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How to Be a Singer Songwriter for a Sci-Fi Movie

How to Be a Singer Songwriter for a Sci-Fi Movie
VoiceCouncil Contributor Marina V has just written and performed a track for the new film science fiction film– and been invited to a panel at Comic Con.

Marina V is award-winning Russian-American recording pop artist, singer and songwriter – who has now contributed a song to the Space Command film created by Marc Zicree

We caught up with Marina as she was returning from her panel discussion at Comic Con – and asked her to share insights that apply to all singer songwriters.

How did you make the link to the filmmakers of Space Command?
This is a “small world” kind of story. One of my fans saw my FB post where I talked about being a sci-fi fan, and said – hey, maybe you should reach out to the Space Command team about using your songs in their movie? So I thought – why not?

“Hey, maybe you should reach out to the Space Command team about using your songs in their movie?” So I thought - why not?

What was your next step?
I went to IMDb and saw that David Raiklen was listed as their composer! I have worked with David in the past – we co-wrote a song for a Yuri Gagarin documentary (narrated by Elliot Gould) a few years ago. So I reached out to David and he suggested writing the end-credits song together.

What ‘tack’ did you take to writing this piece of music – take us behind the scenes:
David Raiklen gave me the script and showed me some of the footage that had been shot, which helped me understand the vibe of the movie. We sat down in my studio and wrote some ideas we wanted to convey and then worked on the music and the lyrics.

How did you get into the mood of what you were doing?
So many current sci-fi movies show dystopian & bleak futures, but Marc Zicree (the creator/writer) has a much more optimistic, hopeful view for the future of humanity. So we wanted to write a hopeful song.

Did the piece come all at once – or in bits and pieces?
We wrote the music for the verse and chorus and some of the lyrics in my studio. Then I worked on the lyrics while on the plane flying to Moscow and finished the lyrics the next day at 5am when I couldn’t sleep (jet-lag!). I sang what I had into my laptop and emailed it to David. He loved it but asked to change one line, which I did. At that moment I was skyping with Nick (my husband/co-writer) and he suggested a line that I loved, so I used it :)

280x200-Marina V

Some of the recording process took place in Marina’s own home studio

Describe the recording process – did it start at home?
David Raiklen recorded the basic track in his studio in Long Beach, sent it to me, and I recorded midi piano (using Yamaha Motif keyboard into ProTools) in my home studio and sang a temporary vocal track. Then David met a few times with Steve Horner, who produced the song, and recorded most of the instruments/designed sounds in his studio in Encino, CA.

Did you go to the studio?
I joined David & Steve via Skype a couple of times to discuss the direction of the production. Then we recorded the vocals at the Scott Frankfurt studios in Woodland Hills, CA. I used a beautiful Neumann microphone, and did the lead & backing vocals and also some of the acoustic piano. Then I did a few more backing vocals and “oohs/aahs” in Steve’s studio.

Were you involved in the mix-mastering end of things?
Steve would do a mix and send it to David, and David would make any notes and after that would ask me for any notes. Then I’d make my notes and we’d send it all to Steve.

How was the Comic Con panel experience for you?
It was really exciting presenting/premiering my song to the audience. Marc Zicree and David Raiklen introduced me, I stood and took a bow, and they played the song in its entirety. Everybody on the panel and in the audience attentively listened while the song was pumping through the auditorium speakers, and then we got this big long ovation for the song.

That must have felt great!
It was my first Comic-Con, my first panel, and it was amazing. The actors and team members of Space Command were all extremely nice and everyone told me how much they loved the song. For a sci-fi fan like me, it was beyond cool!

Be the best you can be, work hard, be nice to people and be open to every opportunity

How does this interesting breakthrough help you in your career?
We shall see! It’s exciting that a whole new sci-fi audience will hear my music.
I grew up reading every sci-fi book I could find (I read Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles several times, in Russian and in English!), so on a personal level it is very special for me to be a part of the Space Command franchise.

What insights do you have for singer-songwriters who would like to break into this area?
My advice is always the same: be the best you can be, work hard, be nice to people and be open to every opportunity that comes your way!

Marina V Bio

Marina V is a Russian-American singer-pianist-songwriter whose music has been heard from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to the American Embassy in Moscow. Marina is also a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Singing. She’s written songs for NBC’s Days of Our Lives, ads such as PEPSI, games and films. Her song, “You Make Me Beautiful” recently won an award from Sir Bob Geldof. www.MarinaV.com

  • Ieda Derrico

    This girl is simply wonderful. If you don’t know her music yet, check it out on YouTube. Can’t wait to hear this new song from the Movie.