Meet Laura Karpman, composer of the Marvel animated series “What If …?”, And co-founder of the Alliance of Women Composers.
Tell us about your experience as a composer on this series that mixes the different Marvel universes?
It was really a lot of fun, but it was also a tough challenge. What is the most fun in this series is its concept: how to hijack the films, while retaining their main essence? The show takes a whole different direction from the movies, and I think the music reflects that desire for change.
How to take the plot of the films but offer something different? This is really the basis of this concept, and the main challenge of this series. Each episode also provides a different answer to this question.
Which Marvel Cinematic Universe Composer Got You most impressed with his work?
I have enormous admiration for their work! Each composer knew how to bring something new to the franchise: I love what Michael Giacchino did with Doctor Strange, his musical choices were just perfect to serve this character, I also love Chris Beck’s work on Ant -Man, this idea of a musical theme both immense and minimalist, Alan Silvestri is a formidable composer who writes incredible orchestral scores …
Each of these composers knew how to innovate, and it was therefore super exciting, especially as Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios attach great importance to film music. It really is the type of family in which you feel good. They want great orchestral music for their films and their series, and that’s good because that’s exactly what I like to do.
How did you approach your work on the show? What balance did you find in staying true to the movies and the characters while bringing a fresh take on the franchise?
My first question when I joined the project was what was the goal? What is the starting point of the series? What do we want to bring new to the franchise? And each episode therefore delivers different answers to these questions.
Love for the MCU is at the heart of the series, but the concept of What If is to replay those stories in totally new directions. So if it was just a question of taking up the musical themes of the films, then what would I have been used for?
My job was to take inspiration from certain elements of the soundtracks, and to have fun with them, but also to imagine new totally original music to accompany the adventures of these well-known characters in completely new situations!
You co-founded the Alliance of Women Composers. What can you tell us about that, and how Marvel Studios is involved in the representation of women in the entertainment industry?
Isn’t it wonderful that Marvel has become a studio that showcases the work of women? One of my first meetings on their premises was with a 100% female team of writers, it was incredible to see so many women in positions of responsibility! What was considered avant-garde a short time ago is gradually changing the order of things. Which obviously gives me great pleasure.
I co-founded the Alliance of Women Composers with Lolita Ritmanis and Miriam Cutler simply because we needed it. At the time, there were few opportunities for female songwriters in the industry, and few people were interested in their low representation and the opportunities for change in that.
So we made it known that there are very few female songwriters out there, this was perhaps even one of the lowest performances in Hollywood, and we asked producers, directors and even studios to reconsider their positions. vis-à-vis that. Many of them have accepted this change, and Marvel is the perfect example of the studio that has been able to overhaul their entire organization to open more important positions to women.