Composing his way to Comic-Con

10 July 2018

Waikato alum Tristan Fisher will head to Comic-Con this month, one of pop culture's biggest events.

As 130,000 supporters and some of the world’s biggest stars flock to San Diego for Comic-Con this month, the event is particularly special for Waikato alum Tristan Fisher. He composed the music for the New Zealand short film Shelldon, which will screen at Comic-Con’s International Independent Film Festival.

Tristan, a Bachelor of Music graduate from the University of Waikato, says he’s honoured to have his work shown at Comic-Con, one of pop culture’s biggest events.

“Never in my life did I expect to be going to Comic-Con,” Tristan says. “This is probably the biggest thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Shelldon is a two-minute animated film about a crab living in a bottle cap. The film has a strong environmental message, something that Tristan thinks is particularly important.

“We all know that caring for the environment matters, but hopefully films like these will push people to do something about it.”

Tristan was given the task of composing the music only a week before the film needed to be finished. He was already working on the soundtrack for two other short films, but he says time pressures enhance creativity.

Created by young New Zealanders, the film uses the cute crab to convey an environmental message.

“I worked late into the night, and it all boiled down to the last day – I got half of it done in the last five hours!” he says.

Originally a classical singer, pianist and guitarist, Tristan came to the University of Waikato to pursue a career in opera, but later decided he preferred the writing side of music.

“Composing is pure creativity – I really like combining traditional orchestra music with the synthetic sounds you hear in EDM and pop music.”

Although Tristan has been known to use unconventional methods, such as using the sound of hitting crystal glass to create a melody, Shelldon’s soundtrack consisted only of cinematic sounds: a string orchestra, violin solo and a flute solo. He used the music editing programme Ableton and an online sound pack.

He’s looking forward to networking with other composers and film-makers, and says Comic-Con is the perfect place for it.

“I want to keep writing music – hopefully one day I will be composing for feature films, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.”

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