I often listen to music while writing and storyboarding. While I'm doing research for a film, I find music which fits the story mood and atmosphere and typically have that playing in the background while I work throughout pre-production. Here are some tracks which were an inspiration both for the tone of The Mercury Men and it's eventual soundtrack.

Vertigo and The Day the Earth Stood Still
You can't make a 50's styled black and white sci-fi series without drawing a little inspiration from Bernard Herrmann. While our score doesn't feature any theramin (we chose a more organic sounding and equally eerie violin in its place), there are small touches which draw from Bernard's style.

Neptune the Mystic (from Holst's Planets Suite)
Of all the music, the Planets Suite by Gustav Holst has had the greatest influence on The Mercury Men. So much so that several pieces of it are actually used in the score. For a series about space and beings from another planet, Holst's celestial suite is a perfect fit. Neptune in particular has a great sense of mystery, wonder, and uncertainty about it.

The Map Room (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)
I've made no secret about my love of Raiders, or it's great influence on our series. And while the entire John Williams soundtrack was looped endlessly during writing sessions, this track in particular captured the tone I was aiming for in several scenes.

The New World Symphony No. 9 in E Minor
Antonin Dvorak's American inspired symphony captures the adventurous spirit of both our great frontiers, the West of the late 1800's and space of the 1960's. In fact, Neil Armstrong even took a recording of this symphony to the moon with him. Like the Planets suite, selections from this are used in The Mercury Men score (both of which are public domain). This track has a slow start, but when it gets going you'd swear you were listening to a great serial soundtrack.

Do you listen to music while you write? What songs do you listen to?


  1. great music - I listen to cliffhangers, music from republic serials which can be got on amazon !!!!

  2. Nice mention of the Holst's "Neptune!" I remember when I first found this guy I was like he must have been a big inspiration for score composers in later years.

  3. Holst was definitely a big influence on John Williams, especially his Star Wars scores. They even used Mars the Bringer of War in the first teaser trailer for A New Hope.

  4. Wow, impressive choice of music for The Mercury Men. I'm especially partial Holst and Dvorak, playing them in high school wind ensemble, but they are both great composers. I can't wait to see how this combination of music is in your score!

  5. I'm a big fan of Holst, Herrmann and Williams. Holst actually wrote "The Planets" on astrological themes, not astronomical ideas, but it doesn't matter. The music has long been classic for space imagery.

    George Lucas originally intended to score Star Wars with classical music (possibly because of the use of such pieces as "Le Preludes" in the Flash Gordon serials that inspired SW), and used "The Planets" for the test track. It was John Williams who sold Lucas on the idea of an original symphonic score, pushing the idea of character leitmotifs throughout.
    I like to use film scores to set the scene in role-playing game sessions. On the pop side, I think Phil Collins' "Land of Confusion" always seemed to be a perfect "Batman" song.

  6. Willard- haha nice! gotta love phil!

    Christopher/ Willard- thanks for the info. Did not know that about the Star Wars history, but very fascinating.

  7. You are my kind of filmmaker. These songs I all own and work to when I do my stuff.

    Tom Konkle
    Safety Geeks: SVI
    Invention with Brian Forbes


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