Go Inside The World of Composing For The Hottest Film Trailers & Video Games

by | Dec 4, 2014 | Music Licensing

An interview with audiomachine’s Paul Dinletir

There’s a fairly new genre of music that you need to know about. It’s called “Epic,” and it is primarily being used in movie trailers, identity stingers, and video game soundtracks.  If you’re a gamer, you may already be well into kicking ass on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.  The soundtrack was done by audiomachine, specifically Paul Dinletir. It’s a lot like the trailer to Titanfall. Guess what? Audiomachine did that, too.

Carol Sovinski, and her business partner / head composer Paul Dinletir, launched audiomachine in 2005.  Their mission has always been focused on creating the best original music and sound design for film trailers, television, video game soundtracks and advertising.

Performer Magazine: Such a pleasure to meet you both. How was this partnership formed, and how does it still work?

Paul Dinletir: Well, I’m the composer, so that’s what I do.

Carol Sovinski: And I guess you could say I’m the “brains” (laughs). Seriously, this is our 10th year of partnership, and our 20th of friendship, so we work very well together.  I don’t write, and he doesn’t want to set meetings. The music business is a whole lot of paperwork and phone calls. While there may be some people who can write and record music, as well as take calls, send emails, field briefs, etc., for us, it works better if I can focus 100% on where the music is going, and Paul can focus 100% on what music is going there.

PM: You’re known for trailers, but a whole game soundtrack is a big move. How’d it happen?

PD: They just called Carol and invited me up for a meeting. The process was great. They would send clips of 20 minutes or so, and I would write around that, being inspired by the stages or the levels of the game play. It’s [COD:AW] going to be a great game; I think the music adds to that.

PM: Obviously, audiomachine isn’t a band and doesn’t tour, but you are racking up CD sales, YouTube views, etc. How are you accomplishing this?

CS: We are seeing that there are fans of this “Epic” music genre, so we wanted to get it to them. We’re distributed primarily through CD Baby. They do a great job with collection, calculation, and streaming with Spotify, Pandora, etc. Then we’re registered with SoundExchange and publishing on ASCAP and BMI – all of those companies play a part in our digital royalty plans. We also do direct master/syncs and upfront library payments. We are really making a push within YouTube, too.  But, I have to say, CD Baby makes it very easy. Can’t say enough about them, we’ve been with them for three years, and are very happy.

PM: What advice do you have for becoming a better composer and breaking in?

CS: All of the rules are the same. It’s still a pennies game. You have to network with pros, and you must learn metadata and digital distribution strategies. Don’t pitch until you are ready; you may only have one chance.

PD: Also, never write a piece of music unless there is a video. The picture moves you to different places. Otherwise it’s the same old chords.

PM: You are known for pushing the envelope by recording in some of the most historic studios in the world. Is that still the case?

PD: Oh yes, we’ve used every single one of them. I just returned from AIR Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, in London. It’s unfortunate to not be able to use the amazing talent here in LA. The unions don’t have trailer contracts for buyout and the industry doesn’t have a reuse fee. Bulgaria and Australia are popping up; it’s just a higher level and a little more money. With “Source Connect” remote, it’s just an amazing experience.

PM: What tools do you use in your process, Paul?

PD: After 15 years of Logic, I just switched to Cubase. I have a monster PC, linked with seven other computers, so I can use all of these voicings and sounds without being slowed down. That’s big for me. I do use Pro Tools when I record, but it is just not set up to compose.

PM: Most of us cannot use world-class orchestras. How often are you coming straight out of a digital environment?

PD: A lot, in the past two years it’s gotten pretty amazing. The quality is so good now that most industry people cannot tell the difference. But, as fantastic as digital can be, there’s just a difference to the live orchestra recordings; it’s just a higher level of work. Just compose the best music filled with emotion, because the technology (and the sound recordings from it) perform incredibly now.

Check out the new album of 18 remixed audiomachine classics, featuring RAC, Cole Plante, Matt Lange, and others at cdbaby.com/Artist/Audiomachine and for more info visit audiomachine.com.


-Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.