Yoav Goren: Creating the Epic Sound of Immediate Music’s Trailer Soundtracks

November 16, 2012 | By | Add a Comment

Before I highlight the latest uploads, sometime mid-week it was announced that due to government cheapness TVOntario’s programming would take another hit, and to make up for a $2 million shortfall the show begun by Elwy Yost, Saturday Night at the Movies, would be axed.

This is on par with the CBC axing The Friendly Giant decades ago, but SNATM is more than a series that’s influenced several generations of moviegoers.

The late Yost (father of Speed’s Graham Yost) was foremost an educator and film buff, and he began the show when no one was interested in aging Hollywood stars except cheap producers wanting a name in the credits and posters,  or maybe savvy CanCon producers who found a star still in possession of their Canadian citizenship papers for CanCon points.

Yost would set up his yearly Hollywood visits and go knock on the doors of stars, directors, production designers, screenwriters, composers, etc., interview them on 16mm film in their homes, offices, or gardens, and trot back to Toronto where the show’s editors would cut together a smartly themed programme of intro + film + interviews + second feature + interviews and fadout.

The formula remained in place for decades because it worked, and sometimes Yost would apologize for booking a long movie which would keep viewers up late. The movies were screened without any ads – a major plus over movies aired by commercial stations – and as Yost once described in an interview, the standard disclaimer “This Film Not To Be Copied” burned over the main credits for a few seconds was probably the most copied warning on TV.

With producer Risa Shuman, Yost often presented uncut film – namely the original British edits over the U.S. versions, and before home video started to embrace restorations and director cuts, SNATM was airing them because they found extant prints. Most of the British films on Criterion I saw as a kid because Yost aired them, like The Fallen Idol (1948).

The viability of SNTAM was affected by several things: it relied perhaps too much on the same formula, Yost started to natter on, and when its host / creator retired, it was at period when TVO was already being afflicted by budget cuts and inroads made by home video and specialty channels. The same films were being rebroadcast, and the excitement of hidden gems was pretty much gone. Once in a while they’d air a film available nowhere in Region 1 land, but it was fairly infrequent.

Attempts were made to upgrade the programming with more recent films – 70s. 80s, 90s – and a new batch of interviews mixed with old – and there were ongoing attempts to find the right host and showrunner; basically a new Yost.

It’s been years since I peeked at the show simply because for movie buffs there are many options, and there wasn’t a consistent Yostian face in charge of the series. The concept was simple: you sit down with a friend and without being nerdy, arrogant, or filled with meandering pap, let him / her explain the relevancy of several films with support material (interviews).

I’d argue SNATM influenced Criterion because they showed you could present films outside of a classroom and make them relevant. You could enrich viewers without the dullness inherent to my old film classes with a senile prof (and, er, former TVO producer) and former political science zealot. (I fucking hated the latter, for whom by $350 for second year Film Theory was a waste.)

SNATM was a precursor to the Criterion Collection, and you could tape it, archive it, revisit it, re-learn, and get hooked on films video stores probably never carried. With the slow death of video rental stores still ongoing, people fed up with high cable TV rates, and a bit tired of the TCM Cult, there is room for TVO’s show. Not everyone lives in an area with surviving video stores, and not everyone likes TMN and its spinoffs.

It reaches both Canadians and Americans, is tied to film courses at Dork U, and as video rentals evaporate and students have trouble getting their hands on films now out of print on video, SNATM kind of helps, you know?

I understand aging shows are easy targets for bean counters, but I started to watch Yost’s SNATM and Magic Shadows almost 10 years after it debuted, and I owe a great deal to its creator, its producer, and the show. A former colleague often talks of a favourite uncle who got her hooked on films, as does another colleague. SNATM / Yost was the surrogate uncle, the arbiter of film history delivered local, free, and unfettered by bullshitting theorists.

To kill the show is easy, but it’s also lazy.

Right now Yost is looking down, way down, at his former network, and sees his intent – to educate – evaporating. SNATM’s survived a lot of hurdles since Yost’s retirement, and apparently it was starting to rediscover its identity and mandate.

There’s really no film lab, distributor, network, or studio willing to sponsor the show like many of PBS’ programs? Getting a name on a petition is a small nugget of support, but if you’re in the industry and can see how the show is an opportunity in good will and worthy sponsorship, please help out.

Moving on.

Just uploaded is an interview with Yoav Goren, the founder of Immediate Music, which specializes in providing music for movie trailers. You may not know the names behind the music, but you sure know the music that’s accompanied some of the biggest tent-pole pictures over the past 20 years. Check out the company website for samples, then read the CD review of Goren’s latest work, Trailerhead: Triumph [M], and then have a listen to the podcast that’s up at Big Head Amusements.

Coming next: a review of Red Scorpion, released on Blu via Synapse in all of its needle-piercing glory, and a podcast with composer Penka Kouneva and reviews of several video game soundtracks (including Kouneva’s A Warrior Odyssey).

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Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

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Category: EDITOR'S BLOG, FILM MUSIC

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