⭐️DC's Stargirl Scoring Competition - And The Winner Is…⭐️

Spitfire Audio
edited September 2021 in Competitions

Congratulations to the winner and runners-up!

Thank you to all participants, we hope this experience has been rewarding and provided a real-world opportunity to gain experience with scoring to picture. 

We’d love to hear your favourite part of the process or anything you’ve learned. 

Feel free to leave some support for your fellow composers in the thread below!



  • Congratulations to Chris, the runner-ups and all participants. Thanks to Pinar Toprak, DC and Spitfire Audio for giving us a fabulous scene to work on.

  • Congrats to the winners! Will there be a place to post our submission for commentary or to get some feedback?

  • GeorgeCM
    edited September 2021

    Congrats to the winners! I did go through tons of videos but didn't get to see some of those in the runner-ups. That was great to hear them all.

    It was a lot of fun and exciting experience, learning new things regardless of the outcome. Hopefully I'll better prepared for the next year competition, which I hope it will happen. Thanks Spitfire and Pinar Toprak and whoever else helped organizing this, it was a great experience! And of course everyone else participating, I heard a lot of good stuff out there and gave me some ideas.

  • MaestroDB
    edited September 2021

    Congrats to the winner CHRIS HURN and the 4 runners-up, you all deserved it well!

    And also, congrats to us all who have participated in the competition and put efforts to the score, we are all still winners no matter what, music is priceless but you can still win the hearts of those in need of music as the world revolves around everywhere you go, you can't really put a price tag on that! I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to do this kind of thing with the scoring competition along with trials and errors, it was really fun! I love everyone's music and the styles that build along with their personality, that's the sure thing I know there's no contest in hearing one's work as we all have stories to tell.

    Thank you Pinar Toprak and Paul Thomson from Spitfire Audio for introducing the Stargirl Scoring Competition to all of us! <3 For the ones that was expected to win, don't feel sad, be happy that in your heart that you still won and know that you did your best, I know I did and I feel in my heart that we all are on the same boat, some things are not for everyone worth expecting but know that you are worth everything in life! Take care!

    ~Darryl Brady

    We each have our own unique style!

  • Well done winners. Well deserved win Chris! As for the clip, anybody wondering how a truck skidding on ice sounds like its skidding on dry asphalt? Just sayin...

  • Amazing winning entry for sure! Congratulations, Chris! And congrats to everyone, of course! 👍️

    It must've been a massive effort to go through them all, I can't even imagine. Thus, thanks SA and Pinar for all the great care! 🤗

    I'll most certainly be looking forward to the next one and can only hope SA is not terrified of the thought, haha! 😱

    Well, I hope, Chris still gets something he doesn't have already and then post a nice little encore tune with what he'll have learned from Pinar! 😃🍺



  • philh27
    edited September 2021

    Congrats Chris and the runners up. And thanks Spitfire and Pinar for the opportunity to practice our chops. Looking forward to the next one.

    Still thought my bagpipe, accordion and cowbell based score would have done better……


  • I worked on the BBC's movies for Elizabeth I . The art director (an Oscar-Emmy winner) told me to 'make everything look old or else the audience wouldn't believe it. I was making set dressing such as rolled parchments, books, etc. I was trying to make everything look fresh as it would have been for her court viziers, etc. I ended up aging everything with instant coffee and creasing corners, etc. Finally, at the climax of the movie, they end up burning all the props I had made. Goddamn. That was fun to watch.

  • Congratulations Chris! Well done!

  • I could barely hear the dialogue and FX on the winning submission, the sound of the collision with the bus was decreased and the staff in the air part with the screams in the bus were also decreased.

    I ticked that I would keep the original dialogue and FX sound which made it more of a challenge sticking to the rules, if I knew I could slash the audio by 30% to 40% using spectralayers I would of done this.

    At least next year I know that I am not required to follow the rules set by Spitfire Audio.

    Apart from this discrepancy, well done to the winners.

  • From listening to it I think the volume was constant though the whole thing, although as you said it wasn't that much in the face like other submissions and the music was slightly over it. In the case of that staff fx it seems like it's similar frequencies, as I can still hear the fx if I pay attention to it.

    You weren't allowed to alter/modify the content but adjusting volume was an option. I know I have read it in the faq before. And here it is, I found it:


  • Angus
    Angus admin
    100 Answers 500 Likes 500 Comments First Anniversary
    edited September 2021

    @Jason_Webster32 this tick box related to changing the original FX and Dialogue (e.g. automating volume levels) it did not relate to the balance of the overall audio, which as @George-Ciprian has pointed out, could be modified. In a real-world scenario, the job of balancing the music and dialogue would go to the Sound Editor, so this was not a judging criteria of this competition.

  • It wasn't a few dB lower...

    In the video with Pinar, she told us to carve our score around the sound effects as they will always win etc, your forums frequently asked questions (I never visited because the rules were clear to me) you said it was ok to lower the dialogue/sound effects etc.

    You can't give rules in one place and then expect people to know the rules can be bent in others places, it's like me passing my driving test and afterwords being told, I know it says 30 MPH but you can go 33MPH, don't worry if the light turns orange it really means put your foot down to get through.

    Well at least I understand how the Spitfire Audio competitions work on here now, I'll make sure I keep up to date with the rule changes.

    I don't expect an explanation because you've made it perfectly clear to me and everybody else who felt the same way that I have.

  • ChrisHurn
    edited September 2021

    I would just like to quickly clear this up - I did not automate the volume of my entry, so I do find it a little weird you are accusing me of breaking the rules. I read a post on this forum saying that we shouldn't do any automation, so I didn't, even though I would have liked to do a proper mix pass. I may have turned the sound effects down (as in the whole overall track) but the fader remains 100% untouched -- zero automation.

  • Congrats to all the winners! They are all very high quality to my ears, the bar is high! Would have preferred more guitars but that's just me :-)

    I have a question for the team, i didn't get a comment on my submission. As far as i can see I had the right tag, submitted well before the deadline and filled out the form correctly.

    Does that mean my submission wasn't listened to?

    I have no problem with that by the way, i can imagine how difficult it is to get through them all, just would appreciate understanding if i should have done something differently so i know for next time.

    Many thanks for organising - it's much appreciated.

  • BootPalace I used guitars on my entry but not sure that is what they were looking for.

  • Well said Taron, participate and not compete. I remember one quote from Bela Bartok saying that "competitions are for horses, not artists".

    I've read many comments on youtube, that I heard better melodies, better attentions to all cues, better something else. Not only that this is not healthy as a mindset for composers because music is subjective but I also find it wrong. I really don't like it when a score is way too much and has a will on its own that it's taking your attention away from the scene, no matter if it's a very beautiful score. I'd rather hear a more bland (for lack of a better word) scoring that can many times fit better and can carry the picture, but of course one strong score with strong melodies and original that blends very well with the scene is ideal. It's easy to overdo it and not realize it might be okay for you but the majority listening are not you or other composers but common people. And about cues, I also did this mistake looking back but a scene should tell a story first rather than hitting all the small cues. You have to give an overall vibe to the scene and not lose yourself into details because it may harm it in the end.

  • @George-Ciprian haha, this could easily drift off into a much more interesting conversation, but really, Hollywood TV shows are a blessing for composers, because they won't ever run out of work, haha. This is not helping the quality of the shows, as stuff is essentially drenched in musical dressing up to a point where you can't follow the story with a wake mind anymore. It's like they're trying to hide the weak content you couldn't possibly relate to anymore by some pretentious, emotional guidance for the most minute details. And in their mesmerized slumber, the unending lullaby keeps feeding carefully designed ideas into its victims, eh... audience, I mean. 😉

    But, while I, too, was thinking that this was a great opportunity to experiment with scoring a film sequence to make the sequence work and feel right, it was obviously the more intelligent choice to use it as a film-scoring-showcase. Good to know! 😎 After all, as I mentioned above, it was no small feat to fit all that into these tight moments.

  • @Jason_Webster32 I take your point, and I'll pass this onto the team. I won't be drawn into a debate over what constitutes as a good audio balance, as this was not an official judging criteria, merely a recommendation from Pinar. The audio balance does not detract from the fact that the winner provided an excellent score.

  • Congratulations to the winners, excellent work.

    I wrote my score for a more urban street culture vibe,

    to entice a more street audience to be interested in what they are experiencing.

    what we face on the street has such a different emotional experience,

    so combining, classic scoring with the emotional content of the street.

    is so enticing. example the movie, (The last Blackman in San Francisco)

    Much respect again to everyone who entered the competition, well done.

  • Angus,

    It was a terrific competition and most us appreciated the opportunity to practice our craft with the added discipline of a specific brief and some kind of limited timescale. A different and valuable experience than noodling away, coming up with nice tunes with no real home for them. All the winners were excellent. As Pinar said herself, it is subjective, not a scientific process. There were probably hundreds of other entrants that could have made the cut on another day.

    However, I would offer one piece of feedback that potentially could be incorporated into the next competition.

    In the launch material, everyone is quite rightly encouraged to enter irrespective of their expertise, experience or what tools they have access to. On one hand we are advised that our current level of experience, using free sample libraries and limited gear will not be detrimental to our ability to enter the competition and that it is about the composition not the production expertise. However on the other hand it clearly is a drawback if you don’t quite have the ‘chops’ either down to experience or funds.

    .The reality is that Chris and I believe last year’s winner are working, professional composers with the expertise, experience, proven talent and quality sample libraries and equipment upon which to draw.

    They are absolutely worthy winners in a completely open competition, but it does mean that it is pretty much impossible for those of us at the beginning of our composer journey to get noticed. Not a complaint, but I would imagine that entries that may actually be quite decent compositions but were less than perfect sonically received a cursory listen and were discarded whilst compiling a long list/ short list of ‘suitable’ entries.

    So, though I appreciate that it might be difficult from a logistics angle, would it not be a more truly open competition if the amateurs, hobbyists and those who have not yet managed to make the breakthrough in getting their compositions placed, had the genuine opportunity to receive some kind of recognition for their work and efforts?

    Speaking for myself, yes of course the prizes on offer would have been terrific to win, but it would have been the recognition and validation of a job well done that would been the most important aspect of seeing/ hearing your name and composition on the winners video. And yes, going forward, it would have been a valuable addition to your ‘cv’.

    Again, please do not view this in any way as a complaint or general disgruntlement! Just a suggestion of possibly making future competitions even better for a wider number budding composers.


  • @philh27 thank you for your feedback here. The competition was open to everyone because it is pretty hard to ban professionals. It would open a debate up as to "how do we define a professional". Someone with lots of IMdB credits?Which might just be for student films. Someone with lots of Spitfire Audio Libraries already? Which might be a result of making financial sacrifices elsewhere (one would hope not).

    The past two winners have been (what you could refer to as) professionals. They do not have big feature credits, but they do work already within the industry as part of their profession. I would hope that this fact does not put people off entering any future competitions we hold, as we stand by our goal of inspiring a generation of composers.

    I have indeed passed this feedback onto the competition team. We can also look to explore other options, such as having a LABS and Discover only category, or an age category, to prevent the need to ban people from entering, as our competitions should be (and will be) open to all.

  • @Angus @philh27 Certainly not trying to create controversy but it’s a very simple matter to sort out.

    A professional is someone who gets paid to do something whether it’s student film, feature film or anything for that matter.

    Very simple to identify, however, not simple to verify.

  • Thanks Angus,

    Again I must make it clear that I would not advocate that any individual or group should be barred from taking part, nor should there be some kind of secondary competition. The overall winner- who ever they may be- is the winner. The runners up- who ever they may be- are the runners up. But perhaps there could be an additional spot for an ‘amateur’ (though a better description than that is needed).

    I appreciate that administrating it could be tricky and would largely have to rely on the honesty of the entrants to confirm whether they are ‘professional’ or not. But theoretically it could open it up a little more.

    Thanks again for listening.

  • Congratulations to the winner! I was curious about the rules and criteria for participants. Is the intent of this competition to recognize emerging new talent trying to break into the industry or is it open to all even those already professionally working in the field? I'm trying to gauge my chances in the next competition and if it's worth entering as a novice starting out with limited access to equipment yet aspiring to break in. The winner already appears to work in the industry and has a very impressive resume (including several Marvel trailers and even Star Wars! https://www.chrishurn.com/

    Thank you for your insight and advice!

  • @ScoreQueen76 the intent of the competition is to give everyone access to top quality (AAA) film clips as part of an official competition as a learning opportunity and to use as part of their portfolio of work. Everyone is able to enter the competition, no matter their background or experience. As mentioned above, it is pretty difficult to govern who can and can't enter, but we have certainly heard and taken onboard feedback of this nature.

  • Hey guys, I completely agree with what your all saying including Angus, you can't measure how talented somebody is unless they have scored films in the past and have some kind of record of working as a professional...

    I also agree that if somebody like Hans Zimmer was to enter the competition... we all may as well aim for 2nd place because how can I or anybody compete with that level?

    I also agree that you should hold competitions using the free packs like the BBC discovery and LABS, so it limits everybody on the same level, I used Labs for majority of the sounds in this competition, so did my friend who did a really good job.

    My idea on this would be to hold 2 competitions, one for the professionals like Hans Zimmer and one for the free plugins (provide a list of free plugins allowed to be used) this will give students or people who ain't as talented a chance because we'll be participating fairly rather than agaist somebody with £20,000 worth of instruments with complete creative freedom to dominate any obstacle in their way.

    I think you should only be allowed to enter if you have some form of identification, if its a valid drivers licence or a student card, some kind of identification to stop people making hundreds of emails to maximise their chances or participating in both competitions.

    I also think that the competition should include a £5 fee which should go to charity to help children in need.

    You'll no doubt pass this onto the spitfire team to be discarded.

    Thank you for your time and I'm sorry in advance if I upset anybody with my blabber.