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Graduate composers return to UCLan to share Hollywood success

02 April 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

Jode and David hit the right notes in business

Two University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) graduates who have worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster movies have told current students that perseverance is the key to their success.

Jode Steele and David Wainwright have hit the high notes since graduating from UCLan in 2003 with their company Verbal Vigilante Music which produces musical scores to accompany film and video.

The UCLan graduates set up the company, based at David’s home in Preston, in 2005 and have gone onto achieve great success by working on film trailers for Hollywood blockbusters such as The Dark Knight Rises, The Hobbit and Oblivion.

Speaking to current music practice students on their return to UCLan Jode commented: “We’ve worked hard over the last nine years to make our business work. It’s taken a long time to get to a point where we could compete professionally in the industry so perseverance and passion have helped us to succeed.”

The duo have been best friends since childhood and grew up in York before heading to Preston to study. While at UCLan they wrote the score for a student theatre production and began to develop their business idea of writing music for pictures.

“It’s been great coming back to UCLan and sharing our story with current students. Our degree programme taught us to be experimental with music and now we use our creativity to really challenge the parameters of the film music industry.”

David said: “We got our big break a few years ago when we produced the film trailer music for a film called Skyline. Also, in 2007 we won Britain’s most exciting young creative talents of the year at Channel 4’s ‘4music’ awards which created opportunities as well.”

The Verbal Vigilante boys have recently composed the soundtrack to Sony Pictures’ and ITV2’s horror game show Release the Hounds which has also attracted interested from US TV channel Fox Network. They are also working with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on live ensembles.

David added: “It’s been great coming back to UCLan and sharing our story with current students. Our degree programme taught us to be experimental with music and now we use our creativity to really challenge the parameters of the film music industry.”

Second year Music Practice student Mark Grundy met the Verbal Vigilante team at UCLan’s Media Factory. He said: “It’s opened my eyes to the business possibilities available in the music industry, particularly as Jode and David are able to work on Hollywood films and be based right here in Preston.”

Fellow student Sean O’Hara added: “Verbal Vigilante’s business knowledge is impressive. They have acted professionally from the very beginning which for me as someone starting out in my career is very inspiring.”