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October 26, 2012

Film Music Friday: Deborah Lurie on Fun Size

By Deborah Lurie

Deborah Lurie

Deborah Lurie

Like many other composers I'm sure, I tend to go to a first playback on a film with a bunch of safe and normal sounding ideas, and then one or two in my back pocket that are much weirder and riskier, which I'll play at the end in hopes that the filmmaker will let me do something out of the ordinary. I knew Fun Size would be a fun project when director Josh Schwartz reacted to my kookiest stuff with the most enthusiasm. The film is centered on an eight-year-old boy named Albert who doesn't speak. So the music that scores his scenes tends to be an integral part of what he communicates; which is largely troublemaking and an obsession with superheroes and candy. His facial expressions are priceless, so it was really fun to come up with his theme. This eight-year-old kid will do whatever life-threatening things it takes to get his stolen bucket of Halloween candy back -- for some reason, this character really spoke to me on a deep level.

The Fun Size singers in the studio

The Fun Size singers in the studio

Albert's theme is defined by a rhythmic motif driven by vocal percussion and children singing "la-las." I demoed all of the kid vocals myself, so that was the sound they lived with for a long time during the scoring process. I didn't think we'd have the luxury of getting real kids to sing, so it was a real treat for me when Paramount gave the kid vocal session the go-ahead. I told the kids to sing as if they're imitating their bratty little brother or sister or causing trouble on the playground. I'm used to hearing children's choirs on scores with a rather polished, liturgical sound, and with this score, I wanted all attitude and sass. They did an amazing job and we really had a blast.

This was my first time working with Josh Schwartz, and it was an absolute joy from beginning to end. It's funny reading articles that call him a first-time director, because I didn't even realize that! He came across as an old pro, as did his producer Stephanie Savage. It was a challenge keeping up with the pace of the scoring process because things go so fast on their TV shows and they're used to seeing some pretty crazy fast turnarounds. It was interesting for me to get that different perspective. Josh was really easy to trust, and his trust in me brought out my best work. The combination of a trusting director, producer and studio is something we composers dream about, and that's what I had on this film.


Find out more about Deborah Lurie at

Fun Size is in theaters October 26th, 2012. Visit the official website:

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