by Jenny Leigh Hodgins
[My interview with creator Kristen Baum posts in four 30-minute YourCreativeChord Podcast episodes.]
I had the ease and joy of interviewing LA-based composer, writer and poet, Kristen Baum. We had a 2-hour conversation that felt like we'd only just started. Baum is highly energetic, articulate and on-point, and evidently a mover-and-shaker in the creative worlds of film composing, poetry, and writing.
Baum is a (Composers Lab) Sundance Fellow who frequently collaborates on diverse film and live theater projects. She “creates custom scores for films in genres including fantasy, character-driven drama and thriller.”
Baum has “composed music for many projects, from award-winning features and short films to music for studio motion pictures.”
Working With Hollywood Great Film Composer Christopher Young
In addition to orchestrating her own projects Baum has also orchestrated for Hollywood-established Film Composer, Christopher Young. For those who may not be familiar, Young’s film scores include those for: Priest (2011), Rum Diary (2011, starring Johnny Depp), Spiderman 3 (2007, starring Tobey Maguire), The Uninvited (2009), Entrapment (1999), Hellraiser (1987), Nightmare On Elm Street (1985).
Baum “has worked closely with Christopher Young and carries his influence forward in her composing and collaborative approach. She wrote additional music (source) for Book of Eli and orchestrated on Priest and When in Rome. Kristen wrote the score for the dramedy As High as the Sky, which won several audience choice awards on the festival circuit in addition to winning Juror’s Choice for Best North American Feature at Sonoma International Film Festival.
Multiple Creative Outlets From Music to Poetry to Fiction
She also composes and records art songs. Her musical works have premiered in Hollywood, Nashville, Tennessee and Marquette, Michigan. She is a frequent contributor of articles about film composing for HD Pro Guide Magazine and Student Filmmakers Magazine.”
Earning Awards As A Film Composer
Baum also has received Awards and Recognition, including:
2013 BMI Conducting Lab
2011 Sundance Composers Lab Fellow, Feature Films Lab
2011 Park City Film Music Festival, Gold Medal for Excellence in Original Music for the score for The Things You Lose In The Ocean.
I spoke with Baum just after she’d returned from a 2-week writing retreat near the Oregon rainforests, where she and her writing partner began outlining a new novel.
We talked about her creative background and training, and her many creative projects, ranging from music to poetry to writing a fiction novel. She shared how she took the passionate leap to move from Arizona to L.A. to pursue film composing, and then took advantage of being in the right place at the right time to absorb all things film scoring from established Hollywood film composer, Christopher Young.
We also dove into her experience as a Sundance Fellow. Baum shares what that workshop learning process was like, working alongside 5 other Sundance Fellow composers, with guidance from mentor composers Christopher Young, Harry Gregson Williams, George S Clinton, Ed Shearmer, and Alan Silvestri.
Moving The Needle Toward Positive Creative Women Role Models
We discussed the relatively newly-formed group, Alliance For Women Film Composers, addressed the issue for more women composers to emerge, and how women creators of all varieties may proactively move the needle toward more positive creative women role models.
On Collaboration And That Little Inner Critic
We discussed Baum’s approach for collaboration with a director on a film project, both technically and through her personal creative process. She shared what empowers her creativity as well as how she actively deals with that little inner critic or voice of ‘resistance’ (in a nod to author Stephen Pressfield) to keep her creativity flowing.
Baum shared how the variety of her creative outlets is pivotal to tapping inspiration for her work. Her creative works range from composing and orchestrating film scores, art songs, poetry, and fantasy fiction.
Her poetry has been published in several literary journals, and those links are below. I asked Baum to share one of her poems, and she obliged me with her recitation of her beautiful poem, “And No One Hears It.”
But I assure you, you will hear Baum’s powerful creative voice throughout this amazing interview, and if you checkout her music or writings. You’ll find those links below.
I love featuring women creators like Kristen Baum because her powerfully passionate energy, coupled with her ability to articulate her impressive intellect and her pure intentions are a compelling voice for the joy of exploring creative life.
My interview with creator Kristen Baum will post in four 30-minute YourCreativeChord Podcast episodes.
1. Baum was selected to participate as a 2011 Sundance Composers Lab Fellow, with mentorship from Hollywood film composers Christopher Young, Harry Gregson Williams, George S Clinton, Ed Shearmer, and Alan Silvestri.
2. Baum took the leap from Arizona to L.A. to pursue film scoring, springboarding her film composing career from the fortune of working with film composer Christopher Young.
3. Baum shares how her multi-outlet creative works, from orchestrations, film scores, art songs, to poetry, and a fantasy novel work-in-progress, thrive on ebb and flow.
4. We dive deep into a look at Baum's technical and creative process for a collaborative film project.
5. Baum shared how she addresses the inevitable inner critic that creators must encounter.
6. Baum shares her understanding of how Alliance For Women Film Composers originated and the role women creators have toward increasing the number of creative women professionals.
7. Baum recites one of her short poems.
Where to find Kristen Baum’s creative work:
Kristen Baum’s Composer Website
Listen to Kristen Baum's Music on Soundcloud
Director Mike Bonomo’s YouTube Channel
Kristen Baum’s poetry is available here:
Contrary Magazine, Issue Winter 2020
Voice of Eve, Issue 15
Blue Heron Review, Issue 8
Other Resources From This Interview:
Alliance For Women Film Composers
War of Art by Steven Pressfield
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
Walking In This World by Julia Cameron
Possibilities by Herbie Hancock
Film Scores by Christopher Young
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