When One of the Best Young Composers in the World Discovered "Stairway to Heaven"

Have you ever wondered what it's like to get in the mind of a great composer, how he or she strings together a combination of different instruments into a symphony that speaks to your soul? Jim Dooley, not even in his 40s yet, is already the winner of the Emmy Award for Composition for a Primetime Television Series. He has worked on great film scores such as "Gladiator," and has expanded his repertoire into video games, animated film, and even sports.

But the great thing for me, a music novice, is that he is able to articulate his creative process and the seminal moments in his professional career in a way that is accessible for the layperson. He even plays a little music and shows how thinking creatively turned a single captured sound (a pencil striking a wine glass) created an epic Disney experience. He is also chock full of great stories about Jimmy Page's Led Zep guitar, Hans Zimmer's birthday party, growing up in Queens, and so many others.

In fact, I didn't want our conversation to end. Music was just the spine of an entire body of amazing insights coming from Jim. I am very excited about this "How I Broke Into" interview with Jim, and I think you will be, too.

Jim Dooley is an Emmy Award-winning composer/songwriter with a diverse repertoire spanning the film, television, video gaming and live theatrical industries.  He has earned accolades for his solo work as well as proud collaborations with many of the top names in music.

Jim is a graduate of New York University, and upon completion of his degree, moved to Los Angeles to study the art of film composing at USC with prolific scoring legends Christopher Young, Elmer Bernstein and Leonard Rosenman. He joined Media Ventures (now Remote Control Productions) in 1999 and collaborated with Hans Zimmer on DreamWorks’ “Gladiator” and as an additional composer, arranger and orchestrator on Columbia Pictures’ “The Da Vinci Code,” Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” DreamWorks’ “The Ring,” and many others. Two projects featuring Jim’s music were also honored with Oscar nominations.

In television, Jim has written original music for shows on NBC, ABC, FX, CW, and Lifetime and his music on the critically acclaimed series, “Pushing Daisies,” won him the Primetime Emmy Award for “Best Original Music Composition for a Series.”

In film, Jim composed has composed for many live action films, and animated films such as “Madagascar,” “Madagascar 2,” and the Penguins of “Madagascar.” the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” and “Operation Got Your 6” featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.

Jim’s expertise in other mediums can be found in the complex, interactive scores for best-selling videogame titles such as “Epic Mickey,” “Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes,” “Infamous” and “SOCOM 3: U.S. Navy Seals,” “U.S. Navy Seals: Combined Assault.”

Jim is currently scoring TNT’s hit drama “The Last Ship” with collaborator James  Levine. He recently emerged into the Sports industry with his theme for the 2015 Senior PGA Championship, heard on both NBC and the Golf Channel.

Some topics we discussed:

Jim's introduction to "Stairway to Heaven" and "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"
The percussion of Danny Elfman's "Nasty Habits"
Patelson's Music Store in Manhattan
The New York Times article "Cultivating the Art of Serendipity"
Ordering music from and one day releasing through Varese Sarabande Records
The joy of handwritten takedowns
"You don't take as much ownership if you don't figure it out yourself."
Playing a tragic Gladiator theme at Hans Zimmer's birthday party
How an expert swinging a golf club has a harder time than an expert playing a concerto.
Ideas from Oliver Sacks's "Musicophilia"
J.K. Rowling's commencement speech at Harvard about the importance of failure

For the full transcript, click here.

This podcast hosted by New York attorney Michael Prywes was sponsored by Prywes Schwartz, PLLC, a law firm devoted to artists and entrepreneurs.

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