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Ottman, John (b. 1964)  
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Because of his long involvement in the project, Ottman produced over three hours of innovative and varied music, which eloquently embodied the contradictory aspects of Carey's character. Although his music included some very humorous passages, Ottman generally produced eerie cues that accented the unsettling aspects of the protagonist's personality. The extensive use of a boys' choir served to intensify the haunting qualities of the music.

In the end, only twenty-four minutes of his score were retained in the film, which largely featured popular songs that Stiller and Carey supposed would better fulfill audience expectations. The score was further diminished by the extensive use of loud sound effects that masked virtually all of his music in the film. Justifiably proud of his work for Cable Guy, Ottman made approximately thirty minutes of his original score available on promotional CDs, which have been eagerly sought by film music fans.

Perhaps Ottman's most frustrating professional experience in the later 1990s was his assignment to produce the score for Steven Miner's Halloween H20 (1999). Although he recognized that the film was formulaic, Ottman was determined to produce a character-driven score, which he believed would help make the horrific aspects of the film more convincing.

Ottman was particularly inspired by the opportunity to produce a new version of John Carpenter's theme for the original Halloween (1978). In an interview with Jason Comerfeld, Ottman explained, "This is part of my dream, to turn Carpenter's theme into this epic version with orchestra."

For the main theme, he devised an innovative variation of Carpenter's music, blending together piano, percussion, heavy brass, and choir. Interwoven throughout the film, subtle variations on that theme produced a sense of growing tension. Comerford accurately described the completed score as "richly layered, elegantly textured, almost Gothic music."

However, shortly before Halloween H20 was to be released, executive producers insisted that Ottman's score be radically altered because, at test showings, a version with a track of popular songs received higher scores than the film with Ottman's score did. Therefore, significant portions of the score were eliminated. Furthermore, those cues, which were retained, were significantly altered by being combined with music commissioned from Marco Beltrami.

In contrast to these experiences, Ottman has in many instances benefited from the strong support of individuals who were directly involved in the films that he scored. For instance, star Sigourney Weaver successfully opposed the attempts of the producers of Michael Cohn's Snow White: A Tale of Terror (1997) to replace Ottman's provocative score with a more conventional one, because she realized that his music greatly enhanced the performances.

Despite the significant problems with Halloween H20, Ottman remained on friendly terms with the director, Steve Miner, and he thus undertook the score for Miner's Lake Placid (1999) immediately afterwards.

On this film, Miner was not handicapped by excessive interference of executive producers, and he was able to give Ottman the leeway to devise an innovative and unexpected score. To keep the audience engrossed in the primary suspense theme (concerning a crocodile that posed dangers to the characters), the composer introduced dynamic action music throughout the movie. However, he also developed more quirky themes that evoked possible personal backgrounds for characters, even though they were essentially cardboard figures. In addition, he created some beautifully textured music that evoked the beauties of the natural setting.

Ottman particularly enjoyed working on Roland Joffé's Goodbye Lover (1999), a neo-noir comic thriller with a convoluted plot involving multiple double-crosses. For this hybrid film, Ottman created a lively jazz-influenced score, alternately lighthearted and serious.

For each of the several characters in the ensemble cast, Ottman produced a distinctive theme. Thus, for Detective Pompano, played by Ellen DeGeneres, Ottman devised a dark theme that reflected her cynical, rather mournful personality. In contrast, for the very different character of a philandering wife, played by Patricia Arquette, he created quirky music--at once satiric and erotic--that expressed her combination of innocence and deviousness.

Ottman has remarked that he considers his finest work to be the score that he created for Incognito (1998), concerning an artist who makes his living by forging Rembrandts. Because studio executives decided that this subject was too esoteric for regular commercial distribution, Incognito was released directly to video in the United States (though shown theatrically in a few European countries), and it has been seen by relatively few people. Although disappointed by the restricted distribution of Incognito, Ottman found his work on this project to be thoroughly exhilarating.

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