Music Industry graduate finds success in independent film composing

Posted: Friday, 10 May 2013

TROY – Troy University and the Cannes Film Festival have something in common: a music industry major from Mobile.

Paul Melancon, who graduates with a bachelor's degree from the John M. Long School of Music today, has something most freshly minted music majors don't see for many years: composing credits in a film being screened at Marche du Film during the international film festival in France.

"It's almost unheard of to have a student intern gaining official composer credits in their internship," he said. "It's a rare thing and a very special thing."

That process started a semester ago, in Robert W. Smith's music industry senior practicum where the students had to develop a "pitch package" on themselves and market themselves in order to secure the semester-long internship needed for degree completion.

Jay Vincent, a television and film composer in Los Angeles, Calif., was the target of one of Melancon's pitches and agreed to take him on in the un-paid internship. In addition to his composing, Vincent is an award-winning and internationally recognized conductor, performer, orchestrator, arranger and music producer – composing the 2012 Golden Globe Awards original music. His work on the top-rated television series "LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu" and his close collaboration with EA on "Dragon Age 2" on trailers for "DragonAge2" and "Mass Effect 3" have made him a staple in video game trailer music.

Vincent has also amassed many feature film credits, among his television and advertisement work.

It was his current scoring of "El Regreso de Elias Urquijo," a Spanish film by award-winning director Roque Madrid, that landed Melancon, a 2006 Alma Bryant High School graduate, his credits on the world independent movie stage. The film is still in production, and, as such isn't an official entry at Cannes.

"Initially, I was doing administrative work, until Jay saw my skills in technical and musical areas and he started giving me more responsibilities on the projects. That's pretty unheard of in an internship in music," Melancon said.

That writing ended up in scenes that were scored by Melancon. He had already earned Vincent's trust in work with EA and in "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles," where one of his small pieces found its way into the Cartoon Network's miniseries. He also worked on editing the original music composed by John Williams.

While "Elias" is still in production and won't be submitted to Cannes for adjudication until next year, Melancon said the experience – and the ability to network with other professionals in Hollywood – will give him a boost in finding work after college.

"I have a foothold to return to L.A.," he said, noting that's his post-commencement plans after spending a few days with family and friends in Mobile.

"The Music Industry Program gave me the versatility I needed to be successful," he said. "You have to be musically inclined, but you have the skill set to work with – the technology, and the business knowledge. You have the opportunity (in the program) to wear multiple hats and you're able to do multiple jobs."

Troy University graduate Paul Melancon, a music industry major from Mobile, earned official credits for music composition on an international independent feature film that will be screened later this month at the Cannes Film Festival in France. (TROY photo/Kevin Glackmeyer)