Soundtracks for Focus and Motivation
As an editor who works from home and has kids, finding a productive work pattern is essential. Time’s limited and focus tends to wander. I love music in all forms. I’ve written before Sirius, Spotify, and youtube have all been essential in discovering new artists. They’ve all helped in, motivation as well, but there is something about a great soundtrack that is particularly good for focus. So here are ten Soundtracks I use for Focus and Motivation.
I have never watched the movie, but Philip Glass’ soundtrack is extraordinary. It is the one I listen to when editing, writing or daydreaming on a long car ride. Depending on your mood it can be serious or amusing. Seeing the movie may end up putting it into one of the categories so I’ll continue to avoid it.
PURCHASE: The Hours (Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Standout Track: morning passages
A great movie never has a bad soundtrack and sometimes a great soundtrack can fool the audience into believing a movie is better than it is. That’s often the trick to good editing. I watched Interstellar when it was released and thought it was terrific. It has excellent filmmakers and actors, but was it a great movie? The soundtrack fooled most, including me, into thinking it was a great film. I watched it again and there are some incredible scenes, like the drone chase or the water planet but it is deeply flawed and clumsy.
The Hans Zimmer’ soundtrack for Interstellar lacks the clumsiness, save for perhaps the schmaltzy poetry reading at the end. Zimmer is a regular at Oscar time for his inspirational soundtracks. Christopher Nolan pushed him out of his comfort zone for Interstellar and Inception. Inception is excellent as well, but the repeating theme of Interstellar works better in the background for me. Both are worth a listen.
Standout Tack: First Step
A Beautiful Mind
If Hans Zimmer is Tom Brady then James Horner is Peyton Manning. I’ve grown up with Horner. He scored the Karate Kid and Willow. There are some duds on his list and some movies you’ll enjoy and not give it much thought after it’s over. A Beautiful Mind is one of those movies for me, but I find myself returning to its soundtrack repeatedly. Its whimsical nature is excellent for editing or writing fiction as I like to do.
Standout Track: A Kaleidoscope of Mathematics
I’m a huge fan of RAC. I don’t know anything about them but their remixes take songs I don’t like to ones I love. If you can apply that formula to your life think of the amazing things we’d accomplish. They also write original music and a couple years ago scored a video game called Master Spy. As with The Hours, I have no experience playing Master Spy, but its upbeat tempo is the perfect background for coding or late night editing sesh.
Standout Track: Misson 2 (Mansion)
Jonathan Glazer, the director of Birth was an early inspiration for me. While the opening scene of birth is expert level, the rest of the movie left me empty. Glazer directed some of the best music videos of the 90s as well as the underrated Sexy Beast. The soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat is gorgeous. I’ve used it as a temp track for years and it has a luxurious tone that elevates your work when you share space with it.
Standout Track: Prologue
Video game soundtracks are built different than movie soundtracks. The goal with music in video games is to heighten focus, but not so much so the user burns out. That’s the reason, you should look to video game soundtracks when looking to increase focus. I’ve no idea what genre of game of Bastion is but the music alone almost makes me want to try it.
Standout Track: Slinger’s Song
The Virgin Suicides
Bringing rock stars to cinema scoring was nothing new. Mark Knoffler scored the Princess Bride. Sofia Coppola employing Air, a French electro-pop band was a risk, especially considering it was her first feature and Air’s as well. The movie was a bit uneven but on atmosphere alone, it garners a thumbs up. The soundtrack is outstanding. I’ve loved every Air album and this would stand alone even without a film attached to it. It has personality and that makes it a great soundtrack to work to or play in the background at a dinner party.
Standout Track: Playground Love
This is one everyone knows. It works especially well when editing political ads calling for 60 cuts in 25 seconds or driving home after a 24 hour shoot.
Standout Track: The Son of Flynn
Journey OST – Complete Soundtrack
I know nothing about this. Is it a game? Not sure. I know that it’s a terrific soundtrack to your next project. Composed by Austin Wintory and it’s been on my favorites list for years.
Take your afternoon walk with your pup to a new level. Pop this masterpiece in, then get back to work. This is my once in a blue moon, late at night soundtrack. It hasn’t aged a day in nearly 40 years and it’s that attention to detail in Jerry Goldsmith’s work that motivates me when I not feeling creative.