Grant Fonda
composer for film, television, and the concert stage

Blog

The Dating Project

"Such a great recording session a few nights ago at the studio. Crazy to see this original score to our film... So blessed to be working with @gfonda, brought so much life to our movie with his insanely creative score. Big thanks to Scott Frankfurt Studio and all the players involved!!" // PC & Quote: @jcipiti

"Such a great recording session a few nights ago at the studio. Crazy to see this original score to our film... So blessed to be working with @gfonda, brought so much life to our movie with his insanely creative score. Big thanks to Scott Frankfurt Studio and all the players involved!!" // PC & Quote: @jcipiti

In late summer 2015, my good friend Brian Ivie (The Drop Box, Shawn) told me that there was a project that he was loosely involved with that I might be well-suited for as a composer and inquired whether I might be interested. He asked if I could put together a short reel of anything that I had that was "indie" oriented. Fortunately, I had just finished up a collaboration with the lovely and talented Janey Feingold (more coming on that later) that was "cinematic indie". I sent off a bunch of work to Brian, no idea what I was getting into. As it turns out, Jon Cipiti, the director of The Dating Project, happened to really dig what he heard. I was hired on to be the composer for a fun documentary about, well, dating. 

Working with Jon was really a dream. The guy is overflowing with joy and, while he knows exactly what he wants, is incredibly encouraging in the process of creating and refining. Jon sent me the link to the final cut before we spotted the film, and much to my delight, saw the film was DP'ed by my friend and videographer extraordinaire David Bolen. (Let's just say that it looks nothing short of incredible.) Jon never tired in pushing us to the best possible option for score, even if it meant trying different ideas and then circling back to square one. Megan and Catherine, the producers, were equally as sweet and excited about what was happening. These people KNEW their film backwards and forwards. WHAT A JOY to have this happening. 

The film follows four “Dateables” (people who are well, date-able…) who vary in age from late teen to 40-something over the course of a couple of years. Because of the age gap, it was tricky to find the right sound for the film and then to write almost an hour's worth of music in said palette in very short “cues”, or pieces of score (we ended up with almost 30 cues). Because of the fast-paced nature of the documentary, a majority of the cues I wrote ended up being between 20 and 30 seconds long, so it was tricky to create pieces that were compositionally sound in such a short time. Jon and I finally decided on an ensemble that was a whole mess of guitars (acoustic, electric, folk), electric bass, piano, drums, recorders, a solo cello, and some toy percussion, and wove the entire film together with themes for each of our Dateables. All in all, the whole score became kind of a big set of theme and variations and an exercise in colorful orchestration for a modern ensemble. 

I've got to give a shoutout to my entire team on this one. My players were willing to try a TON of unconventional scoring practices on this.... especially my pal Wil Pearce. This guy has his fingers ALL OVER this score, and played more string instruments than I can count. My orchestrators did a fantastic job pulling some long hours getting traditional notation matched up with chord symbols, and Scott Frankfurt and his team proved to be the most hospitable, easy-going, and professional crew yet again. We tracked the entire score at Scott Frankfurt Studio. What a day, what a night! This entire film was a joy to work on, and we couldn't be happier with the results!! 

The Dating Project releases nationwide later this year. Stay tuned! In the meanwhile, here's two cues from the film! Enjoy!