.



What I would do was I would go to cafes near the local college and pretend to be writing a screenplay or novella but in actuality be using my laptop as a shield in order to eye fuck the local tits. I would sit in my 2nd hand pleather lazy boy and drill my eyes right through the twentysomthings. Then when they would look up I took the opportunity to write dirty limericks, haikus or other poetic structures about them depending on their ethnicity. If they were Irish girls they were “Molly McInnis with a curious liking to penis”. If they were Asian their 5”5’, compact bodies would always end up being penetrated by my long, throbbing 7 syllables.


Yet, once again, after we giggled over my portfolio of poetry for about 15 minutes I was reduced to being just another creepy middle-aged guy pining for things just out of reach. When I got back to talking about my problems I found keeping Dr. Kevin’s attention to be harder and harder. Due to working mostly at home, I didn’t have a cast of characters to entertain him. I would just lie in his oversized beanbag chair and relay the sexual exploits of my tenor friend Karl or where my mom was taking her collie, Tambourine, next.
I remember when he tried talking to me about my job. He thought that it would be helpful because it was within the arts and would serve as a direct line to my emotions. I told him about how my mom and dad had both been musicians. My father was a rather famous 2nd violin and my mother had been a cellist and now taught music at my old grammar school. My pursuit of music had not been an emotionally invested one as much as it had been a logical one. I understood the mathematical patterns in music composition and had always had the historical arsenal to do well within my field. However, ironically enough, I was not blessed with a strong sense of rhythm. I could fake my way through most instruments but the consistency was the death of me. That’s why I chose composition. I could determine the patterns and rhythm without actually having to perform the motions. When I explained this too him- I remember actually having to tap him awake.


I don’t know who this experience was 
more embarrassing for. Was it a therapist bored with his patients, or a patient so discontent with living a boring life they actually bore their therapist to sleep? After a sunset of blush overtook his face and a slew of apologies on both ends he suggested this blog. He thought that if I typed about my life I might find something worthwhile to exploit. That I could self-edit my observations and bring him the crème a la crop. So here I am now, the excitement in my life being trying to entertain a therapist who probably thinks Kombuscha is a food group.



So, yeah. I guess I’ll just start off with what I’m working on now. After I graduated from college I found that my skills as a composer worked best within Hollywood’s constraints. Hollywood was looking for composers who worked within themes and my love of patterns easily allowed me to become fairly successful. Even the transition from orchestral to digital composition suited my non-rhythmic needs. Now the embarrassment of inconsistently counting measures to orchestras was no longer an issue. The computer didn’t see my over the top vaudevillian gestures made to emphasize beats; it just took the math I gave it and out came the score.
For some reason, though I have worked within several genres of music, what I end up doing is usually Lifetime romance movies and corny action flicks. The action movies provide me with a lot of money, while the Lifetime movies tend to be really easy to crank out when I need some extra cash. Everyday I just sit in front of my computer with the soundboards humming, watching clips of teen has-beens from 70’s sitcoms making out with strapping lumberjack men or those same lumberjack men falling from buildings and shooting people.


I find it is relatively easy work. With the Lifetime movies it usually is just some well-placed acoustic guitar strums and maybe some alto-sax for the romance scenes. With the action films it is just French horns, drums and depending if it is marketed to younger audiences, maybe some electric guitar. Suspense is easily obtained with some catty strokes of the violin.


Sometimes Karl will come over still hung over from his nights of debauchery with the LA opera interns and watch me work. He’ll boomingly laugh at the ease of my job as I play the clips over and over again on the computer. I can tell he resents the money I make, but he never ceases to point out how much passion he has for music. How his voice reaches into the souls of people whereas my dribble is nothing but “the natural male enhancer”. He rubs this in further when he plays his favorite game, “which composer is Frank ripping off”. Children’s choirs have come to mean Danny Elfman. Anything too booming is John Williams. If I have anything repetitive, soft and building I get Philip Glass.


He knows I sold out before I even had anything worthwhile to sell and he knows I know it. So I just sit in front of my computer watching men fall. They fall from immeasurable heights, they fall into traps, they fall from honor, they fall in love and in the end their difficulties fall away from them. What do I do? I sit and measure the distance between them and the ground

© 2012 Molly Jo Shea. all rights reserved. 

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