Interview: Paul Dinletir

I don’t know anyone who has invested as much time and energy into their own personal growth as Paul Dinletir and the results show. He’s a gifted composer and creative power behind Audiomachine, one of most successful companies producing music for movie trailers. That’s a niche, right? Well, he’s turned this niche into a success story because he’s motivated, disciplined, talented and loves what he does. Everytime I hang out with Paul it’s a life affirming event and listening to his music will make you want to wield an axe.

Do you still practice? If so, what do your practice sessions look like?
A few years ago, I read an interview with John Williams where he gave advice to up and coming composers, he said to work on your craft every day even if you only have five minutes. I took that to heart and I have been composing something everyday since then, I sit and work on the piano for as little as two minutes or a few hours working in and out of my comfort zone, eventually the good ideas make it to the studio where I can then explore them further.

Where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes from odd places, I once saw a Michael Jordan documentary that had a lasting effect on me, with the hardwork and dedication of his craft, I wanted to translate that to my world. I’m inspired from watching a great dancer (like my wife), or the underdog that wins the Ironman, a great piece of music that is not in my style gets my juices flowing in a direction I don’t usually take, and sunsets, walks on the beach blah blah blah.

Where are you when you have the most a-ha moments?
When I’m working on something for a very long time and I do something by mistake, all of sudden a light bulb goes on, and everything starts flowing.

What do you do to maintain a creative flow?
I get away from it, a little hike or a yoga practice even a couple of days away makes me more creative.

How much do you rely on feedback from others to help shape your ideas?
I usually accept critical feedback and always reject the good stuff, I don’t need a pat on the back, I don’t rely on it that much at this time in my career as art is very personal and can mean a lot of different things to different people. I however, will be very critical and try to observe it from a different angle, difficult but can be done.

What is the greatest obstacle to creativity?
Interruptions and time, It’s like a runners high, you need a few miles before you feel it. If I get interrupted then I need sometime to ramp up again to my composer high, if I don’t have enough time that day, I treat it like practice.

When you complete a project, how often does it resemble your initial concept or conceived idea? How important is this for you?
In my field, most of the time I start with a piano and finish with a 90 piece orchestra and a lot of adjustments in the middle, I used to be more attached to my original concepts in the beginning, even if it didn’t translate well. Now I feel that my pieces are more of an organic fluid creations that comes together at the end with all the nuances that get added along the journey, sometime my original concept is completely different from the finished work.

How do you know when you’re done?
I just know LOL, I say it took me 20000 hours before I could make the call.

it’s just one of those things, after you put in the hours and get good at your craft, you get a feeling in your body saying “that’s it”. Before you get to this point, you keep messing with it for hours or days with no added advantage.

How do you resolve creative differences with clients or creative partners?
With clients, I tell them “I am a soldier and I’ll do whatever you need” and usually cry myself to sleep LOL. Kidding aside, in my world there’s a lot of egos making decisions and whoever I end up dealing with, has a bunch of people that they have to answer to and they don’t need more ego from me, so I’ll offer up my point of view and most of the time end up doing two versions (my idea and theirs) so they’ll have options and choices. With creative partners it’s no different, I will present my idea but I will also try not to impose my methods, and try to see it from their point of view.

What keeps you motivated even if you don’t connect personally with the project?
To be able to do it at the highest level, the idea is to push the boundaries of every project, if I don’t connect with the style or concept, I then concentrate on the production value, there’s always a lesson in every project.

What do you do when you are stuck and have some sort of deadline or other pressure?
I plow through it, I step away for a few minutes when I’m stuck, then come back with another approach, also a little research of similar finished works can be very helpful.

How do you achieve your creative vision with a limited budget?
I create for the tools I have. Most of what I do starts with me writing with samples emulating instruments in a music program (Logic), when the sample doesn’t react well (sounds unnatural) with the line I write I change the composition to fit the sample so it will sound good, at the end of the day you want to be proud of what you do and you learn how use the tools you have.

What are the top 3 tools in your creative tool kit? ie. software, pencil, paper, journal etc.}
Software, piano and amazing sound libraries.

What are the top 3 creative habits that have proven to be the most useful for you in your career?
1. Take risks
2. To improve from the previous project
3. Research and inspiration

If you could offer a single piece of advice to a budding professional, what would it be?
Work on your craft, if you love what you do, this should be easy. The most successful people have worked thousands of hours with a lot of ups and downs before they got where they are now. Your craft becomes your passion. I fall asleep and wake up thinking about it.

Check out the epic music at Audiomachine