Changing Your Tune
Confessions of a Closet Geek

HannahKaufman_SketchThis week marks my last as an intern in New York City, and alas, it also signals the end of Confessions of a Closet Geek. Currently, I’m sitting on the train for my morning commute with my laptop out and my earbuds in, having tried for the last 20 minutes to decide what to write about.

To thank anyone who’s stumbled upon and read through one of my columns, I’ve chosen to finish the summer off with as epic a subject as I could think of: film scores.

Cinematic music tends to be taken for granted these days: you enjoy it once while you’re in the theater, but as soon as the movie’s over most people don’t bother to download the soundtrack, let alone stay long enough to see the music credits roll by. But for anyone who’s seen “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Harry Potter,” you’ll know that a good musical composition lingers long past the movie experience.

I first started delving into the sphere of epic film scores after watching “Inception.” The imaginative world-building of the movie was amplified by its dynamic soundtrack, and Edith Piaf’s crooning voice was just the cherry on top of a suspenseful, mind-numbing experience. I don’t think Leonardo DiCaprio’s time in limbo would’ve been the same if all his moments of high action and brow-furrowed inner strife were scored by silence.

Hans Zimmer was the composer of the “Inception” soundtrack; just search his name and see the dozens of other memorable film scores with which he is credited. After learning about him I started jumping around YouTube at random trying to find scores that I liked, and at last, I stumbled upon my favorite musical production group to date: audiomachine.

Created in 2005, audiomachine used to make music solely for the film world. But a couple years back, it began producing full-length albums to stand on their own. audiomachine’s work has been featured in tons of places that you wouldn’t normally stop to think about: from “Taken” to “The Hunger Games” and “The Dark Knight” to “Call of Duty,” its impressive music permeates a large portion of the entertainment industry.

I listen to audiomachine almost everywhere I go (my favorite songs are “Creation” and “Whispers of Wonders”). Whether I’m commuting, gaming, working out or studying, when I plug in my headphones and turn up the volume, whatever I’m doing suddenly seems larger than life. I feel boundless in a bittersweet kind of way, like these routine activities actually matter and I should make the most of every single one of them, even though they’re all just tiny pinpricks on a course leading who knows where.

To build off my column from last week about imagination and nostalgia, I think these epic film scores have the power of channeling a little bit of that fantastical world into even the most mundane tasks. No matter if you’re happy or sad and regardless of what you’re doing, they make you picture everything as part of some grand quest where you can only guess at the conclusion. Nobody’s interpretation and experience of that music will ever be the exact same as someone else’s, but there’s power in variation.

Maybe I’m just using this questing metaphor because I just starting playing “World of Warcraft” (a little late on that trend, I know), but I think it’s an apt way to explain the significance of film scores and the overall message of this column.

Since I started writing this summer, I’ve explored the ups and downs of liberal arts majors, comic conventions, online friendships, board games, Pokemon and now film scores. I don’t claim to be the definitive voice of expertise in any of these topics; all I know is that each of them has shaped my life in one way or another. To me, it’s not about partaking in these activities solely for the sake of defying stereotypes; it’s about embracing even your most outlandish passions to build your world however you see fit.

As I mentioned in the first column I wrote this summer, there will be plenty of people who say my opinions are too idealistic for the unforgiving world we find ourselves in today. But I’ve got evidence to the contrary: whether I’m daydreaming on a train listening to film scores or sitting in Lauinger Library doing a research paper about science fiction, I’ve experienced happiness every day of my life in one way or another, and that in itself is a pretty amazing thing.

Hannah Kaufman is a rising junior in the College. Confessions of a Closet Geek appears every other Monday at


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