There’s one part of a movie that’s so integral, so loved, so important — and so often overlooked. The score. Film scores can bring us into the heights of elations and the lows of humiliation, they can be powerful or subtle, whimsical or grounded. They add so much to our experience, but they’re not given the recognition they deserve. That’s why this talk from James Horner, one of the leading script scorers, is so interesting. “It’s a medium that’s so proprietary it almost works against the creative process,” Horner explains. It’s so different than other art forms.

Because when you write scores, the property isn’t yours. You can’t explore themes throughout your career, you have to start from scratch every step of the way. Although he says that this aspect is so limiting creatively, what he’s done throughout his career is remains an impressive and, undoubtedly, creative body of work. Maybe it’s down to the “gentle manipulation” of the employer that he’s gotten so good at. What does that mean? You can check out the whole video — and Horner’s methods — here:

Coming into a project that is deeply personal to a director, after so much has already been done, and being asked to not only create, but also give their opinion of a piece, is a terrifying place to be. Horner is a master at balancing the director’s needs, the creative process, and what will work with an audience. Composing for the film world is a totally different arena than writing music for yourself or collaborating with another musician. Horner talks about all of the massaging that needs to be done — and he’s certainly gotten good at it. The proof is in the pudding.