Read a 2006 article about Kusiak Music in the Boston Globe.

How composers and directors get in tune

By Leslie Brokaw | June 18, 2006

What's the fastest way for a filmmaker to foul up a new relationship with a composer?

“One of the worst things, I think, is to ask the composer to make the score sound like another film," says John Kusiak, one of the hardest-working film composers in town.

“There's this term in working on films called `temp music,' " Kusiak says. “It's the temporary music that a filmmaker uses to cut to and build up the film." Unless the filmmaker plans to pay the royalty fees to use that material, he or she hires a composer to write original music.

“Filmmakers can get married to the temp music, and it can be hard to let go," says Kusiak. ``I had one filmmaker who wanted me to basically rewrite the music -- change a few notes -- which of course is anathema to a composer, both creatively and legally."

Kusiak will talk about the ways to make the relationship go right at a Filmmakers Workshop on Wednesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. He'll also show clips of early and final versions of films that he has scored. The workshop, part of a monthly series, is put on by the Sharon-based Center for Independent Documentary in association with the Alliance for Independent Motion Media and the Massachusetts Production Coalition.

From a production studio in Arlington, Kusiak works primarily on documentary soundtracks and music for television commercials. His music is in several Errol Morris films, including “The Fog of War" (which is, coincidentally, playing this Wednesday and Saturday at the Harvard Film Archive; see next item). It's also in smaller films, such as Chris Schmidt and Gary Henoch's documentary short “The Puppeteer," about onetime Harvard Square street performer Igor Fokin.

Composer John Kusiak is working with filmmaker Melanie Perkins on her current project, “Have You Seen Andy?”

Kusiak is currently working on Melanie Perkins's film “Have You Seen Andy?" about the abduction of her childhood friend in 1976. He also performs in a ragtime band called Tillie's Nightmare, which plays live during screenings of the 1914 Charlie Chaplin silent film “Tillie's Punctured Romance." The band will perform at Mass MoCA in North Adams on Aug. 12.