My Funny Detective

My Funny Detective is the score to a film that doesn’t exist. In 2005 Giancarlo Vulcano got the screenplay for a modern-day film noir by his friend Paul Meadows. At the time Vulcano was working with composer Howard Shore, and he composed the music for My Funny Detective while commuting back and forth to his job with Shore. My Funny Detective was composed without deadlines, without comments from producers, and indeed, without a film to work with, and yet somehow it is precise in its depiction of the moods of the story, its action, and its characters.

greener pastures

Notes from screenwriter Paul Meadows:

Write what you know. In 2004 when I began writing the movie script My Funny Detective, I was lonely and alcoholic, bitter and cynical. My friends were suddenly grown up and I could barely take out the trash. In my struggle with these issues, and with a reverential nod to Paul Auster’s City of Glass, I attempted to address them on the page. And what better emblem of loneliness than the fabled private eye – he who holds himself in such righteous esteem while sinking ever deeper into the world’s ugliness and depravity? What better illustration of the mysterious creative process than the mystery-unraveling travails of a detective? And so, in examining my own rut of arrested development, I set out to create a private eye who treats his job as a child would – as an elaborate and dangerous game of make-believe in a world refusing to accommodate his juvenilia.

Of course, writing about loneliness and alcoholism while in their throes proved as difficult and unproductive as solving cases did for my hung-over gumshoe. What followed was disheartening. Lost and clueless, I chased what seemed an endless and desultory trail of false starts and red herrings. Frustrated and in need of fresh eyes, I passed it along to my old and very dear friend Giancarlo Vulcano.

What Giancarlo has done here is nothing short of miraculous. With this proposed soundtrack to My Funny Detective, he has given voice to the very things I was struggling to express. Simply put, he took what I wrote and realized its potential. Not just the sense of loneliness but the ineffably soulful beauty in that state. With his understated guitar playing, soaring trombone improvisations, and sublime compositions, he has put a fresh slant on classic film noir musical themes – the chase, the stakeout, the ominous forecasts – and made them each uniquely his. This is truly deep and evocative stuff. A couple tracks still make me want to cry. Despite the passage of time – and it feels like an eternity – Giancarlo’s score brings me right back to that bleak, despairing place. It captures the sweet sadness of life – a sadness for myself and a sadness for the world – that I feel when I’m most introspective. But more amazingly still, it reminds me how I’m glad for all of it just the same.

Music by Giancarlo Vulcano
Produced by Jonathan Schultz and Giancarlo Vulcano
Edited, Mixed and Mastered by Jonathan Schultz
Recorded Live on December 18, 2008 at JK Sound and Recording, NYC
Recording Engineer: John Kilgore
Executive Producer: Richard Guerin