It's been a busy summer! Besides continuing work on Super Delivery Dash I've been working on some short films. For HHS Productions I scored a short called Sold that premiered at the Covellite Film Festival. I just finished scoring Word on the Street for Hapstance Films which will premiere at the Clinton St. Theatre July 28th! I had a blast working on this film and excited to see it on the big screen. The film will be playing with a bunch of other short films from Hapstance that have played on the Hapstance Youtube channel over the years. Find out more info on their Facebook event page.

Poster for Hapstance Films' Word on the Street.


Over the weekend Behind the Bullet took home Best Documentary Feature at the Sunscreen Film Festival. Congrats to director Heidi Yewman for a much derseved win!

If you missed it you can check out my latest newsletter here.

I've been working on a new video game project tenatively titled Super Delivery Dash with Think On Labs. Excited on what we have so far ! Check out more about the game on the Think on Labs website, and sign up to play test Super Delivery Dash here!

Screen shot of Super Delivery Dash from Think On Labs.


In February Pompeii, Oregon won Best Animated Feature at Jelly Fest!

Pompeii, won best animated featurea at Jelly Fest.

The Spunk's not Dead anthology is out! Buy it on amazon here. I scored two segments of this fun horror anthology. Chris Jayawardena's High Score, and Bryan Hiltner's Spunk of the Reaper.

Spunk's Not Dead Poster.


I have a few of screenings to announce for films that I have worked on!

Behind the Bullet will be screening at the Cinequest Film Festival March 6,7,12, and 13. The film will also be shown at the Arclight in Hollywood as part of the Slamdance Spotlight series on March 11.

Vicious will be screening in Manzinita, Oregon on February 22nd at the Hoffman Center for the Arts.

Both Unicorn and Autumn will be playing at the Corvalis Queer Film Festival February 21-23.

Autumn will also be playing at the Oregon Short Film Festival Friday February 22 at 7pm.


I'm am super excited for Slamdance Film Festival which will be opening later this week! Behind the Bullet will screen twice at the festival Friday, January 25th at 1:15pm and Tuesday, January 29th at 5:45pm. I will be attending both screenings so if you are there please feel free to say hello!

Here is a link to my January Newsletter with a summary of news I've received in the last few weeks! Some of which includeds details on the Spunk's not Dead anotholgy's upcoming DVD and streaming release date, the DVD and streaming release date for Vicious, and the latest festival news for Unicorn!


The world premiere of Behind the Bullet will be at 2019 Slamdance Film Festival! The festival takes place January 25-31, 2019 in Park City, Utah. I am super honored to have been able to score this film and I am really looking forward to the premiere. The exact screening time and day TBA!

Slamdance 2019 Logo

A Fine Cycle continues its festival run playing next at the Culver City Film Festival December 7th!

Culver City Film Fest 2018 Laurel

A Final bit of festival news Pomepii, Oregon is a semi-finalist at the Hollywood Screenings Film Festival!

Hollywood Semi-finalist Laurel


I have just completed my latest album! I just sent it over to Energize Production Music who will be releasing the as yet untitled album sometime in spring of 2019. All the songs in the album are rock songs based around the ukuklele.

Currently, I am working on a new electronic album tenativly titled Observations. I started working on this album a few years ago but it got tabled. I recently dusted it off and have three of the ten songs complete!


Spent the last week at the Portland Film Festival. Two short films I scored, Unicorn and A Fine Cycle, played at the fest. In addition to the two films I was on the panel of the composing workshop. Here are a few pics from the fest.

Music supervisor Joseph Miller, composer Bryan Minus, and composer Brian Sussman at the 2018 Portland Film Festival

Music supervisor Joseph Miller, composer Bryan Minus, and composer Brian Sussman at the 2018 Portland Film Festival

Some of the cast and crew of Unicorn at the 2018 Portland Film Festival

Some of the cast and crew of Unicorn at the 2018 Portland Film Festival

Music supervisor Joseph Miller, composer Bryan Minus, and composer Brian Sussman at the 2018 Portland Film Festival

A Fine Cycle composer Bryan Minus, actress Kristi Alarid, and director Derek Willis at the 2018 Portland Film Festival


I had the pleasure of writing the music for the Nonprofit Association of Oregon's new ad campaign #carelikeanoregonian


Today the trailer for Behind the Bullet was released. I'm really proud of the work I did on this film and I'm really looking forward to the premiere! Check out the trailer for Behind the Bullet here.

Title card for for the film Behind the Bullet


Here is my latest composer reel updated with some of my recent projects:

Also, I sent out my latest newsletter today. Check it out here!


I spent last week at The Rye Room recording the score for Behind the Bullet! Besides myself on guitar, I had John Weisiger on Piano along with Bizarre Star Strings. Here is a pic of everyone from the session:

Mirabai Peart, Anna Fritz, Matt Greco, Kyleen King, Bryan Minus, and John Weisinger at The Rye Room
Mirabai Peart, Anna Fritz, Matt Greco, Kyleen King, Bryan Minus, and John Weisiger at The Rye Room.


This weekend is the Portland Underground Film Festival! The fest is being held at the Clinton St. Theatre in Portland, Oregon. I have two films playing in the festival. On Friday night at 9:30pm in the Dead Serious Shorts Block A Fine Cycle will be playing. On Sunday at 1pm in the Animation Feature category Pompeii, Oregon will be playing. There will be a lot of awesome films playing in this festival so you should come check them out!


This Wednesday I'll be on PIGSquad's slack channel for Indie Game Chat! I'll be talking about my work on video games along with 6 other talented people in the game dev community. Tune in May 9th, 6-9pm PST to hear more about Portland's video game scene.

PIGSquad Indie Game Chat announcment and schedule


Great news! Both Pompeii, Oregon and A Fine Cycle will be playing at the Portland Underground Film Fest taking place from May 18-20th, 2018 at the Clinton St. Theatre. Stoked to a have a few films play at this festival. Last year another film I scored, Spunk of the Reaper won the audience choice award at PUFF! A Fine Cycle also played last week at the Roswell Film Festival.

I'm currently working on a feature documentary called Behind the Bullet. I'm almost a third of a way into the film now, and I'm excited at how it is coming along. From the website for the film:

The victims of gun violence aren't just the ones who get shot. What happens after you pull the trigger? The new feature documentary, Behind the Bullet, explores a side of gun violence that's rarely talked about—the impact a shooting has on the shooter.


Unicorn went well. I went to a private screening for the film, and I'm really stoked at how the whole film came out. Unicorn will soon start being sent out to film festivals.

On March 15th I went to a NW Filmcenter showcase for Jason Rosenlblatt's short films. Jason is a director I've worked with quite a bit and I was excited for Jason to have the opportunity to showcase his work. I'm currently working with Jason on his latest feature film Intersection. We've settled in to a good direction and pallette for the music, soon I will be focusing on writing a lot of cues!


Last weekend at the Oregon Short Film Festival Derek Will won Best Editing for the short film A Fine Cycle. Congrats Derek!

This week I've begun scoring two projects. The first is a short film from No Sunrise Wasted called Unicorn. The film tells the story of a recently divorced father exlploring dating as gay man for the first time. The other project is the feature film Intersection being produced by More Frogs You Gnome. The film follows a series of characters as they hit rock bottom in life.


A Fine Cycle will be playing February 3rd at Avalon Theatre as part of the Oregon Short Film Festival. The film has been nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Oregon Film at the fest!

This weekend I'm taking part in the 2018 Global Game Jam. I'll be working with Think On Labs to create a new VR project. I'm excited to be trying out some new 3d audio tools!


Happy New Year! Starting off the year with some more good news for A Fine Cycle. The film will be screening at the Oregon Short Film Festival! More details TBA.

Laurel for the 2018 Oregon Short Film Festival for the short film 'A Fine Cycle'.

Waiting For The Loop releases on Steam this Friday, January 12! This short visual novel/adventure game is the first release for Side Group Games. There will also be an option to purchase the game with my soundtrack and remix EP ThreeSixNine.

Currently I'm finishing up work on a production music album, and prepping for a few yet unnannounceed projects. Looking forward to all 2018 has in store!


Great news! A Fine Cycle has won several awards at the Southern Shorts Awards including an Award of Merit for my score for the film. Director Derek Willis has just started sending out the film to festivals, so hopefully there will be more to come.

Award of Merit for Individual Acheivement in Music from the Southern Shorts Awards


Finished up my latest reel showcasing my cinematic work. Check it out on Vimeo:


Great festival news for Pompeii, Oregon! The film was selected as an official selection at the American Filmatic Arts Awards. Pompeii also received an Honorable Mention for animation at the Los Angeles Film Awards.

Here is the new trailer for Pompeii:


Last weekend I had a great time showing Ship It at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo! There were a lot of first time VR players there, and they all really seemed to love playing the game. Thanks to PIGSquad for letting us show there.

Next week I'll be attending the Portland Film Festival, and the Northwest Filmmaker's Festival! It's going to be a busy week. I had a great time at both festivals last year, and I'm really looking forward to attending again. Please say hello if you see me at either fest.

Here are the details for the Pompeii, Oregon screening! The film will play at 10am at Living Room Theaters. Immediately following the screening there will be an artist talk featuring director Mark Andres and myself at the Augen Gallery. The screening will be free and open to the public. Seating is limited so RSVP to see Pompeii, Oregon on the Facebook page:

Poster for the feature film Pompeii, Oregon


I did a short interview with Faun Lily Games about the music I made for their upcoming release, Bloom Barrage. Check it out on their website along with a preview of one of the tracks called The Hierophant.

Pompeii, Oregon, is set to premier November 11th. More details to be announced soon.

Ship It will be shown at a few places this month. The game will be at Dreamhack Denver October 20-22nd. Ship It will also be at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo October 20th!


The soundtrack for Ship It is available for download on Steam! The soundtrack is available for $4.99, or you can buy a package deal for both the game and soundtrack for $8.98 on Steam until the 15th of September. I'm also releasing the soundtrack for Ship It on Bandcamp!

Image with the track listing and credits of the Ship It soundtrack.

Last week I sent off the score for A Fine Cycle. The next step for the film is mixing at ADS Recording Studios, then it is on to the festival circuit!

This week I'm finishing up the score for Kimmich! The score is all written and recorded. All that is left is mixing!

Spunk of the Reaper will be playing tonight at the Covellite Film Festival! Check out the Horror/Comedy block at 10:30pm.


I have had a busy month scoring several short films. In July I scored High Score for Dark & Moody Productions. It was a fun project were I got to combine some traditional film score style cues with cues in the style of several generations of video game music. Currently I’m working on two short films. The first A Fine Cycle, from MaRoZel Productions, is a film narrative film about anxiety and depression. The second Kimmich, from AWM Productions, is a Sci-fi film about a pilot who crash lands on an alien world.

Still frame from the short film High Score from Dark and Moody Productions

A still frame from High Score

I’ve also done a some additional work (along with a lot of play testing!) on Ship It as we get the game ready to show at PAX. The game has come along way in a short time. Long planned additions to the are being implemented; Soon the game will be off early access and be fully released!

On Sept. 3rd a trailer for Ode To Joy will be playing alongside other documentaries at an event presented by Todd Baize Productions called PDX Short Docs. The screenings begin at 6pm at the Mission Theatre.

Image from webseries Ode to Joy


Today it was announced that Ship It was accepted into this years PAX 10! Wondering what the PAX 10 is? Here is a description from the PAX website:

Each year our group of 50 industry experts select the ten best indie games in regard to gameplay and overall fun-factor.

Ship It is the first VR game accepted. I'll be at PAX this year along with Think On Labs showing Ship It on the expo floor.

Banner stating Ship It is the first VR game in the PAX 10


Great news! Both of the short films I scored for the Portland 48hr Film Project made it to the Best of the 48 screening! This means both Morkchop and I Am Not To Blame will be up for an award. The Best Of screening will be July 17, 7pm, at the Hollywood Theatre.


Pompeii, Oregon has won it's first award! The film, directed by Mark Andres, is a Silver Winner at the International Independent Film Awards.

International Independant Film Award for Pompeii, Oregon


Over the weekend I took part in the Portland 48 Hour Film Project composing for two teams. Both teams successfully completed their films on time!

The first team MFYG Productions had the choice of genre between time travel or sports film. We opted for time travel and made a film called Morkchop. Morkchop is a fun comedy about a man from the future who ends up on a farm, but why? The film screens 9:30pm Wednesday, June 21st, at the Hollywood Theatre!

My other team, MaRoZel, had a choice between musical or western. We went with musical! As I was composing for two teams scoring and writing songs for a musical was the last thing I expected but I got it done. I was able to break out my song writing chops that I have not used for a while and wrote three songs on top of the score. The film takes place in a post apocalypse future where a group of people are taking shelter from the unrelenting sun. I Am Not To Blame will be screening 7pm Thursday, June 22nd, also at the Hollywood Theatre.

Here are posters for the two films:

Posters for Mork Chop and I Am Not To Blame


The orignal score I wrote for Vicious comes out today! Download it on Bandcamp:



Bryan Minus Releases Soundtrack to Vicious

Portland, Oregon - June 2, 2017 - Locked away in his basement studio, Bryan Minus recorded the award-winning soundtrack to the suspense/thriller Vicious over the course of six weeks in the summer of 2015. Vicious tells the story of a law student who becomes the object of the obsessive affection of a stalker, who refuses to leave her alone until she agrees to quit working as a stripper. During his first feature-film project, the composer enjoyed the challenge of blending the score with the soundtrack of the movie; many of the film cues he wrote not only added dramatic effect but sounded as if they were used by the DJs in the film’s many club scenes. To capture the obsessive vibe of Vicious, Minus used a limited palette of guitar, drums, bowed cymbals and percussion, hair-raising synthesizers, and low strings. While on its run on the film festival circuit, Vicious has won many awards, including Best Music/Score at the LA Independent Film Festival.

As a composer and multi-instrumentalist, Bryan Minus has recorded and released many albums as a solo artist, and with the band Bryan Minus & the Disconnect. He also composed music for the virtual reality (VR) game Ship It, and has scored over 20 short films. He recently finished his second feature film, Pompeii, Oregon.

Following up his recently release of the EP, ThreeSixNine (Waiting For The Loop), Bryan is releasing Vicious exclusively on Bandcamp June 16th, 2017.

Bryan Minus
PO Box 8911
Portland, OR 97207
PH: 503-290-6631



Today I sent out my first quarterly newsletter! It is has summaries of all the projects I've worked on so far this year, what events and conferences I've been to, and what projects I have coming up. If you want to get my newsletter delivered to your inbox sign up here.


I had a great time at the Barebones Film Festival! I met a ton of cool people and saw some great films! Vicious had a great reception and Q & A. Plus director Jason Rosenblatt won the Indie Auteur Award, and Angela Nordeng won Best Lead Actress!

Here is the trailer for Jason's next feature film, Intersection, featuring music I wrote for the trailer!


Spent the weekend at Betacon showing Ship It! There were a lot of VR newbies and it was a lot of fun introducing them to VR. We had quite a number of people come by and try out the game. Here is a picture of Ian McClellan of Think On Labs showing Ship It at the event:

Ian McClellan of Think On Labs showing Ship It at Betacon Game Expo.

This week I am heading to the Barebones Film Festival! It will be a week of films and Vicious will be screening at the festival on April 21st!


This Thursday, the 6th, I'll be hanging out at Gallery 114 showing Ship It for First Thursday in downtown Portland! If you have never tried VR before this is a great chance to come try it free! Undula will also be set up to play, so you can try two VR games. I'll be at the gallery all night so come say hello!


I just sent out the final mix for Pompeii, Oregon! It was such a pleasure to work on the film. Check out director Mark Andres and his other projects on his website Kinographic Novels.

On March 17th the Portland Tribune put out an article on virtual reality in Oregon that included an interview with me about my work on Ship It! Check out the full article Portland has virtually made it. No, really.

Spunk of the Reaper is a official selection of the Portland Underground Film Festival! The short film will be playing at the Clinton St. Theatre on April 7th!.

I'm excited to be attending the Barebones Film Festival in April! Vicious will be screening there on April 21st and will be up for Best Picture among other awards! Looking forward to meeting all the awesome people at the festival.


Today I released a new EP, ThreeSixNine (Waiting For The Loop)! I wrote this EP last summer for a game jam game called Waiting For The Loop that I worked on with Reis Mahnic. ThreeSixNine features three remixed songs that include voice acting from the game! I've released the EP exclusively on my Bandcamp page.


I had a great time at GDC last week. I met a ton of cool people, played some awesome games, and learned about some great tech. After attending I'm looking forward to incorporating more spatial audio into my projects.

Ship It was featured at the SVVR VR Mixer at GDC! The game got a great reception. On Thursday March 10th I'll be at the OGO Game On event along with Ian from Think On Labs to showcase Ship It. If you are in the Portland area it would be great to see you!

I'm entering the the final stages of scoring Pompeii, Oregon. Looking forward to seeing where this film goes!


This last month I have been busy scoring a feature film project called Pompeii, Oregon. Directed by artist, Mark Andres, the film is an animated silent movie! I am about half way through the project with a scheduled complete date near the end of March. I am very excited about this project and looking forward to sharing Pompeii, Oregon with the world!

I participated in the 2017 Global Game Jam along with developers Ian McClellan and Joel McDonald to produce a game called Undula! A VR rhythm game for the Oculus Rift, Undula let's you hear music with your hands. Here is a still from the game. Download the project from the Global Game Jam website.

Screen shot of the title page of the VR game Undula

I am excited to be attending GDC this year. This will be my first time attending and I am looking forward to meeting many awesome folks!

Vicious has been doing well on the festival circuit and picking up many awards. The next screening will be at the Barebones Film Festival in April!

Banner for the movie, Vicious featuring a picture of the lead acresss pole dancing along with film festival laurles.


I've start off new year scoring a short for TimeSculpt Productions called Spunk of the Reaper. The short is part of a horror anthology due out later this year. In the meantime Spunk of the Reaper will be submitted to film festivals. I really enjoyed working with the director, Bryan Hiltner. It was a fun short to score and I'm excited at the music that came out of the collaborative process.

In belated news Ship It was featured at the Portland Kaleidoscope VR Showcase Vol. 1 and the PIGSquad year end party. They were both fun events and it was a lot of fun seeing people try ship and VR for the first time. Vr is a medium I am very excited about for the future. Here is a picture of the Ian of Think On Labs giving a presentation on the ergonomics of VR and how that came in to play when designing Ship It at a recent PIGSquad Talent Talks.

Ian of Think On Labs giving a talk on the ergonomics of Ship It


Great news! Vicious has won another round of awards at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. Including Best Actress, Best Feature, and Best Original Music Score!

Vicous Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Award November Best Score


I have been quietly prepping a few release that I plan to release over the next few months. Soon I will be releasing the soundtrack to Vicious. Over the summer I did a game jam game called Waiting For The Loop. I did a remix of the music I made for that game that I will be releasing as an EP called ThreeSixNine. Last but not release I will be releasing the soundtrack to Ship It.

I have had some other projects as well including this video from DP and Drone Pilot Travis Stanton :


Lots of news for Vicious! Vicious was an official selection of the Chandler International Film Festival where the film won Best Actress. Vicious also is a official selection of The Apple Martini Film Series and The Monthly Film Festival. The Monthly Film festival wrote up this review of Vicious:

Jason Rosenblatt’s ‘Vicious‘ tells the story of a stripper that deals with her past and takes life in her own hands. She uses her inner power to overcome male oppressors and even a stalker.
This feature was a great surprise for us. The cinematography is very good, the edit is perfectly done, the score is amazing… basically, we could go as far as saying that this movie is on the right track.
The dialogue – verbal and non-verbal – is very powerful. The strip dancing is not only arousing, but filled with deep and emotional messages. The key of this movie is control. The only way you can control a big group of people, from the dancer’s perspective, is by attracting not only their interest but their attention. When you dance good, you have the power to control the masses, and by controlling the masses you are in control of the whole situations happening near you. As Rosenblatt points out in the director’s statement: “managers hold control of the stage and rules over the dancers, dancers use their bodies to control the customers and customers use their dollars to try and feel in control as each tries to take advantage of the other in a constant vicious battle”. And this never ceases to be true.
In movies like ‘Vicious’, the vice is the primal theme of the movie, and you, as a viewer, learn how to deal with vices. At first, you think you can handle it, and even control it. But it’s not like that. A vice is controlling you from the beginning to the last bit of your life. Rosenblatt’s feature is not only good for pointing out the whole control system, but he foregrounds a chain of power that we rarely have the chance to see in movies. Tons and tons of literary studies have been made based on this matter, but we assure you, no one took it as serious as Rosenblatt in ‘Vicious’.


Ship It has launched! Check Ship It out on the Steam page. If you play it please send me an email and let me know what you think at

Ship It Screen Shot


Vicious premiered to a full house! I heard a ton of great comments and I'm really proud of the film and my contribution. Looking forward to it playing in future festivals.

I'm busy composing and recording music for a VR game called Ship It set to be released on the HTC Vive in October. I'm really excited about the project. Check out the trailer below and find out more info about Ship It on Steam's website!


Last night Waiting For The Loop was showcased at the PIGSquad Summer Slowjam Showcase. It was a good time and a lot of people got to play the game. You can download Waiting For The Loop for free; currently it is only available for Windows.

I've been composing music for a VR game for Think On Labs called Ship It the last few weeks. I'm really enjoying the experimental feel of the medium.

Big announcement! Vicious has been accepted in the Oregon Independent Film Festival where it won for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. It is also up for Best Picture! Vicious will have its world premiere at the festival on September 24th at the Clinton St. Theatre.

Vicious Banner with laurels from the Oregon Independant Film Festival.


In the last 3 weeks I've worked on 3 short films and a narrative point and click adventure game.

The video game is called Waiting For The Loop. It will be showcased August 27th and the final event for the PIGSquad Slow Jams.

I scored a horror short from writer/director Mont Haines called The Shed. I had a lot of fun breaking out my horror chops for the film.

I also helped out Jason Rosenblatt with mixing his new short For Dad being sent out to film festivals now.

This past weekend I scored a short film for the 48hr Film Project. Go team Film Fatales! Our film screens this Thursday at The Hollywood Theatre at 9:30pm.


I can't believe it has been almost a month! I finished up a mobile game project that should be released in the fall called Ghostly Garden. I moved into a new studio space (I'll post pics soon). I have two short film projects lined up for this month. I finished the first two tracks in a series of strings only pieces that I plan to release in the fall. I have also restarted work on my rock EP that I also plan to release in the fall. Plus I'm participating in the lastest PIGSquad Summer Slow Jam.

In more immediate news I released a collection of my cues on Bandcamp. You can stream or download Production Music Volume IV here.


I'm excited to announce that one of the games I worked for the Cartoon Network game jam made it into the top 16! This means Hot Cuppa Joe will appear for download on the Cartoon Network game site. More details TBA!!

screen shot from Hot Cuppa Joe


Vicious is about to be sent off to festivals! It's been a long journey but the final mix is almost done. I'm proud of the work I've done on this film and am excited to see what happen's with Vicious as it gets out into the world.

I'm about to get started on a VR project demo for the Vive. It's cool to be able to write something for this relatively new commercial medium. I'm looking forward to experimenting with all the possibilities.


The game page has been expanded with more of the projects I have worked on over the last year. You can find more samples of music, gameplay demos, and links to download a couple of the games for free! Also I am excited for the Cartoon Network Gam Jam Showcase! It will be March 26th at XOXO Outpost here in Portland, OR.


The Cartoon Network game jam was amazing! It was a weekend full of tons of work and little sleep but it was totally worth it. I’m really excited about both the games I worked on and all the cool people I met and got to hang with. Reis Manic the game writer on one of my teams posted this awesome blog about the CN game jam as it happened. Also you can follow that team, Spicy Chai, on twitter as we post further developments about our game.

Here is a picture of Team Spicy Chai at the Cartoon Network game jam. From left to right Reis Mahnic, Clara Emiliana, myself, Kelly Fry, and Cristiano Ferreira.

Team Spicy Chai at the Cartoon Network Game Jam


This weekend I am participating in a huge game jam for Cartoon Network! I’ll be helping out two different teams develop a game for a chance to win a full game development contract! It is going to be an exciting weekend as I stay on site of the jam, get no sleep and make as much quality music and sound effects as possible. Follow my twitter and instagram for updates on the jam!


Today marks the anniversary of my first solo EP release, Forage. It is interesting to listen back to what I was up to six years ago! Here is a link to my band camp page where you can listen to Forage.

This past weekend I had a blast at the 2016 Global Game Jam here in Portland. I worked with two teams both of which completed our game. I’m working on a full post mortem about the jam that I’ll have up ASAP as well as few of the tracks I wrote.


5 ways Original Music Improves Storytelling in Media

Paired with storytelling, music heightens our emotions and captures the imagination. It’s hard to think about movies like Star Wars or Edward Scissorhands without thinking of their epic, world building scores. Watch a scene from any movie without the score, and it will seem lifeless and fake.

Here are five ways original music brings storytelling to life.

1. Increased production value

Original music composed for a project raises the production value in that it adds cohesion and aesthetic appeal. The music plays off visual cues, cranking up the emotion. Whether the mood is eerie suspense or lost love, perfectly synced music will make the audience feel.

2. Original music makes a project unique

Original music gives a project a voice of its own. A good score builds off the emotions, story, and themes. Imagine Back to the Future without Alan Silvestri’s quintessential score. Think of Doc Brown scrambling to send Marty back to the future at the climax of the movie and try not to hear the main theme as it’s passed around from section to section finally hitting the triumphant brass an instant before Marty and the DeLorean vanish in a trail of fire.

3. Custom Fit

Original music can be tailored to fit the storyteller’s vision. Imagine a composer presents a score to a director. It’s perfect for the scene except the oboe solo. No problem, it can be switched out. A composer can take one theme, tweak it to fit a sad scene, then later on, a happy one. A good composer bends music to their will, hitting every emotional point, all while making the music sound as if it were written independently from the picture.

4. Unified themes and variations

Original music creates worlds. In using the same harmonic and melodic language across an entire project, a composer can spin many variations of a theme or melody to fit any context or situation, producing cohesion. The music becomes a story within a story. A great example is the score of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; the music is so well done with its powerful themes and orchestral colors, it’s easy to find yourself immersed.

5. Leitmotifs

A leitmotif is a reoccurring melody or musical idea that becomes associated with a character or idea in a story. These are useful in suggesting a character with music even when that character is offscreen. While not right for every project, when used well leitmotifs have a powerful subconscious effect on the audience. This concept can be expanded to ideas and concepts that reoccur throughout the story. One famous use of this technique is the theme for the ark in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Whenever the ark is on screen or the idea of the ark is present, this mysterious theme is heard.

It’s no accident that music and story have been intertwined for centuries. Music is psychologically tied to the amygdala, the primitive part of our brain that processes emotion and makes connections between visual and emotional stimuli. Storytellers in any medium can boost their project with the evocative power of music.

Looking for ways to take a movie, video game of any other storytelling medium to the next level? Consider hiring a composer for your next project.

Tell me about your favorite original scores on twitter at @bryanminus.