ASMAC First Wednesdays Program

April 7, 2018

April 4, 2018



Two of the film and television industry’s most prolific working composers, Chris Ridenhour and Christopher Cano treated ASMAC members and guests to an insider’s look at “THE ASYLUM”. The Asylum is a Glendale, CA based studio known for the Sharknado film series and Z-nation on the SciFy Channel. Asylum CEO and ASMAC member, David Michael Latt, joined his dynamic duo as they explored many contemporary issues facing today’s media composers like keeping deadlines with a busy production pipeline. The interview was moderated by the renowned, award-winning composer Joe Kraemer (Mission Impossible 5, Jack Reacher, Way of the Gun, etc.).

Attendees were privileged to learn about the very ‘ordered’ ways movies are produced at the Asylum. Creating order from chaos is a natural gift of these seasoned industry veterans. The very name of the studio—The Asylum—begs some exploration:

The Asylum is one of the world’s leading brand-oriented motion picture and television studios. With a focus on high-concept, market-driven entertainment, like the SHARKNADO franchise, The Asylum finances, produces and releases 25 films per year through its direct pipeline to the nation’s top retailers and its network of international partners. Since its founding in 1997, The Asylum has released more than 500 films and has built a library of over 250 original productions, including top-rated movie premieres for Syfy, Lifetime, AXS TV and Animal Planet networks. In addition, The Asylum is now in production of season 4 of Syfy’s top rated scripted show Z NATION, a critically-acclaimed action-horror series.

Co-founded by David Michael Latt, The Asylum has produced hundreds of films in a very ordered manner which provides cast and crew members an excellent format for staying on schedule and getting their work completed on time. This kind of pressure drives Cano and Ridenhour to keep their fires burning on high much of the time. With occasions for re-grouping, exploring new possibilities and new musical expressions coming infrequently these days the two talented creators value their collaborative habits and praise the management of projects overseen often by Latt. The Asylum is not fooling around when it comes to being the busiest little studio with sharks and zombies around every corner. Some of the scores from their zombie genre films were explored.

Kraemer pointed out how challenging it can be as a composer to get the right sound for the slow zombie stride. The music has to escalate the tension to a level which, if you were to mute music altogether, the scene would not be the same.

The ‘Two Chris’ shared multiple clips from films they’ve done with Latt and the Asylum. Some attention to technical details were nice pearls as it relates to working collaboratively with other creators and a team of people holding each other in relationship and being responsible to that relationship. Finishing projects as promised and as expected is a shining feature of the music department the Asylum has assembled. A harmonious respect for each other’s integrity really comes forth when you hear these guys speak together freely.

Truly dedicated, passionate artists:

As the evening came to a break there was a nice moment for sharing hugs, handshakes, photos and more.

The second half of the program showcased the wide range of capabilities Cano and Ridenhour have achieved so far. Navy ship scenes, Sharknados, Zombie attacks, Koala bear attacks and a zombie-slaying-Abe Lincoln were fertile ground for laughs, tears, and fun.

During a Sharknado moment of the discussion, Kraemer displayed his impeccable comedic timing with a 2 note “Jaws” motif at just the right moment. As the laughter died down he followed up with a spot-on John Williams – Steven Spielberg imitation that drew a second swell of laughs.

All along, the audience remained glued in their seats (we used Elmer’s) It was a show as much as it was informative. I wouldn’t hesitate to say these guys will have a very long legacy ahead…all 4 of them.

The Escapees from the asylum r-l: chris cano, chris ridnhour, david latt with the rogue nation representative who interrogated them…joe kraemer.Joe Kraemer added insights from his award winning soundtrack for Mission Impossible 5, Rogue Nation. The blend of a duo and their creative story alongside Kraemer’s more traditional single composer approach was revealing in so many ways. I’m running out of space to go on, but if you are reading this and didn’t or couldn’t attend be sure not to miss the First WEDNESDAYS program. It continues to be the premium ‘edutainment’ in the ASMAC calendar of events.

Evita Wagner, Kim Richmond, Chuck Fernandez, Milton Nelson along with Scherr Lillico deserve a thank you for their detailed work to plan the event and get the facility ready for the event. Great job. Everything was set up perfectly and all present had a great time – from Gayle Levant’s welcome to turning out the lights! While everyone is so busy keeping the balance these days, Milton has been the glue for First WEDNESDAYS. Volunteers are so very welcomed and the possibilities for simply running into all the best arrangers and composers, players and producers is real and critical to becoming a partner in the passion of this craft here in the L.A. area.

If you are a new member, an old member, or just an interested person, Review ASMAC continues to maintain a tradition of excellence in musical creation and sound. These people know what they are doing.


Adam Dachman

The Escapees from the asylum r-l: chris cano, chris ridnhour, david latt with the rogue nation representative who interrogated them…Joe kraemer.


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