Screen composer Angela Little is pursuing her career in Hollywood after completing her Master of Music in Screen Scoring at the University of Southern California while continuing to work on Australian productions.
Little has signed with the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency, which represents numerous composers, music producers, songwriters, music supervisors and music editors.
“The agency wants to build a relationship with me and they told me to run all deals through them, which is really exciting,” she tells IF via Skype.
She has just scored Mark Lamprell’s Never Too Late, a comedy-drama starring Jack Thompson, James Cromwell, Dennis Waterman and Roy Billing as Vietnam veterans who plan to break out of their nursing home. Jacki Weaver plays Norma, the long-lost love of Cromwell’s character Bronson, who was a US soldier whom she met when he was in Australia on R&R.
Angela oversaw the live recording of two sessions using a 15-piece string section and Bill Risby on piano at Trackdown Studios in Sydney via the streaming service Source-Connect.
Live sessions are becoming less common for budget reasons, she says, explaining: “Music is so available to so many people for so little money there is less understanding of the inherent value of getting live players.”
Her score for Never Too Late plays on the intimate relationships between the characters, the comedic elements and the heartfelt, emotional scenes. Antony I Ginnane and David Lightfoot produced the film scripted by Luke Preston.
At USC she was the recipient of the Sandra & Alan Silvestri Scholarship, awarded annually to the program’s top-ranked applicant. During her time there she was selected for the Thornton Board of Councillors Mentorship Program, through which she was mentored by renowned screen composer Thomas Newman.
When she graduated a few months ago she received the faculty’s top honour, the Joe and Alice Harnell Award. “It was an amazing and totally transformative experience,” she says.
Angela Little with LA scoring engineer Bobby Fernandez.
After graduating from AFTRS with a Masters of Film and Television specializing in screen composition she got her first big break on Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, for which she co-composed additional music and served as the singer and co-writer of the song ‘By The Boab Tree,’ which was featured on the end credits.
For Australia she wrote a piece of orchestral music and showed it to the director, fearing it might be too big. His response: “Let’s go bigger.”
In 2015 she was a solo vocalist on Marco Beltrami’s score for Alex Proyas’ Gods of Egypt and she composed the score for Aaron Petersen’s feature documentary Zach’s Ceremony.
“One of the reasons I gravitated towards film is I love supporting the story and figuring out how the music can become part of something bigger,” she says.
Little will return home later this year to score the next film from producer-director Steve Jaggi, renewing their collaboration after Chocolate Oyster and the Louise Alston-directed Back of the Net, which was acquired by the Disney Channel for the US.
“I love doing Steve’s productions. I really liked the female protagonist (played by Sofia Wylie) and the female empowerment theme in Back of the Net; it’s a really positive film,” she says.
Apart from Thomas Newman, her other major role model is composer Caitlin Yeo, the first female president of the Australian Guild of Screen Composers. “I really look up to Caitlin as a great example of someone who has shown other female composers like myself that it’s possible to build an extremely successful career in this field,” she says.