There is no substitute for experience. Thousands of hours of post production work editing and scoring films, decades of martial arts training and stunt work, combined with enough directing experience to pull off 107 24p camera setups in only 3 days give you the formula for Innovation. The innovation necessary to make things happen in front of the camera that consistently thrills audiences.
Mark has always had a passion for storytelling. The son of two professional musicians, Mark creates amazing images and stories with music, as he has done since boyhood. Mark has performed with some of the worlds greatest musicians, including Herby Hancock, Steve Amerson, and J.A.C. Redford. This is partly why for more than a decade he has been in demand to score films.
In filmmaking, learning the ins and outs of directing with less than-million dollar budgets honed Marks creative and innovative skills to bring in the show on time and under budget, always music to the ears!
From his earliest memories, Mark Edward Lewis has had a passion for things that touch people at a deep and emotional level. While still a toddler, Mark connected with the emotional power of music and its ability to move people. As he matured, he realized that musics allure for him was in its ability to convey colors, moods, feelings, and, ultimately, to tell stories.
As a child of consummate musicians, he was fortunate to grow up in an environment that encouraged, nurtured, and developed his creative abilities. However, Marks vision and passion for telling stories quickly grew beyond what music alone could convey. This passion grew steadily as he established himself in both the music and film industries during the first 15 years of his adult life.
With the filming of Reverb (Marks first feature film), he has now successfully completed the transition from telling the story with music, to telling the story with lights, camera, action!
Mark grew up in Fullerton, California with the sound of strings all around him.
"My mother plays the harp, piano, organ and is a fantastic arranger," said Lewis. "My father plays the violin, viola, cello, bass, piano and is a fantastic conductor." Lewis' father was also the conductor of the Fullerton Symphony and taught at Fullerton Community College for more than 20 years.
From age four Lewis was "plunking out little melodies on the family Steinway." He began formal piano training at five, and took on the cello at nine. Most artists cannot define the crucial moments that forever secured their love for music, but Lewis can pinpoint three.
"Three critical circumstances that thrust the imagination of a boy into musical endeavors were one, regularly conducting with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops orchestra on television. Apparently I did this from the age of two. Secondly, hearing the score to Star Wars composed by John Williams, and last, taking a commercial and improvisation piano class at Fullerton College.
"Although I can't recall what specific importance Arthur Fiedler's influence had on me through the television (other than too many X-rays), I know that it gave me immediate emotional links to music and the language of audio. At the age of six when I saw Star Wars and was subsequently given the soundtrack, I entered upon a quest to know what secrets Mr. Williams knew that could place such passion into a piece of lyric-less time. Finally, at the age of 15 when I took my first commercial piano course, I had already written several songs. With the infusion of commercial harmony and theory, I had enough tools to make serious strides in my quest.
This commercial training allowed Mark to expand beyond being just a virtuoso of classical piano. He now had the tools to master commercial techniques as well. With training and experience similar to his idol John Williams, he was now able to see "the magician's tricks." With this insight, Mark was now able to infuse John Williams voice (and those of many other composers) with his own innovative style and sensibilities. To this day, Mark is flown around the world to conduct and perform with some of the worlds greatest classical musicians and performers.
Beginning at age 10, Mark was home schooled until he entered Fullerton Community College full time at the age of 15. By the time he was 18 he had graduated with Highest Honors with AA degrees in Music, Commercial Music, and a certificate in Recording Arts. Along the way he won the school's Dan Radlaeur Composition Competition one year and received third place the next. (Something he still gets ribbed about!)
After receiving his certificate in Film Scoring from UCLA, he enrolled at Azusa Pacific University and graduationed Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. He was further distinguished by receiving the "Musician of the Year" as awarded by the Music School.
Following his formal education, Mark rounded out his educational background by studying for five years under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed composer and film scorer, J.A.C. Redford.
Music and Scoring
While pursuing his degree in music at Fullerton Community College, he scored his first film at the age of 17 and was asked to produce a Contemporary Christian album for the Korean market at the ripe old age of 18! Since then, he has come to be a celebrity in the Korean Christian community with three number one CDs and a fourth climbing the charts.
Mark attributes much of his success in creating powerful scores to 5 years of tutelage under the internationally acclaimed composer and film scorer, J.A.C. Redford and his participation in the UCLA Film Scoring Program, This program changed my life as a composer and expanded my mind in a way that allowed me the techniques to be able to absorb what J.A.C. [Redford] had to teach me.
Growing up in a contemporary age with solid grounding in classical composition has allowed Mark to bring a unique and innovative style to film scoring. This innovation has helped many a director and producer to save a less than great film with a passionate, moving score. Scoring film has allowed Mark to become well versed in timing, drama, pacing, acting, and emotional flow of scenes." Fifteen years of working the back end of films has given him the ability to know exactly how to obtain the footage necessary on the front end to bring his vision powerfully to life on the big screen. It has also taught him how to avoid myriad pitfalls and problems that end up costing productions big money in re-shoots and budget overruns. No director in Hollywood today can match the level, depth, and range of experience Mark brings when he leads a project. Because of this, no other director can generate the kind of results (translation: ROI) for a production company.
Marks passion for action comes from years of training in martial arts. A second degree black belt instructor in Tae Kwon Do, he also has mastery over more kinds of blades than you can find in a Swiss Army Knife. Once, at a recording session at his studio, Lewis was asked why he hadn't utilized his martial arts skills as a stuntman. Seeing an opportunity to combine two of the things he loves most, Mark ran with the idea and began gaining on-set experience that complemented his extensive post-production knowledge. Working as a professional stuntman has provided knowledge and experience that has proved invaluable in Marks ability to construct and direct action film sequences that captivate audiences without busting the budget. His years of experience in front of the camera and in post-production now pay huge dividends any time he leads and directs a film project. The innovation that becomes possible with this kind of experience allows him to know almost instinctively the quickest and least costly way to capture his vision in a way that generates results at the box office every time!
"My interest in martial arts stems originally from that place that all boys have: a bent towards violence," said Lewis. After six years of study, he earned his black belt. Another three years later, he was granted the second degree and instructor's qualifications. His expertise in the Korean martial art also gave him language skills that allowed him to forge strong relationships within the Korean business and entertainment communities.
The discipline Mark learned while mastering martial arts pays off in a major way every time he sinks his teeth into a project. He executes every shooting schedule with all the precision of a Marine Corp General. Painstaking planning and attention to detail show up on the bottom line as extraordinary visual results with minimal investment capital. How else could he have secured himself a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for shooting the most number of music videos shot in a single day while only using up half the allocated budget?
I live on Los Angeles, and I work on film and TV here. There is no moment more special that being at the end of a take with an orchestra and knowing that they nailed it.
Logic, Mac, and GIgastudio!