ABBOTT TOUT is basking in the limelight of the 57th Annual Cannes Film Festival. Leading the firm into the glamour of the event is consultant Matthew Fitzgerald, whose band Decoder Ring composed the soundtrack to one of the entries.
The Australian film Somersault, a feature debut by multi-award winning short film director Cate Shortland, has been invited to screen in the Official Selection at Cannes this year. Recognising that working in a law firm and composing the score for an entire film was demanding work, Fitzgerald told Lawyers Weekly that having multiple perspectives from both film and firm sharpens your skills in both.
Sydney band Decoder Ring has been described as “genre defying, offering a mix of electronica, rock, arthouse, ambience, dancefloor and cinematic orchestration”.
Fitzgerald plays guitar and keyboard in the band, and is expected to be “hobnobbing with the stars” at Cannes, using the opportunity to spread Abbott Tout’s good name to the “who’s who of the film industry”, the firm claimed.
Pressed as to how he achieved the apparent work-life balance that appears to be eluding many lawyers, Fitzgerald said “as wonderful as composing work is, it is also work”. The question is how to find life between working in a law firm and working on a film. The answer is timing, he said.
The band was commissioned to commence work towards the end of last year. “As some work I had been doing at Abbott Tout closed, the firm very kindly gave me some time off to do the score,” Fitzgerald said. “Subsequent to time off at Christmas, I have been working nights and weekends.”
Abbott Tout gave Fitzgerald between three and four weeks off over the Christmas period. “The key was working every day, bar Christmas day, and over Easter and the Anzac weekend,” he said.
“I was at Fox Studios last night working with the sound designer, adding the final touches to the soundtrack.”
The band’s manager had been contacted in August last year, Fitzgerald said, but it was not until December that they actually “got into the nitty-gritty of composing”.
“We had to wait for the film, then we worked closely with Cate Shortland and producer Anthony Anderson, director of photography Robert Humphreys and production designer Melinda Doring,” he said.
Working at Abbott Tout, particularly in the entertainment practice, has nurtured Fitzgerald’s interests and enhanced his skills in the entertainment industry, he said.
“I have been lucky enough to work on Luhrmann’s La Bohème, for example. I enjoy that I work here as well as in the employment section, which is more contentious work. I find this a good balance,” he said.
“Ultimately, I find having multiple perspectives sharpens your skills in each area and it’s a balance I hope to keep in the future,” Fitzgerald said.
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