1. My all-time favorite movie: De Tweeling, directed by Ben Sombogaart. An absolute masterpiece. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film (The Netherlands, 2002). Outstanding orchestral score by Fons Merkies. His brilliant theme remains in my heart until this very moment.
2. Films that inspired me to become a filmmaker: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (dir. Peter Jackson, composer Howard Shore), Home Alone (dir. Chris Columbus, composer John Williams), The Chinese Botanist's Daughters (dir. by Sijie Dai, Composer Eric Lévi), Once Upon a Time in America (dir. Sergio Leone, composer Ennio Morricone) and of course, De Tweeling (dir. Ben Sombogaart, composer Fons Merkies).
3. Best movie I've seen in 2019: The Miseducation of Cameron Post (dir. Desiree Akhavan). Can't express how brilliant it was.
4. One actress and one actor I would love to work with: Frances McDormand and Tom Hanks
5. A director I would love to work with: Ron Howard
6. My happy place is: Making music- whether on the podium in front of an orchestra, playing the piano or in front of Cubase / ProTools.
7. My favorite hobby is: Hiking.
8. Most people don't know that I: often listen to film scores before watching the movies they were written for.
9. The most challenging project I worked on: Absentia (airing on AXN worldwide, and Amazon starting June 14th)- the 10 episodes crime-drama TV series which I scored earlier this year.
10. The project(s) I'm most proud of:
*Miss Arizona, dir. Autumn McAlpin's fantastic, female-empowering dramedy that was just acquired by Cinedigm and will be theatrically released on July 12th. The film won Bentonville's Film Festival last year, and the score got nominated for an HMMA.
*Dead End, dir. Nir Berger's animated series for Kan (Israel's Public Broadcasting Corporation) - a hilarious comedy that became so popular that some fans recently started a petition for a second season.
*Over the Wall - dir. Roy Zafrani's emotional short-form film about a friendship between an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy. Having been involved in this production since Day 1, writing this score was one of the most meaningful things I did in my life.
*Senior Love Triangle, dir. Kelly Blatz's gorgeous drama about a trio of elderly people in East Hollywood. It's a work of art and made me feel like my score is part of an impressionist painting.
Conducting at Fox Studio- Newman Stage. ASCAP Workshop, Los Angeles 2016
11. Five collaborators I'd take with me to any project:
*Roy Zafrani (Writer, Director) - the most trustworthy, passionate, talented and good-hearted person I know, who is also a long time collaborator and an extraordinary friend. The first film I scored, Until the End, Amir, was directed by Roy, who proved to be a wonderful communicator with excellent ideas, which made my score better. If anyone inspired me how to multitask and complete everything flawlessly and on time- that's Roy.
*Dave Maurer (Editor)- the god of editing himself! It's such a pleasure to score anything he cuts. The pace is always so elegant. Everything makes sense. Also, he's charming, funny, and has incredibly smart ideas and directions when it comes to music. I wish all editors had his sensibilities.
*Autumn McAlpin (Writer, Director) - super charismatic and exciting filmmaker which I absolutely adore for her storytelling talent but also her personality! Always with a smile, always helpful and collaborative. You feel the inspiration just by speaking with her. Working on her film, Miss Arizona enabled me to write one of the scores I'm most proud of.
*Shin Miyazawa (Score Mixer)- to say that he is a brilliant score mixer would be an understatement; Shin's masterful and detailed work takes my music a whole new level. He makes me feel very safe. Plus he's a like-minded individual who is devoted, kind, always willing to help, and loves jazz as much as I do!
*Jenna Cavelle (Producer) - I adore Jenna and her work. Not only she's a hardworking feminist who shares the same values as me, everything she touches turns to gold (for example Senior Love Triangle). Jenna is currently the VP of production for Baron Davis' new production company, No Label.
12. Five filmmakers who inspire me:
13. The one person who has truly believed in me throughout my career:
Myself, and Mom & Dad. I'm grateful for having a very supportive environment, to be honest, I can only name a few people who didn't truly believe in me.
14. On set, the most important thing is:
I'm almost never on set. During a recording session, the most important thing is: stay on track (pun intended) keep time (pun intended), make sure the filmmakers are happy with the music- but also- that you are happy with the music.
15. What keeps me motivated?
Deadlines. The Dream. Adrenaline. Coffee.
Also, I'm excited to be part of something bigger than music. Cinematic storytelling combines all arts together: writing, directing, cinematography, acting, editing, scoring... The score is just one element in the bigger picture.
16. A rare experience I had on set/screening:
At the premiere night of Church & State (dir. Holly Tuckett and Kendall Wilcox), the film received a standing ovation from the audience. In the Salt-Lake-City theatre, which was sold out, this was such a heart-warming experience.
17. The moment I realized that filmmaking is my destiny: Not sure - but the moment I decided to go for it was when I was driving with a couple of friends, the car's CD player was playing some orchestral music and one of them asked: "which movie is this from"? It was my original composition, and that made me realize that if I can pass for an A-List composer, I should probably just go for it.
18. My next project: is a Columbia feature film, a comedy. I'm very excited to record a full orchestra again.
19. If I wasn't a filmmaker, I'd probably be: A veterinarian or a Wildlife Photographer.
20. My best tip for young composers: Before you write music for film, learn how to write music. No matter what genre of music you do, you will benefit from studying counterpoint. Before Mozart became Mozart, he mastered the strict Fux counterpoint, based on music written of 200 years before Mozart was born.
Follow Nami Melumad:
Nami Melumad is a Los Angeles based film & tv composer. Her credits include over 130 films and tv series, most notably Absentia (2017) with Stana Katic (Season 2, Amazon, AXN Networks), Senior Love Triangle (exec. producer Baron Davis), Miss Arizona with Johanna Braddy, The Big Nothing and Dead End (Israeli TV shows). Nami won the Hollywood Music in Media Awards for her work on Passage (2018), Best Short Score at Fimucite (2017) and Best Featurette Score at Idyllwild Festival of Cinema (2018). Her works have been performed by the Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, Haifa Symphony Orchestra, The Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and Helix Collective Ensemble. Nami is an ASCAP Film-Scoring Workshop Fellow (2016), and graduated the Scoring for Motion Pictures and TV program (SMPTV) at the University of Southern California. She holds a B.A. in multi-style composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, where she was admitted directly to sophomore year.