GWU Student, Christian Jessup, Spends Summer as Intern for Composer Hans Zimmer

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Internship Leads to Behind-the-Scenes Look at California Film Score Industry

By Emily Eidson (’18), GWU Intern for Communications

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Ever wonder what it would be like to work for the mastermind behind the soundtrack for The Lion King or Pirates of the Caribbean? Gardner-Webb University student, Christian Jessup, got the opportunity to do just that this summer as he traveled to California to work for the acclaimed film composer, Hans Zimmer.

A native of Shelby, N.C., Jessup is a senior double majoring in music composition as well as film and video. Since he was about 13 years old, Jessup had dreams of going to California to work for Zimmer. When he was a college freshman, Jessup spoke with someone who had previously interned at Zimmer’s studio, who encouraged him to apply to the program. In the spring of 2017, Jessup was offered a position as the studio’s intern for the upcoming summer.

From his studio, Hans Zimmer has scored Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lion King. Photo courtesy of Remote Control Productions

Zimmer’s studio, Remote Control Productions, Inc. (RCP) is a film score company located in Santa Monica, CA, and Jessup was ecstatic when he realized he would get to work there under the advisement of his favorite composer.  “For me, Zimmer is the standard for music in Hollywood right now, and I believe Remote Control Productions is an important part of the future of film music,” Jessup explains. “As cliché as it may sound, the opportunity to work for RCP and Zimmer was a dream come true.”

At the studio, Jessup got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to compose a film score. Along with administrative work, Jessup was able to “sit-in” on composers, mixers, and arrangers each week in order to watch them create music. At the front desk as well as at the sit-ins, Jessup got the opportunity to communicate first-hand with the artists and employees at the studio. Some composers working at RCP currently are Henry Jackman, Geoff Zanelli, Lorne Balfe, Rupert Gregson-Williams, and, of course, Zimmer himself.

Jessup had a number of priceless experiences while at the studio. For example, he got to attend a class held by one of the composers, where he learned about the artist’s life and preview scenes from an upcoming film that the composer had scored. Jessup also watched a professional recording session in the studio after receiving his own personal copy of the score.

Remote Control Productions is located in Santa Monica, Calif. Photo courtesy Remote Control Productions

Through observing other renowned composers, Jessup learned a lot about his own work. “It was incredibly insightful to see [each composer’s] equipment and methods, and it really taught me a lot, as well as showed me what I need to spend more time on in my own composition,” Jessup describes.

After college, Jessup would like to work in the film music industry. The internship has provided him with valuable job experience at a reputable studio as well as invaluable knowledge that will be beneficial in his future endeavors as a composer.

“It was eye-opening to see how these [artists] work, and it definitely showed me which skills I need to work on,” Jessup says. “Their efficiency in writing music is unbelievable because of their knowledge of the software they use, and I’d love to spend the next year learning those computer programs inside and out so that I can work just as efficiently.”

 

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university that prepares students to become critical thinkers, effective leaders and compassionate servants in the global community. Emphasizing a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics, Gardner-Webb ignites learning and service opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.