Music for Video, Film, and Theater

In addition to arrangements for my live performances and my own CD recordings, I also design, license, and record music in close collaboration with theater and film artists. This began very informally with incidental music for a local production of August Wilson’s “Fences” back in the mid 1980s in North Carolina and has expanded since then to include a variety of interesting projects. Here are some highlights:

Trial By Fire, 2008 (Bill Forchion, Writer/Director)

Trial By Fire was one of Dreamcatcher Film’s first productions and my first venture back into soundtrack work in a long time.

• Winner: Best Cinematographer Award (Short) Treasure Coast Int’l. Film Festival 2009.
• Winner: Best Narrative Short, Wildwood By The Seas Film Festival, 2008.
• Official Juried Selection: Arizona Black Film Festival, 2008.

You can see this short narrative film here:

Katrina’s Wake 2006 (Kathilynn Phillips, Writer Director) I licensed my dark and foreboding version of the traditional black spiritual Wade In The Water for this film.

• Winner: Honorable Mention, Best Editing, Rhode Island Int’l. Film Festival 2006
• Winner: Best of Festival, All American Film Festival 2007

  • Winner: Best Short Film Drama, Magnolia Independent Film Festival 2007
  • Winner: Honorable Mention, Best Women’s Short, Cleveland Int’l. Film Festival 2007

A trailer for the film is here:

American Bear: An Adventure in the Kindness of Strangers, 2015 (Sarah Sellman/Greg Grano)

Sarah and Greg set out to critically explore American culture, compassion, and fear by relying on the kindness of strangers for a home each night. Traveling through 30 states in 60 days, they spend every day in a new town, learning why people may or may not be willing to open their homes. Sarah and Greg spend time getting to know their hosts – each uniquely, culturally American – while the film raises questions about how we define American identities.

I licensed them “My Baby Walks On Fire” for the film (for a massive percentage of the profits). Really good people making a good film.

  • Finalist: Fusion Film Festival, Documentary Pitch Competition, 2011.
  • Winner: Film Fund Pitch, American Documentary Film Fest, 2012.
  • Special Preview: American Documentary Film Festival, 2013.
  • Winner: Audience Choice Award, Atlanta Docufest, 2014.
  • Opening Night Feature: Southern Colorado Film Festival, 2014.
  • Official Selection: Cape Ann Film Festival, 2014.

For more information:

National Museum of African-American History & Culture, Fundraising Video 2014

Videographer and friend Patrick Anderson contacted me about providing music for this brief fundraising video, where Lonnie Bunch, founding director of this new Smithsonian Museum, introduces various parts of the black American experience with artifacts including a Pullman Porter Jim Crow era railroad car and a cement guard tower from the infamous Angola Prison in Louisiana! I recorded tracks for the video including a diddley bow duet, and two Piedmont ragtime blues instrumentals. You can view this brief video on at

Natan El Sabio, International Puppet Theater, 2015

In November 2014, Scott joined Ines and Eric Bass in El Salvador for round 2 of their rehearsals of “Natan El Sabio” with Teatro Luis Poma. This collaborative production deconstructs the 18th century play “Nathan the Wise” into a contemporary piece for puppets and actors, performed, in Spanish, by seven actors of Teatro Luis Poma. The project seeks to address what Luis Poma director Roberto Salomon sees as a rise of right-wing Catholicism in El Salvador, which has increasingly bred intolerance. The puppets give the play an iconic form, allowing the texts to be heard beyond the characters. Music for Nathan the Wise is composed, performed, recorded and edited by Scott Ainslie, Brattleboro, VT based blues guitarist and songwriter.

Written by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Production concept Eric Bass
Directed by Eric Bass and Roberto Salomon
Puppets and Set Design by Ines Zeller Bass
Music by Scott Ainslie

Watch ~4 minutes from a rehearsal:





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