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On the Rise with George Shaw

People will always try and tell you what to create, but try to follow your instincts and create what you love. Chances are you’ll be happier and others will love your work as well. – George Shaw

Hollywood is about to learn the musically talented George Shaw, an award winning rising film composer from Houston, Texas. George Shaw has worked on some of Hollywood and minor independent film is on the rise. His crafty cutting edge sounds to match what you see in the theaters.

In Shaw’s earlier career move, he applied and was accepted into an early entrance program at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, which allowed him to skip his senior year of high school in order to pursue his career in film. Shaw also took part in a world-class Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program. He also participated in the 2004 ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop and the 9th Annual BMI Conducting Workshop.

In addition to composing films, Shaw has orchestrated on a number of films, including Ghost Rider, The Darwin Awards, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (starring Val Kilmer, Robert Downey Jr.), and Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. Shaw’s string arrangements and orchestrations can be heard on Nural’s debut album The Weight of the World from Hopeless Records, and singer/song writer Kari Kimmel’s first solo album A Life in the Day.

eye.D: How old were you when you realized that becoming a film composer is what you wanted to do?
George Shaw: I think I was sixteen when I decided to pursue a career as a film composer. I had alrady begun writing tunes and loved listening to film scores. I also had a passion for movies and still tend to watch them on a daily basis. So, I figured, combining my love for music and movies was the ideal life for me.

eye.D: Did you parents encourage you to be where you are now? What were their reactions?
GS: My parent shave been incredibly supportive of everything I’ve every done. They constantly encouraged me to study  business, law, or something that  would lead to  already soul-crushing job right our of college. I guess they gave up when they realized I  didn’t want to do anything else, and even helped pay for the expensive USC tuition. But at least  they steered my sister away from music and into a business major at an affordable state school. I’m happy for her, and maybe someday when I’m forgotten and unemployed, I’ll be able to mooch off her.

eye.D: Any inspirations?
GS: As a kid, every time I heard the E.T. theme or the Indiana Jones theme, it immediately conjured visions from those movies. When I realized John Williams had written those and a slew of other memorable themes, I knew how powerful effect music could have on an audience. It was that magic power of music that inspired me to write melodies that would bring life to the big screen.

When I’m working on a project, it’s the movie and the story that inspires me, which is why I get writer’s block when I try to write symphonies or songs, music that exists on its own, without visual inspiration. It’s such a thrill to take a powerful scene and enhance it with a melody, rhythm, or a musical texture. For example, I am currently writing music for The Real Shaolin, a documentary about martial arts. I wrote a theme representing the mystical aspect of the Shaolin temple, and its recurrence throughout the film symbolizing the influence of Shaolin over the four main individuals in the film.

eye.D: Any projects you’re currently working on at the moment?

Kari Kimmel, A Life in the Day
Kari Kimmel, A Life in the Day

GS: Currently, I’m scoring two films. The first is called Sailfish, a Chinese coming-of-age sports drama about a swimmer trying to achieve greatness during the Cultural Revolution. The Real Shaolin is a documentary following four people who journey to the Shaolin Temple in china to learn the secrets of Kung Fu. The four include a young Chinese boy who wants to become a Shaolin monk, a 19 year old Chinese kick boxer who wants to become a champion, a 19 year old American who dreams ot mastering Wu Shu, and 29 year old from France who wants to learn the ancient secrets of the Shaolin masters, but, as an outsider, must first prove his worthiness to the Chinese masters.

Immediately after I will begin scoring a feature length Indiana Jones fan film, called Treasure of the Templars. It’s gotten some buzz on the Internet, and the fans are even calling it the Real Indiana Jones 4. It will be fun to do homage to the very music that got me interested in film scoring in the first place.

eye.D: Any dream projects to work along side with?
GS: I would be a dream to work with the great Steven Spielberg, but I look forward to working with young up and coming filmmakers who have a fresh voice and have yet to be discovered. It’s exciting to collaborate with someone on their way up and build a working relationship that inspires creativity and opens doors for a working partnership that could last a lifetime.

eye.D: What’s a typical day like in general?
GS: Thanks to Netflix, I get a movie in my mailbox almost every day, which is the perfect way to take a two hour break when i’m busy working on a project. When I’m not on a project, I love to surf, and recently took up snowboarding for the winter months.

eye.D: Name one thing that close friends and family don’t know about you?
GS: I sometimes come across as such a serious, honest guy that sometimes I’ll crack a joke or say the most ridiculous thing, and people totally believe me as if I’m being serious.

eye.D: Thank you George for this interview, where can fans hear samples of your work?
GS: You can hear my music on my website at or any other social media platforms.

Other interesting facts about Shaw is that he can play a variety of musical instruments. He currently resides in Los Angeles. What touches him most is a very moving moment in a movie when the emotions and the music are just right. Shaw has recently been nominated in three different categories in The 2007 Film and TV Music Awards for three different independent films, Best Score for an Indie Feature Film for J-ok’el, Best Score for a Short Film for Hit Me, and Best Score for a Student Film for The Revengers.



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