Michael Wandmacher

American composer

Michael Wandmacher (October 29, 1967–) is an American composer of music for film, television, and video games.


  • Composing a score is like getting in one of those mini-submarines that take you to the bottom of the ocean. You crawl into this little bubble, seal yourself away from the outside world and dive deep into uncharted territory. Sometimes the places you explore are dark, sometimes they’re light. If you have the right tools and knowledge you can explore wherever you like and have a great experience. It’s a crude analogy to genre hopping, but it’s accurate. I was lucky as a kid to be exposed to so much different material. I watched cartoons and read all kinds of comics as much as I buried my head in scary stuff. It makes going from talking animals one day to shape-shifters the next pretty easy. Truth is, most composers are pinballs. They can bounce around from style to style and adapt really well.
  • Games run primarily on music loops. Each piece is composed to cycle during gameplay so it’s important to create music that doesn’t get monotonous or annoying and has very exact pacing. The use of themes, signature motifs and rhythmic passages needs to be arranged so they remain effective when played over and over. In a film, it’s a one-time-through experience. Tracks are scored tightly to picture and each track is crafted to exactly match what’s going on on-screen. Scoring in such a precise manner wouldn’t be practical in games because of the dynamic environment of gameplay. It can be different each time you revisit a level or area of a game, whereas a film is intended to play one way every time.
  • Horror has many iterations, many shades. Landing the perfect balance of melody, texture and sonics is the key to a great score. Some horror films require a huge, aggressive palette. Others are the complete opposite. Finding that musical happy place is what will make the movie from a score perspective.
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