A HEARTBEAT AWAY - GUY & OSCAR GROSS
THE SON SHINES
While multi-awarded film composer Guy Gross was 16 when one of his compositions was used in a film (Sarah & the Squirrel), Guy’s son Oscar was just 14 when he scored his first music cue in a feature film: Gale Edwards’ directing debut, A Heartbeat Away. Andrew L. Urban reports.
Like many happy accidents, this one sneaked up on all concerned. Guy Gross had been called in to compose the music for A Heartbeat Away, about an aspiring young rock guitarist who is forced to become the musical director of the local marching band when his father is hit by a bus just four weeks before a major competition.
As Guy walked through the family home at the end of each workday, he would hear snatches of a theme his musical son Oscar was working on. “He was just working on something for himself as he had done several times before,” says Guy. “Each time I heard the piece it was getting more mature and more simple – beautifully simple.”
Guy began to realise his son’s music might have a place in the music for the film. But knowing how hard it is to get approval from film directors for every cue, Guy was careful not to build up hopes. “I told Oscar there might be a place somewhere in the score for the theme, and then I took it along and just quietly played it to Gale along with other cues.”
At that point, Gale turned her head and exclaimed: ‘I think you’ve got it in one! That’s our song! Mandy’s Theme.’ Guy then told Gale that it was actually composed by his 14 year old son, “at which Gale did a double take … and then said ‘Great!”
That evening there were celebrations at the Gross household, for Oscar’s first approved, official music credit. His cue is part of almost 60 minutes of music (the film runs 91 minutes) and includes cues by Guy of brass band, classical, piano duets, jazz ballet, aerobics, and of coarse his speciality, traditional orchestral underscore. (Guy was awarded the 2009 APRA / AGSC International Achievement Award for his work on screen content played internationally.)
Guy orchestrated Oscar’s piece for the Trackdown Scoring Orchestra, whose home is at the Trackdown Studios of which Guy is a founding director (located at Fox Studios in Sydney) and where the score was recorded.
That was Oscar’s second big thrill: sitting in front of the orchestra as his father conducted the song Oscar had written.
Published March 17, 2011
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14 year old Oscar and his multi-award film composer father Guy Gross
A HEARTBEAT AWAY
Director: Gale Edwards
Script: Julie Kincade
Aspiring young rock guitarist Kevin Flack (Sebastian Gregory) has no interest in old fogies’ music, which is what he reckons his father Edwin’s (William Zappa) marching band plays at their quiet seaside town. But when an accident prevents his father from leading the Montague Municipal Marching Band, prompted by his mother Grace (Tammy McIntosh), Kevin takes his father’s baton and tries to encourage the band to lift its game and its spirits in an effort to win the upcoming championships. It’s not just their pride that’s at stake, it’s the potential for greedy developer Mayor Riddick (Colin Friels) to bulldoze their clubhouse and the band out of existence. To make things complicated, Kevin falls for Riddick’s beautiful daughter, Mandy (Isabel Lucas).