high school musical

A Conversation With High School Musical Composer, David Lawrence

David Lawrence is a film and television composer, songwriter and producer whose score and song credits include the American Pie films, the High School Musical series, and the forthcoming HBO documentary, Becoming Mike Nichols. The Sun spoke with Lawrence in anticipation of his visit this Friday about movie music, the process of scoring and Frank Sinatra. The Sun: There are so many people who write music to be a pop hit or for the radio.  Was it your goal to write television theme music or soundtrack music? David Lawrence: I went to conservatory in New York.

Photo Courtesy of QuotesBerry

WATCH ME IF YOU CAN | Manufacturing Desire in the Movies

In the early 1900s, people spent less time at work and there was an increase in wages.  For the first time in a while, there was disposable income and more leisure time for the average American.  There was also a major shift from the ethic of production to one of consumption.  Thus, desire was being manufactured at unprecedented rates.  Shopping became an important part of American pop culture, as it was one way to spend leisure time (and money, too).

Disdaining Fortune: Macbeth at Cornell Cinema

Last year saw the release of the latest film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, directed by Justin Kurzel. Gory, passion-driven and gripping, this film captures the vengeful air of Shakespeare’s Scotland well. The film was originally shown at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. The audience thought it was so extraordinary that Macbeth received a ten minute-long standing ovation after its screening. Since then, it has received positive reviews across the board, and it has easily become one of my personal favorite Shakespeare adaptations.

GUEST ROOM | An Ode to Binge-Watching

Many thanks to the Internet, the television world and the desire for more cutting-edge content, binge-watching has become America’s pastime. For many, there is nothing more satisfying (yet also daunting) than spending hours on end watching a series, and then finally completing it. In the days before readily accessible media, it would take (literally) years to start and finish a television show. You also had to start it as soon as it was on air in order to ensure you didn’t miss a beat. Fans had to make sure their DVR was set (if they even had it) in the event they couldn’t work with a network’s agenda to get a show out.

Photo Courtesy of Groundswell Productions

WATCH ME IF YOU CAN | Hollywood and the Blacklist

The 2015 biopic Trumbo depicts the struggle that many screenwriters faced during the Red Scare. Dalton Trumbo (played by Bryan Cranston), along with nine other screenwriters, was tried and charged for contempt of Congress under the accusation of writing films promoting anti-American ideals.  As a consequence, he and many other writers faced blacklisting, forbidding them from writing and getting paid, wasting an enormous amount of talent. After his jail time, he decided to use the loopholes in his court orders to his advantage. Trumbo wrote films under the identity of Robert Rich (another screenwriter who was away on military leave) and even won an Academy Award for Best Original Story for The Brave One.

COURTESY OF  AMC

An Interview with Semi Chellas of Mad Men

Semi Chellas is a writer and co-executive producer for the acclaimed television series Mad Men. The Emmy-nominated writer studied English at Cornell as a Mellon fellow, and on March 10 will be returning to campus to speak at Klarman Hall. In anticipation of her lecture, “Telling Secrets: Notes from the Writers’ Room,” the Sun had a chance to speak with Chellas about her experiences writing for Mad Men and her opinions on the television industry in general. The Sun: What are the day-to-day operations like working in the writers’ room? Semi Chellas: There were about 10 to 12 people in the writing room, including two advertising people — i.e. not advertisers for the show but people who worked in advertising — [including] one that worked in advertising in the 60s.