Music Score Review and Preview with Tumtum, ‘Twice Exceptional’ Person with Autism

July 3, 2015

This is his first time to work on scoring a film just as this is my first time to work with a special music scorer. I am referring to Thristan “Tumtum” Mendoza, a ‘twice exceptional’ person with autism whose music potentials and capabilities was challenged anew when I offered him the task of scoring my documentary, “Apolinario Mabini: The Sublime Paralytic.” [Its Filipino version PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon will follow]. Tumtum is a solo concert music artist, and this is his first film music scoring assignment.


Tumtum explains the limitations of his software  during our last meeting

Advocating for PWD inclusion and their mainstreaming in our society, and believing in their talents and capabilities, there was no hesitation, but more of excitement when I thought of including Tumtum as member of my production staff. His mother Belina was most anxious when I broached the idea, and thought the idea was quite risky for me since Tumtum has no experience whatsoever in music scoring. But confident as ever that God leads me to the right people, I was ready to take the risk, if you may call it that. Besides, I wouldn’t know until I try. And not until I hear what he had produced, I cannot say that he is not cut for it. Above all, since it is my film, and I am an indie, I can do what I want because no producer would dictate on me what he wants.

And I was right! Tumtum came up with beautiful music scores that gave the right mood for my film. I could feel Tumtum’s heart in it, if you know what I mean. Only a couple of his works were not utilized.

Last week, I sat down with Tumtum and Belina to preview my film with his music on it. I gave him a copy of the film with my notes on his scores, comments, instructions, etc. It has become like a PostTUMTUM Notes 2 It vehicle for me. And I believed it helped anyway as we previewed the segments one by one; stopped where notes are written; explained when I had to. Based on that, he will be lengthening or shortening the music, change it, and /or adjust the final position of the music scores.

TUMTUM Notes 4

Discussion with Tumtum was supplemented by visual instructions written on the material itself.

The process was a little different from how I usually work with other music scorers. Others normally compose then position the music against the video themselves. Then, I sit with them when they finalize the music score. We go segment by segment, with me asking for some changes or adjustments here and there until I approve of everything. In the case of Tum, he composed the music per segment, tagged them accordingly, then gave them to me. I myself then positioned his music that I liked and approved of against the picture, with his tag as guide. Since he had no specific mark as to where to actually position them I used my instinct. But I did not limit the placement of his music based on his tag. Wherever I find it appropriate elsewhere, I use the music again.TUMTUM Notes 3

There are pieces that I used several times which were not meant for the designated segment since they sounded good and goes well on others. I do acknowledge that Tum must have the exact position in mind when he created the segmental pieces. So, ultimately, he has a say on it, and he can readjust what I did. But as I have a say on it as well compromise would be the solution.

I hope that music scoring as a new avenue for his talent continues and flourishes. New blood should be infused in the film music world. It would for sure, be quite challenging for him since he has to feel the scene to create the music to enhance its mood. His flexibility will be challenged. But his potentials as an excellent music scorer is great. He can do it!

Mom Belina is so happy with the busy-ness the music scoring assignment gave Tumtum. He matured more she said. He has learned a lot. Most importantly, his focus on the new work, pulled him away from facebook!

The film is slated to be launched at DLS-CSB, at 4 pm, in Manila on August 27, in Celebration of the National Heroes Day. A special film preview will be held on July 17 in Mabini Shrine-Tanauan, Batangas.


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