I'm Ethan, a film composer.

50+ short films scored. Composer of At Dusk, a feature length project that premiered at the Arizona Science Center on an IMAX screen. I was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. I spent most of my chilhdood humming music from The Shire. When I was 12 I tried my hand at video game design, and knew I would need music to make my game work. I downloaded a little MIDI sequencer called Anvil Studio and figured out how to plunk a few white notes in. The rest was history- I had discovered my life's passion and I haven't been able to stop since then. During my time at Arizona State University, I got the oppurtunity to help with countless film school projects. In 2016, I graduated with my B.S. in Computer Science, which taught me the essentials of logic, programming, and software engineering. I am fascinated with technology and its effect on music, and I believe my education has opened me up to limitless creative possibilities.

You can check out some of my work below.

Atlantis

A silent short film by Amber Tufts. Premiered in 2016. 5 minutes long. Cello performance by Therese Cudmore.

A mermaid and a man stare at each other through the surface of the water. She she's a glimmer around his neck and decides to pull him down into the depths. I was lucky enough to get to score this a few months after completing Ripples, so I already had a little bit of experience with mermaid short films before going into the project. This score is cello driven. It is also full of murky underwater textures, numerous mallet instruments, and a bit of a choir. Therese and I recorded the cello part in the ASU practice rooms a day before the premiere.

Miss You

A silent short film by Quinlan Donovan-Schager. Was awarded the Zach Booher music award at the December 2017 ASU Capstone Showcase for best use of original score. 5 minutes long. Cello performance by Therese Cudmore.

A long distance couple falls in love while dancing to their favorite waltz. This score is somber, earthy, and Cello driven. For this score I was challenged with writing a diegetic waltz that plays from a record player in the film. I got to define this couple's musical love language from the ground up. I decided early on that the piece should be contrapuntal in nature to represent the star crossed lovers and the way that their two lives overlap. I chose the cello as the main instrument because its range is close to that of the human voice- Therese and I were able to record this one in my apartment.

Go Fetch

A silent short film by Zane Berry. Premiered in 2017. 9 minutes long.

A boy gets a puppy for Christmas morning. The boy and the dog become great friends over the course of the film, until the dog has an unfortunate accident. The two are seperated for the second half of the film and the music breaks down into drama and catharsis. This suite is piano focused with a lot of family friendly orchestral color

For this film, the director and I knew early on that we wanted it to sound like a Pixar film. I was of course thrilled to work on the project, so I immediately started putting together a piano idea for the main theme. In the first half of this suite you can hear the piano idea in full. Later in the score I break it down and strip away elements.

At Dusk

A modern Western Mystery film by Vincent Viti IV. Premiered in IMAX at the Arizona Science Center on November 20th, 2015. 90 minutes long.

Claudia is a young reporter who is forced to move to the small Southwestern mining town of Nemonto Hills when her boyfriend, Sean, is transferred there for his job. While on a camping trip to the nearby Oro Springs, they discover a camcorder that shows the murder of two hikers. As a reporter, Claudia is compelled to investigate the case. Claudia and Sean quickly find themselves knee deep in a conspiracy. When the sadistic man, the Regent, who runs the town, finds out they have the footage, At Dusk becomes a race to reveal the truth or bury it forever. Claudia and Sean join forces with a retired cop and a mysterious old man in order to crack the mystery of Oro Springs.

At Dusk was my first feature length project, and it was a dream come true hearing this score on the IMAX speaker system in front of 200 audience members. I had exactly one month to score the film, which required 60 minutes of orchestral music. The tight timeline did not allow for any live recording. At Dusk is a blend of suspenseful string music, dramatic piano work, and a dash of cowboy adventure. Banjos and acoustic guitars bring the viewers right to the Arizona Desert where At Dusk was made. Oro Springs itself is scored with the Ney Flute and Gamelans to give the location an otherwordly vibe.

Holy Ground

A silent short film by Amber Tufts. Premiered in 2017. 4 minutes long.

A hunter finds strange tracks in the snow and follows them to find a crashed angel. He falls in love with her beauty. This score is pure fantasy, with birdlike flute calls and the glistening harp. Since the film takes place in an open snowy forest, I made sure to give the music lots of room to breath. I wanted the brass and woodwind passages to invoke a true sense of loneliness and even desolation.

There are three significant leitmotives in the piece. The "Wilderness" theme is the first thing we hear on the flutes. It relies a simple jump that sounds like a call in the wild. Next we get to hear the Hunter's Theme on quiet brass and low woodwinds. It is a noble question and answer phrase. When we meet the fallen angel, her theme is revealed on harp and woodwinds. When the two embrace, the Angel Theme and the Hunter Theme play in counterpoint.

Friday Night

A silent short film by Amber Tufts. Premiered in 2015. 3 minutes long.

The events of the night play out of order as a woman reminisces on her past. This score is based on warm analog synth sounds and "musical glitter" as Amber and I like to call it.

Lament

A short film by Keegan Luther. Premiered in 2017. 16 minutes.

There is no law or civilization left, only the infection. This score is bitter cold and mostly synth driven. The director didn't want too much overtly emotional orchestral scoring, so I was able to take a minimilast synth approach. The name of the game for this project was momentum- the music needed to provide the film with its own heartbeat.

Ripples

A short film by Sam Beasley. Premiered in 2016. 8 minutes long.

Ripples was Sam Beasley's final thesis project for Emerson Film School. It's about a man who goes out rowing on a mysterious Maine Lake every night. He finds something strange under the water's surface. Before he knows it, the man starts to descend into the depths of madness as he starts to fall deeper and deeper into the dark water.

With this score, I tried to balance suspense and beauty on the project. The footage is haunting, but it is not overkill, so the music needed to be subtle and twisted throughout. When the main character encounters the underwater woman and reaches down into the lake, dissonant swelling harmonies help the audience cross into the sideways dimension.

State of Grace

A silent short film by Amber Tufts. Was awarded the Zach Booher music award at the May 2017 ASU Capstone Showcase for best use of original score. 5 minutes long. Piano performance by Thomas A. Sievert.

A girl relives all of her memories after a devastating breakup. While she is on a night drive, all of her most emotional moments start to flow back to her. State of Grace is almost entirely silent, so most of the story needed to be told through the music.To accentuate the heartbreak, most of the score is driven by piano and strings. I wrote a main love theme for the couple that comes up during some of their most romantic memories. I brought in pianist and longtime collaborator Thomas A. Sievert to perform and record this score for me, and I think the results speak for themselves. Check out the soundcloud version of the score if you want to hear Thomas's extended performance of the main theme.

Energy Crisis

A short film by Vincent Viti IV. Premiered in 2015 at the A3F Film Festival. 9 minutes long.

A car chase! A fistfight. Nuclear weapons. Energy Crisis is a balls to the wall action adventure that doesn't let up until the end. Two dangerous dudes go on a journey to stop the mad genius inventor. Can they get to him before he blows up the city?

This score is full of brass and percussion driven action. During some parts I even got to throw in the electric guitar. Time was short on this project. Vinny, Shane, and I, had less than one week to write, film, star in, edit, and score the project. Once post production started, the three of were trapped in that tiny room for four days. We had food delivered to us and only took breaks to sleep. The score was so much of a joy to work on that the process flew by.

Boston Uncommon

A thriller TV special by Sam Beasley. Premiered on Emerson College's local channel in 2013. 30 minutes long.

This TV special is comprised of three short stories, all about seperate college students living in the Boston area. Each of them makes a mistake that is followed up by a horrible and unnatural consequence. Shadows, spiders, and axes can be found all over the place in Boston Uncommon.

The score is piano and string driven with a dash of acoustic manipulation. When it comes to working with Sam, suspense is usually the emotion we are going for, so that is mostly what you will find here. Tremolo strings lead the suspence while the far-away piano leads the audience further into the void.

Let's Get in Touch!

Don't be afraid to shoot me an email. My rates are indie friendly and I am ready to work within the constraints of any budget. If you have any projects in the works that might need music, I'd love to give your film a free assesment.

What is your project about? How long is it? What can I do to help you? What type of music do you want?

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  • Address

    1075 N Miller Rd
    Scottsdale, AZ
    United States of America
  • Email

    ethan@ethanrsmith.com
  • Phone

    (650)-515-8441