Recently, director Tim Burton spoke about his live-action remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo. Now, composer Danny Elfman, a long-time collaborator with Tim Burton, has given an interview to Collider about Dumbo.
Danny Elfman said this on whether Tim Burton had a good sense of what he was doing with Dumbo when Elfman joined the project:
“Yeah, he had a pretty good sense of what he was doing, but he didn’t have a good sense yet of the music. He usually evolves that, over the process. It all starts with a thing called the spotting session, where you sit down and go over the whole movie, and every cue gets a number and a name and a little bit about the cue.”
“With Tim, it’s the fastest spotting sessions, in my life […] if it’s an hour and 45-minute movie, the spotting session will be two hours and 15 minutes. He adds about a half-hour. He doesn’t talk about it.”
“He just says, ‘Okay, music here, and music here. We’re gonna keep that. We want that to soar. We want that to be sweet.’ He doesn’t verbalize, and that’s fine. Really, the more he verbalizes, it’s not gonna really help me. Telling me how he feels will help me, so that’s what he does. He’ll say, ‘I feel this way about this scene. I feel this way about that scene.’ Then, I start writing.”
“And when I’m writing, I’ll write more than one option because I know Tim. If I play three things for him, it’ll help him focus and say, ‘Oh, no, that’s the wrong way to go. This is the right way to go.’ It’s through that kind of experimentation that I help him figure out what he is really looking for, musically, in the film.”