Jody Gray


'| can't imagine any composer not loving this show. We're given carte blanche. (Director) John R. Dilworth is one of those rare guys who says, 'Go left, and keep going there' and really means it!

"Basically, outside of leitmotifs for the lead characters, there's little traditional music library created for the show. Almost everything is scored from scratch, with generally only 10% of the cues being reused, giving each show its own unique flavor. Out of 22 minutes, there can be as much as 18-20 minutes of music, so as you could imagine, my days are pretty intense. A lot of it has to do with the fact that each 'Courage' episode (78 at last count) features it's own distinct villain. We often look at a particular villain and ask, 'What is the core of this character?' For example, 'Conway the Contaminationist' is a bad guy who thrives on pollution. So, taking a page from John Cage's book. we worked in some prepared piano, banged on the internal bits of the instrument, made scraping, string noises, and did quirky, ambient stuff using the pedals. The score is a very bizarre late 20th-century avant garde kind of thing, which, literally, doesn't have much normal music to it at all. That's who Conway is - industrialization gone mad. The same odd, piano textures we're used in another episode entitled, 'A Beaver's Tail,' to evoke the sounds of tension on the surface of a slowly, rising lake. The end result is fun and pretty disconcerting.

"We recently did a full faux opera based on (Richard) Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries.' I wrote 15 little songs from start to finish. It's wonderfully ludicrous. Muriel, the show's female heroine, is mistaken for one of the Valkyries and taken away to Valhalla, where there's a (sort of) epic battle with trolls. My writing partner (Andy Ezrin) and I ending up spending a year, on and off, for this one 11 -minute episode. It was a huge amount of work. One big highlight was recording a trio of brilliant, Broadway vocalists bellowing out the parts.

We share this sort of Kubrickesque vision with the Director: to score the opposite of what's on the screen as often as we can, rather than using the 'Mickey Mouse' techniques of hitting every action like most cartoons do. To my knowledge, nobody is doing this sort of stuff in animation - certainly not on television."

- Ada Guerin