A Q&A with Film/TV Composer known for Disney Animation’s “Just a Thought” Tangelene Bolton

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  1. What inspired you to become a film composer?

    In my teens, I had aspirations of being a film director. I would make short films with my camcorder and edit in some of my favorite soundtracks like: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Jon Brion), Road to Perdition (Thomas Newman), and The Lake House (Rachel Portman). During this period of film exploration and experimentation, I realized the emotional impact and storytelling power of a film score which would ultimately set me down the path to be a film composer.

  2. Knowing that you first got your start working for A-list composers such as Hans Zimmer & Henry Jackman, I wonder at what point you decided to go freelance? How was the transition period?

    Right out of college, I first got my start interning for Hans and his team and then for Henry Jackman and his team. I remember really grinding, first going to work at a Yoga Studio at 5am and then immediately going to intern, sometimes until late hours. Crazy times! I was eventually hired to work for Hans and his team. This was an amazing opportunity where I learned a lot about the business, met a ton of composers and learned how high the standard was for media composition. It is also where I met my current mentor, Bobby Tahouri. When I met Bobby, our personalities naturally worked well together, and I had so much respect for him as a composer. When he landed, Rise of the Tomb Raider, I left to work for him while freelancing on the side as a composer for indie films, short films and commercials. The transition was pretty seamless because I knew that the growth on a professional, technical, and musical level would be worth it. I was also ready to focus on developing and nourishing my musical voice early in my career.

  3. You scored a very beautiful Disney short called “Just a Thought”. Can you tell us about your creative process and your collaboration with Brian Menz?

    Thank you! It was a dream project and my first major studio film as a solo composer. Brian is a true talent and he and I just clicked creatively. I was given a rare opportunity of trust in my abilities and perspective on the short. The way that I would describe the score is a blend of Jazz, ragtime and a throwback to the warm and nostalgic old school traditional Disney scores that I grew up loving. The opportunity to work constructively and creatively with a team of such high caliber was life-changing.

  4. Congratulations on being one of the four composers for Sundance’s new: Film Music in Animation Intensive. What was the experience like? Do you have any advice you could share with our members who want to apply in the future?

    Thank you, it was a true honor! After the lab, I felt much more confident in my musical voice. I was invited to be a fellow in the intensive, so there was no application process, but my advice to others is to always apply for any opportunity that comes your way. You never know who will take notice and open the door for you in another way.

  5. You are very versatile, and do a lot of different projects such as film, TV, video games, advertising etc. Is there one that you particularly enjoy? If so, why?

    I love them all! Any opportunity to help tell a story through music and to continue learning and growing as a composer, I am always down for!

    (This interview was conducted by Esin Aydingoz)

Spotlight Archive

Jennifer Thomas (April 12, 2021)
Wei-San Hsu (April 5, 2021)
Lili Haydn (March 29, 2021)
Elizabeth Phillipson-Weiner (March 22, 2021)
Tangelene Bolton (March 16, 2021)
Lauren Buchter (March 8, 2021)
Daisy Coole (March 2, 2021)
Cindy O’Connor (February 22, 2021)
Aurélie Webb (February 16, 2021)
Joy Ngiaw (February 8, 2021)