Michael Van Bodegom Smith
Kenya's Symphony FYC
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Hi Michael, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
II moved from Chicago in August of 2020 with no immediate plan, no money, and in a world turned upside down. With my Grandfather’s old Ford Focus, low pandemic gas prices, and a general lack of industry jobs due to Covid-19, my best option appeared to be driving for Uber to pay the bills. Yes, driving for Uber was nothing to text home about, but it allowed me to flexibility to attend networking events and workshops, as well as any freelance gig that came my way. After more or less one year of Uber and small one-off gigs, suddenly the phone started to ring more consistently and I made some genuine connections and friends that supported me professionally and personally.
© 2022 by Holy Smoke Photography
Authenticity is about finding yourself in a sea of fake profiles. When the social media star of highschool realizes she has no genuine friends, she attempts to connect to someone by catfishing the only genuine guy in school...
There are two main characters in the film, the mother and Kenya, her young daughter who is spunky and spirited. There is no dialogue, but lots of music, which is excellent and well chosen. My favorite part of the film is the scene where the little girl discovers her passion for music. It is so exciting and the music scoring at the moment is beautiful...
A bit about me!
From composing for Netflix children's television shows to working on Universal and Sony’s rated R blockbusters, Michael has worked professionally within visual media for the past six years. In 2017, Michael began his professional career in Chicago as a classical and jazz trumpeter. After sharing the stage with legends such as Bernard Purdie, Cassandra O'Neal, and Donny McCaslin, he shifted his focus to songwriting and composition. After making the leap from Chicago to Los Angeles, Michael’s career shifted from scoring short-indie films and recording bands in his Chicago basement to working on studio-backed projects and recording on iconic scoring stages. In 2021 Michael began working under the multi-award-winning composer Dara Taylor and emmy-award winning composer JP Rende, writing additional music for their various movies and TV series. Under the wing of these two influential composers, Michael displayed an immense amount of range by writing music for horror, comedy, drama, and animated films, as well as music for children’s TV, much of which was recorded live. Animation has become a specialty for Michael, having scored five animated films as well as over twenty episodes of animation for Savannah Guthrie and Drew Barrymore’s new hit series Princess Power. In 2022, Michael flew to Europe to record a 60-piece symphonic orchestra for the upcoming animated project, Kenya’s Symphony. The composition is a reimagination of the traditional concerto three-movement structure and features Los Angeles Philharmonic member and internationally renowned soloist, Tianyun Jia. Romantic comedies have become familiar territory for Michael as well, having worked on seven TV-movies for the Hallmark Channel. Michael has also had the honor to provide additional orchestration to the iconic Pokémon series, most notably the 2023 series Pokémon Horizons. In addition to his work with large networks and studios, Michael remains an avid participant in the indie-filmmaking and the musical theater scene in Los Angeles. Over the past three years Michael has music directed four full-length stage musicals, three of which were original pieces with casts over fifthteen people in size. Additionally, Michael has written his own musical, which was honored as an award-winning production at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, adapted into a feature-film, and is currently being workshopped in various places around the United States. Outside of his work in visual media, Michael is an avid participant in the Los Angeles music scene as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His original music spans between instrumental compositions for the concert hall and Pop-RnB fusions. As a performer, Michael frequently gigs for independent artists around Los Angeles, and works as a session musician for film and TV. His credits as an instrumentalist include The Ghost of Molly McGee, Lego Stars Wars, and Model America. Michael is a proud voting member of the Television Academy and the Recording Academy. He is also affiliated with the Society of Composers and Lyricists, Composers Diversity Collective, and The Alliance for Women Film Composers.
Michael is a proficient pianist and brass multi-instrumentalist with a background in classical, jazz, soul/funk, and RnB music. He is currently studying voice with seasoned professional vocalist Baraka May.