The Wisdom of Elmer Bernstein

I follow Bear McCreary’s work religiously. This is because he is one of those composers who is poised to become one of the greats next to John Williams and his former mentor, Elmer Bernstein. I’ll be reviewing some of his amazing work in the near future, but today I wanted to share with you an amazing post he in turn shared with his blog audience: his experiences and notes on his famous instructor. This was a rare treat indeed, and I’ll be holding onto it. I have the link to the post on the bottom, but first here are some of my favorites:

“Never fear your talented competitors. Fear the charlatans.”

I have already discovered the truth in these words. A little ways back, I became intimidated by the talent and success of another composer I was working with, but soon realized that this was not only silly but also counterproductive. They should instead serve as another tap for your creative flow, maybe even a boost to your motivation. Perhaps I will feel threatened again in the future, but if I do, I will use this as a mantra.

“If you get a chance to do the job, even if it’s going to be a mess, do it.”

Good advice, and not something I’m prone to doing. My usual instinct is not to move forward until I think things are as close to ideal as possible. Something I’ll have to work on.

“You can’t change the system. You have to deal with it the way it is.”

I suspect my youthful naivete will get in the way of this at times. Nonetheless, it’s something I will bear in mind.

“Respect the film. You don’t have to like it.”

Absolutely. I had been thinking about this for a while…what if you come across a film you don’t like, but you have to take it anyways? Well, you become a better person for servicing it the way it needs despite your personal feelings. I also like how this quote provides a counterbalance:

“Focus on who you are, what you’re willing to do or not do. Don’t prostitute yourself.”

Great stuff! Bear is always a font of useful and fascinating information. Keep up with his blog if you have the time!

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