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February 13, 2008


Composer Mark Griskey
The Score Unleashed - Page 2










  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2
  Exclusive Music from THE FORCE UNLEASHED and PRINCE CASPIAN (Video Game)



Mark Griskey in front of the famed Skywalker Sound

Mark Griskey in front of the famed Skywalker Sound

Mark Griskey in the mixing room in front of Skywalker Sound's main scoring stage.

Mark Griskey in the mixing room in front of Skywalker Sound's main scoring stage.


  Interview: PAGE 1 | PAGE 2

Composer Mark GriskeyCC: So you recorded this in August of 2007 and that recording was a first for LucasArts.

MARK GRISKEY: Yes. For the first time in LucasArts history they recorded union and recorded at Skywalker Sound.

CC: A moment ago you mentioned, the pre-viz you were able to see early on which helped you write. Now there is a full graphic novel with the same title coming out as well. How much of the storyline were you privy to early on to assist you in your writing process?

MARK GRISKEY: By the time I got involved, the storyline was really dialed in. LucasArts' goal in all of their games is to have a compelling storyline and particularly with the Star Wars franchise. The story is great and I had a full script from which to work...and I loved it. It's a great story with great characters with a classic, Star Wars plot. That and the concept art really guided the direction of the music.

CC: Describe your process in writing for this game. Did you start with the main themes and then move on to the music loops?

MARK GRISKEY: We wanted to nail down the themes first. I could right some "generic," so to speak, John-Williams-action-music, but they already had tons of that available to them, so we discussed, early on, that my role should not just be writing music that sounds surprising like a John Williams score, but isn't one. We discussed what was unique to this story and what are the themes for those things: the main character, the apprentice, Kota (his mentor ), Juno Eclipse, (the love interest).

CC: Ah. Juno Eclipse's theme is beautiful.

MARK GRISKEY: You know when we were recording it at Skywalker Sound, Jesse Harlin looked over at me and said, "Isn't it amazing that we can put something like this into a video game?" It was great to be able to incorporate this big, sweeping, love theme into a video game!

CC: Now what about John Williams' themes - how did you decide which to utilize?

MARK GRISKEY: Well, we wanted to use his well-known themes where appropriate. It was great to have the ability to quote some of his stuff. For instance, when the Rebels come onto the scene you want to have that theme that everyone has come to associate with them.

CC: Now that you bring up The Rebel's theme, if you look at chronologically, you are actually introducing that famous Rebel theme! How exciting was that for you?

MARK GRISKEY: Yes. This is where I relied on Jesse Harlin the musical supervisor. He was able to give me some direction as far as letting me know that when he hit a certain level in the game, that this is when we will introduce a theme, like the Rebel's theme. He was figuring out when to use the original material, when to use my theme, William's themes and so on. That's the great thing about writing music for the Star Wars franchise - you get to write music that you can't anywhere else. It just doesn't work to have a "Juno Eclipse" theme in say, Jurassic Park game or a World War II game. It's a certain style that you can only get away with in the Star Wars world.

CC: Now you have worked on some other major game releases which happened to also be tied to major movie franchises: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, how would you compare the writing experience for those games versus THE FORCE UNLEASHED?

MARK GRISKEY: Well every project is different regardless of whether or not it is a well-known franchise. It's almost like learning to write all over again! Each project is just going to be different. You have to spend some time at the beginning and just decide which way you want to go. I would say that it's equally as satisfying as well. I really enjoyed working on these projects. They are all different with their own unique challenges and their own unique rewards.

CC: THE FORCE UNLEASHED was recorded months ago, but the game release-date has been pushed back. Do you find yourself wishing you could go back and modify any of you work for it.

MARK GRISKEY: Yes. That's true for just about every project I work on. You listen to your work a year later and you hear it with fresh ears, then you might wish you had done something different. Then there are the cases where you think that even if you could go back to do it all over again, you wouldn't change a thing. So, overall, I have to say that I am really pleased with how THE FORCE UNLEASHED came out.

CC: You mentioned that GEORGE LUCAS was very much involved with the game. Was he involved with the direction of the music at all?

MARK GRISKEY: Not directly with me. I'm not sure how much he was involved with the different areas of development, but I do know that he was involved with the story. I'm sure he must have heard some of my music in context, but I don't think it was ever presented to him to get his specific opinion on.

CC: And what about JOHN WILLIAMS? Was there any involvement there?

MARK GRISKEY: Unfortunately, no. I've never met John Williams, but I'd love to have that opportunity someday. I think he is a fabulous composer and I have heard that he is so very humble and down-to-earth.

CC: Do you think THE FORCE UNLEASHED will have a soundtrack release?

MARK GRISKEY: I can always be hopeful! I don't have much control there. That's really up to the legal and PR folks to decide.

CC: Where would you put THE FORCE UNLEASHED in your own body of work thus far?

MARK GRISKEY: It's definitely a career highlight. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had especially in terms of the recording sessions. We had John Kurlander engineer those sessions - he did all of the LORD OF THE RINGS scores - and Lesley Anne-Jones, who is a grammy award winning engineer, mixed everything. It was just incredible to hear it all come together. We had an 80 piece orchestra with some of the best players in the world, the best engineers, one of the best sounding studios in the world...and it just came out fantastic. It just doesn't get any better than that.

CC: It would be a very wise choice to bring you in on it! Mark, thank you so much for your time today!

MARK GRISKEY: Thank you very much!


Return to Interview (Page 1)

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