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Pinar Toprak

On composing for film, television and games with Cubase.

Classically trained film, television and game composer Pinar Toprak’s credits include blockbuster superhero movies like Captain Marvel and Justice League, as well as the hugely popular Fortnite from Epic Games. In this video, conducted at her Los Angeles studio, she talks about the psychology of music being at the center of her craft, striving to always improve, the excitement of hearing musicians play her compositions for the first time and the importance of not just musicianship but technology as well.

“I’m mesmerized by the power of music,” she states, “and by emotions that are not necessarily verbally expressed. Music gets through to us more than any words you can imagine.” Yet Toprak’s compositional approach varies, depending upon the specific project. “Sometimes it’s a matter of creating different sounds and textures — it’s more [about] the vibe — and sometimes it’s a tune that I need to come up with.” One thing remains constant, though: “I start with the most difficult [element], and then build everything around it.”

Steinberg Cubase plays a major role in the process, as Toprak explains. “It allows me to create without worrying about the tool itself. Having a template and all of the workflow already in place — it’s like being with a friend. Cubase allows me to work in the fastest and most efficient way, and [to] really focus on the music, which is what matters the most.”

Toprak wraps things up with some sage advice for aspiring composers. “The main thing is having a curious mind, because when you have a curious mind, you’re guaranteed to evolve.” Equally important, she says, are musicianship, a mastering of technology, resilience and loving what you do. “When you’re passionate about what you do,” she explains, “people feel it and they want to create with you.” Truly words to live by!

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