The music for “Finders Keepers” played a bigger role than any other film I have been a part of. The tone bounces back and forth so many times between hilarious and tragic that we really leaned on our score to help us navigate this tricky balancing act. When we were compiling references and temp music for the edit we wanted to stay true to the geography of our story and so we went hunting for cues that would sound native to our characters and their surroundings.
Our producers Seth Gordon, Ed Cunningham, co-director Bryan Carberry and myself gathered all the tracks we thought were relevant.
Initially we were drawn to old, stripped down and dirty blues with limited instrumentation.
One inspiration for us was that aesthetically our visuals fit into a Southern Gothic sensibility, and so we wanted to find some kind of twangy, slide guitar induced, haunting music to mirror that.
Another aspect of our story was that our two main characters come from different sides of the tracks in a small town. To show this divide, we delved into some classic southern rock to stay within the region, but with a more produced and affluent sound.
At one point in our movie, there is a showdown between the two of them in a parking lot. What better way to enjoy a stand off than with a little Morricone?
Our assistant editor, Brian Palmer, played me this song while we were working late one night. I used it in a scene the next morning and it is my favorite section of the film. The harmony of their voices is angelic yet full of remorse and fit that scene to a tee.
I can’t say enough about our composers, Osei Essed and Dan Romer. They really nailed the vibe of this film. Here are some songs that Osei passed along as influencers of instrumentation and style for the film. They used a lot of guitars, banjos, mandolins, dobros and my new favorite instrument – the guitalele.
During the first conversation we had with Dan after he watched a rough cut he said, “I have to learn how to hambone for this movie.” After a quick google search we all agreed and Dan starting experimenting making sounds with just his hands on his body. Quickly there after he augmented it with sounds of spoons, drumsticks, stomping and wooden boxes.
We found similar percussive elements in some other film scores, so we used those to temp in while we were still finalizing the edit.
For our last track of the film we used a cover version of this famous country tune. During an interview one of our subjects started singing Merle Haggard as part of his answer to a question. We all thought it was funny and we knew we had to find a way to squeeze it into the film!