An Itch in Time is the film that never was. Shaping up as an ambitious spiritual sequel to Wingless Films’ first short, The Passage of Time, AIIT was to have followed the travels of Ben, who finds himself thrust through time whenever he happens to sneeze. A slightly silly take on The Time Traveller’s Wife, the film was ultimately shelved to make way for other projects, after it became apparent we couldn’t give it the time and attention it deserved. Maybe one day we’ll resurrect it, but for now, all that remains of the film are a few albums of photos and stills, several edited sequences including the entire intro, and twenty-six tracks of music created for Ben’s travels in time.
The end credits cue I’d created for our previous film, Spirit of the Frontier, had been well received, and I wanted to continue working primarily with piano melodies for An Itch in Time. I’d been taking a look at things like Beethoven’s “Pathetique” and Murray Gold’s themes for Amy Pond from Doctor Who, and I was trying to dissect and feed off them. The result was a piano-led symphonic intro that followed Ben from his first sneezing appearance to his journey back to 1999.
I brought back the “Wingless Sting” I’d put aside for Spirit of the Frontier, to further connect the film to The Passage of Time. I resurrected the main theme from that film — one I was proud of, but never thought I’d done justice in my first soundtrack. Here, I hoped to utilize it better. The theme winds through “The First Itch”, joined by several variations on strings and brass, and the track ends with a little reference to an element of “Can I Come With You?” from Doctor Who Series 5.
02 – The Traveller’s World [01:15]
A theme cue inspired by John Barry’s score to You Only Live Twice — in particular, the harp on “Tanaka’s World“, hence the reference in the title. This was me experimenting with the “Time Traveller” theme, and trying to shape it into something more pleasing than my original efforts in The Passage of Time.
03 – A Menacing Phantom [00:42]
Picking up from “The First Itch” (and using a reversed version of that track’s final sequence), this cue covers Ben’s brief trip to 1999, where he’s shocked to find his old room decorated in memorabillia from Star Wars Episode I. The track ends with a rather blatant reference to “Duel of the Fates“, as Ben comes face-to-face with the terrifying visage of a Jar Jar Binks toy. This was a work-in-progress, and the final track probably wouldn’t have been so overt in its pillaging from John Williams.
04 – Ben Looks for Clare [00:40]
A quick, stealth cue as Ben seeks out the mysterious girl who seems to know him from a time yet to come. He sneaks back into the computer room, and Clare notices him. The track introduces the film’s love theme; firstly as part of the plinky sneaking music, and as a minor melody on strings, meant to be timed with Clare’s arrival.
A full (although brief) rendition of the love theme, “Ben & Clare”, on piano. The opening G-C progression is a favourite of John Williams, and I’d started to learn “Han Solo and the Princess” (his love/adventure theme from The Empire Strikes Back) around the time I came up with this one. I like this melody, and I hope to use it properly in the future.
As I mentioned above, I initially turned to “Pathetique” for inspiration, but decided to go one step further and include a version in the score itself — it’s in the public domain, after all. I based my excerpt on a MIDI version, though modified it to include a brief reference to the “Time Traveller’s Theme” halfway through. I’d intended this, or something like it, to cover one of the film’s “time travelling” montages — either Ben’s first forays into his ability, or during his growing relationship with Clare.
A full, album version of the theme. It’s a little too shrill and discordant in places, though was again an experiment in varying the theme.
08 – Traveller’s Woes [00:57]
Something of a b-theme for the film. I might have composed this as the main theme before I decided on re-using the Passage of Time tune. It would have turned up in the film (if there was room) as a theme to emphasize Ben’s sadness at being unable to bring Clare along on his travels, and wishing for a true kindred spirit.
09 – Nice to Meet Myself (Suite) [02:01]
A medley of three short cue demos created for the film’s finale, in which Ben finally meets another version of himself from an uncertain point in his timeline. Neither Ben can work out whether they’re a past or future version, and discuss the nature of paradoxes and the effects of sharing the same point in time. This track features a little version of the main theme, though is probably more dour and doomy than what would have been a fairly light-hearted meeting of the Bens.
10 – Love in Time [01:00]
A strings-and-choral version of the love theme, which descends into the main theme at the end. I was thrilled when I found out I could transition from one to the other.
11 – Time for Love [00:28]
A possibility for the “relationship montage” between Ben and Clare. More upbeat than my other attempts, and it would likely have transitioned into a similarly jolly love theme.
A brief and meandering look into an alternate theme I considered before opting for the Passage of Time tune. Wanders off towards the end, though those initial notes were flexible enough that I might use them again.
13 – Lament for Ben & Clare [00:35]
An alternate love theme, as much as I can recall. As with “Love in Time”, it descends into the main theme; I really liked that trick.
A lengthy improvisation of the main theme, intended to be an adagio. As with other versions of the main theme, it gets discordant, mostly because the melody is made up of alternating flats and sharps.
15 – First Love Theme (Demo) [00:18]
My initial version of a love theme, which was quickly superceded by “Ben & Clare”. Those rising/falling notes at the end were definitely inspired by “Emma“, the love theme from Klaus Badelt’s The Time Machine — which happens to be a great example of the Goldsmith Principle of great score, dodgy film.
16 – Ben & Clare (Demo) [00:38]
One of several attempts and variations of the love theme. This one’s slower, and alternates between piano and strings. I was working out how I could adapt the little trill at the start of the theme for slower settings.
17 – Love in Time (Demo) [00:41]
An earlier version of the “Love in Time” love theme variant. Again, it falls into the main theme towards the end.
An isolated version of the “Duel of the Fates” Jar Jar cue. This one lacks the doomy piano from “A Menacing Phantom”.
19 – Time for Action [00:27]
An attempt to use the main theme in an action setting. It probably wouldn’t have had a place in the film, though it would have been good for a sequel.
20 – Traveller’s Woes (Piano) [00:58]
A melancholy piano version of the “Traveller’s Woes” b-theme.
21 – Piano Time [01:00]
Again, another experiment with the main theme. As short as it is, I think this one comes together better than “Time Travels” and “Adagio”.
22 – Strings Demo [01:13]
This was an improvisation with the theme on strings, getting echoes and phrases up and down the scales. No idea what part of the film it was intended for.
23 – Up & Down [00:20]
Another variation of the theme, and one of my efforts involving synth. This one’s a more obscure variation, and was made during my attempts to create a Danny Elfman-like version of the theme. Of course, this doesn’t sound anything like Elfman, but the alternate playing of the theme was leaning that way, if played on other instruments.
24 – Synth Theme [00:20]
Another go at synth, and another variation on the “Time Traveller’s Theme”.
25 – Synth Theme (Plink) [00:22]
A synth theme with a plinky backing.
A short prelude to the “Adagio” track, and the underscore probably inspired the previous, plinky Synth Theme.
Overall, this comprises an odd collection of tracks, demos and experiments, with only three or four real score cues being close to finished (I’d say only the first track was really a final version). I put a fair bit of work into it, and I’m sorry this smattering of themes and melodies doesn’t get a full airing, especially since I’d hoped this project would resurrect the poor “Time Traveller’s Theme”. Hopefully I’ll get to use at least “Ben & Clare” for another production, though it’s all been a valuable learning experience. The piano work from “The First Itch” and “Back and Forth” led to my music for Sanctuary and All Angels, and I’m sure I’ll use the Goldish motif from the end of “The First Itch” again soon.