The Brian and Danielle Show


Episode 20: The John Ottman Sessions

May 20, 2014

For this episode, we sit down with John Ottman, renowned for being both the editor and the composer of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including The Usual SuspectsX-Men 2 and the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past. He also directed Urban Legends: Final Cut.

You’ll hear John explain how one man can both edit and score a film — tasks that usually happen concurrently. (Ottman admits the daunting responsibilities take a toll on his personal life.) He also shares how editing and scoring basically come down to "telling stories and solving problems” — things he admits he is good at.

In our discussion, Ottman details how the Super 8 films he made as a child in his parents' garage set the stage for his award-winning career; why listening to classical music was the best training he ever had, and how growing up in the late ‘70s inspired his love of film music.

Having worked with top stars, Ottman also shares great stories about editing alongside Tom Cruise on “Valkyrie", and how being at a party with Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman and a piano resulted in a “dolly-in, zoom-out” moment. (Trust us, you won't want to miss that story!)

For a man who once judged his financial success on his ability to afford a daily Frappuccino, Ottman offers advice for aspiring composers (“keep your expenses low”). He also makes a simple request to fans of film music (“don’t judge a film’s score by the soundtrack album”), and muses on his secret dream job. You’ll never guess where this Hollywood powerhouse thinks about working.

Enjoy our chat with John Ottman, a true creative genius with an arsenal of talents. And then be sure to see X-Men: Days of Future Past when it opens Friday, May 23, 2014. (For LA residents, Ottman recommends seeing it in Dolby Atmos at the Arclight in Sherman Oaks.)

Danielle, Brian and John Ottman