THE tools of Kerry Whitehouse’s new trade dominate his home in Ennis. One room houses a custom built studio pieced together over the past two years. A 3D projector screen hangs in the sitting room. Film posters adorn the walls.
It started as a hobby but now the art of crafting music for movies is a major part of Whitehouse’s life. He didn’t expect it to happen quite so fast.
It started with bits and pieces of equipment and offers to Internet filmmakers of a free music score.
Two years on, the 38 year old postman from Corrovorrin has just been contracted to score music for the pilot episode of an international TV series.
‘Darker Days’ is an Irish made vampire hunter story whose cast includes actors from major TV hits like ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Love/Hate’.
In October, Whitehouse will rub shoulders with the stars of the movie world at the World Film Music Awards in Holland. It’s been quite a rise and one that started with a few kind words from an Oscar winning composer.
Whitehouse recalls, “I put a studio together, bit by bit. I went to Switzerland to see the Lord of the Rings soundtrack performed live. I go to meet Howard Shore, the composer. I was explaining my situation in that I was never taught music, I can’t read or write it. I asked was there basically any point in me having a go at composing. He said the worst thing anyone could ever tell me was no.”
Encouraged, Whitehouse hooked up with a Boston based filmmaker and provided the music to the short film, ‘Eternal Warning’, completing the job on Christmas Day in 2011.
More work followed. Whitehouse recalls, “Another fella got back to me to do a film called Shiver. That took me quite a while. They’d send me clips via You Tube and set it as unlisted so no-one else could see it. I’d download it and then upload it into my Digital Audio Workstation. I’d watch it a few times. He’d send me notes on the scenes. I’d mix the You Tube video and send it back to them. Then he’d come back with more notes. So I’d go back and keep working on it, back and forth. That was a learning curve. We watched the whole film through a thing called Video Silo. He’s in Texas and I’m here. It was handy. When I watched the film, I realised it wasn’t a total horror film so I had to re-do the whole thing. It came out pretty good.”
He continues, “I did a short film for a guy here in Dublin called ‘The Smoker and the Dame who wore red shoes.’ I’m almost finished that. It’s a completely different process. I’m sending him music without seeing the clips. Ciaron Davis is the director. It has got quite good funding. I have a cameo in it as a pirate!”
A connection with Galway based production company – One Shot Entertainment – lead to Whitehouse’s involvement on Darker Days, his biggest project to date,
He says, “The director, Stephen Patrick Kenny, has won a couple of awards. He’s done four or five films that have been shown around Europe. He’s got funding for this new TV show called Darker Days. He listened to my music on my website and he loved it. So I got my first contract in the post two months ago. I’ve been contracted to do the pilot episode but its definitely looking like it’s going to be taken up by an international TV station. They are doing another film called ‘London Hitman’ with Danny Dyer. Its coming out next year and I’m hoping to be involved in that as well. There’s also another feature –’There’s somebody out there’ – I’m hoping to be involved in as well.”
Music has been part of the former CBS student’s life since he first started playing with local bands aged 16.
It runs in the family. Whitehouse’ grandfather Christy McAllister is a founder member of the Ennis Brass. His other Grandfather, Lloyd Whitehouse was a professional piano player in England.
Whitehouse’s is now listed on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the world’s leading online source of movie information and statistics.
He says, “Because of the mention, I’ve been accredited as composer. I’ve been invited to the Film Music Awards in Ghent (Belgium). None of my music has been nominated but I’ve been invited and I get to hang out with the directors and the composers. You could have anyone there, people like James Cameron, Howard Shore. I’m still in shock. It’s kind of like the Oscars for film music. It’s the biggest one in the world.”
Now following in the footsteps of musical heroes like the aforementioned Shore and Polish composer Woijech Kilar, Whitehouse admits he is stunned at the way his new career has taken off.
“I’m buzzing. It’s just a hobby that I love doing. It’s spiraled out of control in a good way. I didn’t expect to go this far, this fast”, he says.
Kerry Whitehouse’s music is available on www.kerrylloydwhitehouse.com