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Creating a Horror Score on a Shoestring Budget

Spencer Bambrick (Composer & Sound Designer, Serial Lab Studios)

Gina Zdanowicz (Sound Designer & Composer , Serial Lab Studios)

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core+Summits Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Audio

Format: Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

"Creating a Horror Score on a Shoestring Budget" will cover creative composition, orchestration, and decision-making within the confines of an extremely tight budget. These scenarios are commonplace, but through a lot of experimentation and but of planning these projects can yield new and distinctive soundtracks. Through listening and score excerpts this talk will offer numerous examples of aleatoric notation and extended techniques that can be used to highlight the strengths of smaller ensembles and maximize their use in the horror genre. This talk was also cover logistics, planning, and communication with developers under budgetary constraints.


Attendees will walk away from this talk with practical knowledge that will allow them to use minimal forces to create a terrifying, professional sounding horror soundtrack. They will learn notation and part preparation for creating horrifying textures without hiring an orchestra. Aleatory, extended techniques, and compositional approaches will all be covered. Many of these principles (if not the techniques themselves) can be applied to other genres as well.

Intended Audience

Our target audience is made up of composers, audio directors, and game developers. We assume no prior knowledge, and the examples are self explanatory. Developers and audio directors will likely walk away with a few tricks to getting more mileage out of a smaller budget, and composers will walk away with numerous notation techniques and inspiration for creating distinctive minimalist sounds for their scores.