Arts & Entertainment, Music

Writing Tips: Part 2

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 11:12 min

Hans provides insights into how to make sure you aren't limiting your creativity when writing.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Writer's Block • Budgets • Passion


How do you write music? You know, you can write music by sitting in front of a piano. And your fingers will run across the keys. And usually, what happens is they fall into certain patterns of muscle memory. So the way I write is I turn up in my room in the morning. And if I don't know about the tune is, I do it like this. I sit on my hands until I have an idea, and I don't let them stray to the keyboard. Because I know what's going to happen. It's just going to be muscle memory. It's just going to be a thing I did last week or whatever. So the most impossible part is not to touch the keyboard. Because it's so tempting to go and touch the keyboard and play a load of crap. And you know, very often, you can play a load of crap, and people are really happy with it. But at the end of the day, there has to be a sense of adventure in it for me. Otherwise, it gets boring. So there has to be a sense of the new and we've never tried this before. And if it means setting a piano on fire, or going to Africa, and going into a township, and working with an African choir that, you know, none of us speak the same language, or going to Slovakia and meeting some extraordinary musicians, so be it. I think writer's block comes from many different places, but I think one of them is you don't know what you're doing yet. You don't know what the story is you want to tell. Or you feel you haven't done your research yet. I mean, that's one form of writer's block. The other one is just you've been working too much, and you're burned out. You're not enjoying it anymore. But quite honestly, I never have that. Because I love what I do, and I get excited by it. But I can't write until I know what I'm writing about. And that isn't-- that's a little harder to explain. Because weirdly, it's not in the script, and it's not on the screen. It's some weird, strange version, which is my version of the film, my little bit on the-- left-hand side of the corner of the screen, there's something going on that nobody pays attention to. And it becomes really important to me. And that's the story I want to tell, or that's the part I can contribute. So once I know what I can contribute, I know what to write about. And up until that moment, I just sit there in, you know, total panic like a dear in front of the headlights. Budgets-- because this is what people always want to know about. They always think-- they always think that we're either completely rolling in it, and it's just like a gazillion dollars, or what every film composer tells you, there isn't enough money. And of course, none of it is true. At the end of the day, I've done some of the most fun things on movies where I have no budget. And I did the most boring things where I had sort of a bit too much money. So budget-- you know, the budget shouldn't affect the creative process. The creative process takes place in you...

About the Instructor

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.

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Hans Zimmer

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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