The ‘Plinky-Plonky’ One

Stuart_guitar_minionsWhen you’re watching Despicable Me 2 on Netflix at 8 in the morning, you know it’s a holiday! Anyway, I promised you some links to royalty free and copyright free (well, Creative Commons Licensed to be accurate) music for your forthcoming productions so read on…

It is really important that you observe all relevant regulations when you produce your film/trailer. One of the toughest will be ensuring your music/soundtrack is legal… and sad to say, this does mean you can’t just drop any old track from your fruit-based music player into the mix. You must source (or create/compose/record/mix) your own music. To make life easier for you, there are a number of sites that offer free and legitimate music you can use and these are listed below. You will need to do some homework on these by searching and listening to an awful lot of music to find tracks that will enhance your film… because sadly, there is a fair degree of pretty dire music on these sites!


  • Keep a note of everything! When you download any tracks, keep a note of where you got it (ie: copy and paste the URL);
  • Keep a note of the date you downloaded it — this is really important in case anyone later queries the copyright… just ask the copyright holders of Happy Birthday To You;
  • Make a careful note of the terms and conditions of use (ie: download/save a copy of them)— most of these simply require that you give an appropriate credit in your film, but read the small print carefully. Some of the sites need you to create a verified account, and at least one requires you to apply for a (free!) licence to download and use the music.

OK, enough blethers and background… get listening! In no particular order…


Incompetech is searchable according to Genre and/or Feel. This helps make it quite easy to hit the general ballpark. In addition, lots of the tracks come with the individual parts so you can remix it to suit your needs (ie: lose the vocals if you don’t want them…). There are some really useful tracks here with more good than bad. #recommended

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Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is a much more eclectic mix with many more non-western music tracks. These could be perfect for creating an eerie atmosphere, or for suggesting a different location. If you scroll down the page slightly, you will find Genre categories that can narrow down your search to a specific style of music… but I’d encourage you to think out of the box as some of the most effective uses of music in film happen when you are more creative in your choices.

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Sound Bible

Sound Bible is great for one thing: Sound effects. Lots and lots of lovely sound effects which are free to use (and see my earlier post on the use of foley sound to appreciate how important these are).

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PacDV produces free music, sounds, voices, and so on. Limited selection, and they will try to sell you stuff, but the free tracks are better quality than most.

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And lastly… and perhaps the most exciting…


If you’ve heard of Moby, this one could be perfect. MobyGratis is his attempt to support upcoming film makers and students. He has made over 150 of his tracks available for you to use in your projects… but read the conditions carefully! You need to apply to use the track(s) so you need to have selected them in plenty of time to get clearance… and no, you can’t just apply to use all of them! You need to apply for specific tracks. That said, he also encourages you to upload your finished product to share with the world… which is a pretty nifty means of gaining an audience. Go for it!

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There are, of course others, and I’ll maybe do a follow up post if needed, or you could ask me in class, or even better, leave a comment and share any you have found… Now get busy! 😉

PQD (2) – Aside

Just a wee aside. I know I’m late to this party, but wondered how many of you have tracked down what Guy Pearce is miming to in this scene?:

“È Strano! Ah, Fors’è Lui”

It is the aria “È Strano! Ah, Fors’è Lui” from Verdi’s La Traviata. I mention this simply because it was not chosen by accident as a quick look at the lyrics show (you can click this image to see the full lyric):

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QUESTION: Does knowing the song/lyrics add or detract from your reading of the film?

Hello To Jason Isaacs…

Hi Class,
Great to meet you for the first time. It goes without saying that Miss Robertson will be a tough act to follow, but I’ll do my best!

Just a couple of wee things to get you started, both came up in discussion during Monday’s lesson.


kermode-and-mayo-580If you are interested in film in particular, then the best film review podcast (by a loooonnnnggggg way) is Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews. You can find them on iTunes or by clicking this link:

The podcast is more entertaining than the live radio show (Friday from 2 – 4 on Radio 5 Live), not least because it loses the news and travel interruptions. More importantly, it has podcast extras which, if you ‘get it’ will become a highlight of your week.

What I will say is that Mark Kermode is one of the shrewdest and best film critics out there, bar none. He will infuriate you, he will rip films apart that you may like, and he will give you ideas for films you may not have ever thought of watching, but one thing you will find is that he is just about always fair in his reviews. Simon Mayo (ask your mum!) is an effective ‘straight man’ to Kermode’s outbursts.

Their show is full of in-jokes, but you will soon pick up on them (Hello to Jason Isaacs!). There are also over 200 previous shows on iTunes that you can download… if you want a taster, and one of the funniest film reviews of any films ever, then Kermode’s review of Sex and the City 2 is about as good as it gets:


Journey To The Line

The second link relates to a quick chat about soundtracks. As some of you may have realised, the trailer for a new movie is often showing in cinemas or online way before the film is released… or even finished! This means that the film maker will use music from a previous film in the trailer. Of late, one of the most common and recurring pieces of music is ‘Journey to the Line’ from Terrence Malick’s 1998 WW2 movie ‘The Thin Red Line’. There’s an interesting collection of trailers that feature the music in this article on the Inside Movies blog.

Feel free to leave any thoughts or suggestions in the comments! 🙂