Spotlight is a series of ComingSoon interviews with obscure and/or up-and-coming talents in the TV and film world. Our goal is to draw attention to the various positions that make the entertainment you love possible, rather than focusing solely on actors and directors.
Geoff Ames of ComingSoon spoke with composer Elias Serpa about his exciting score for the thriller. In the woods. The thriller starring Debbon Air, Lyman Ward and Christina Spruell is now available to watch. Watch it on the Vudu Movie & TV Store, Prime Video, VUDU, or Apple TV on your Roku device.
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Jeff Ames: What led you to become a composer?
Elias Serpa: I fell in love with music from a young age when I started playing the cuatro at school. Soon after, I picked up an electric guitar and entered the underground music scene in Caracas as part of a ska-punk band. After producing a few indie bands and writing a few commercials for a friend, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in music and expand my sonic palette.
What was it about In the Woods that made you want to work on it?
Those were the main themes in the story that I really liked. This is a film about family and reconciliation, based on a thriller about going to camp. I love thrillers and horror films, but I also love the space they create for drama and other aspects of our human experience.
What was the most challenging part of In the Forest and how did you deal with it?
The most difficult aspect was finding a balance between the melodic/thematic material and the modern textural approach to the film’s scoring. For Hector Barron, the director of the film, it was very important that the themes and melody sound modern.
Do you have any funny behind-the-scenes stories about the making of Into the Woods?
One of the sounds I often used in music I came across while walking my dog. It was an old cement mixer, squealing and purring like an exorcised demon. I took out my phone and recorded for a few minutes, came home and started playing with it, resampling it in different octaves, and it all sounded great! It ended up being used as a restless drone or a hellish screech for bites.
What things you learned from Into the Woods are you excited to apply to your future endeavors?
I really enjoyed the process of creating my own samples and instruments, I had never made sounds like this before, and I liked how they helped shape the overall tone of the film without drawing too much attention to themselves.
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Do you have any other projects that you could share with us?
In 2021, I wrote the music for a short film called free birth. Directed by Juan Avella and written by Amy Wittenberger and Juan Avella, this short film was produced for 20th Digital and is streaming on Hulu as part of their Bite Size Halloween series. The team is currently developing a feature-length version of the film.