Minnesota State Community and Technical College instructor and composer Michael Trosvig scored big when his work was chosen as the best musical score in the recent 48 Hour Film Project in Minneapolis.
Trosvig, who teaches music composition in the college’s fine arts program, was competing for the second time in a 48 Hour event, which challenges filmmaking teams to write, shoot and edit a short film in 48 hours.
The Minneapolis 48 Hour Horror Film Project ran from 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, through 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5. The teams were given a character, a prop and line of dialogue, and they were randomly assigned a genre. For Trosvig’s team, headed by producer David Mair, that was “Freaks and Carnivals.”
“We took the direction of ‘freaks,’” Trosvig said, an apt description for the character they created: a three-armed woman whose murderous third arm “had a mind of its own.”
“It was meant to be as comical as it was frightening – it was spoofy,” he added.
While Trosvig had Saturday to consider his score, he couldn’t begin composing the music until he saw a rough cut of the film – dubbed “I Think It’s Going Really Well” – at 8 a.m. Sunday, leaving less than 11 hours to complete, record and add the score for the entire film.
“Prior to that I did work on some ideas, but you don’t know if it’s going to work,” he said. In keeping with the numerical theme, Trosvig said he “tried to do everything in threes – harmonic progressions, echoes, mixed meters – to give it an unsettled feeling … and to have some academic fun with it.”
While “Going Well” doesn’t advance to further competitions, Trosvig and colleagues on another team are awaiting word on an earlier film collaboration. A film they entered in the 2014 48 Hour Film Project is competing with 25 other films nationally and will premiere at Filmapalooza 2015 in Hollywood in April.
Besides music composition, Trosvig also has courses in music theory on M State’s Fergus Falls campus, where he teaches in the Music Department with colleagues Teresa Ashworth, Dan Carlson and David Stoddard. He also teaches a Pop and Rock course on the college’s Detroit Lakes and Wadena campuses and is in the process of developing a class on the history of music in video games and in stage and film.
His previous scores include a number that was performed by the M State Chamber Chorale for the college’s 50th anniversary in 2013 and a song performed by M State student Lexi Wedll during her sophomore recital this past spring. He also collaborated with Missouri State University on a folk musical based on the life of Jesse James told from the perspective of the outlaw’s wife. The musical premiered in April 2013.
“Having success is wonderful, but even participation in these types of activities helps to show students there are so many different avenues they can follow as they pursue careers in music,” Trosvig said.