How Writing Music Will Make You a Better Writer

How to Hijack Mind-Blowing Inspiration: Music for Writers

Music is arguably the purest art form. It’s a breathing of the soul, a perfect embodiment of emotion, a story without words. For the most part, we lowly writers can barely hope to tell as complete a story in 300 pages as can be found in almost any collection of musical notes.

If you’re a composer or a musician, God bless you. You’re sharing a little bit of magic in everything you do. If, on the other hand, you’re like me and your only musical accomplishment is playing the radio, your best hope of sharing some of music’s clarity and emotional depth is to tap into it as a springboard for your writing.

How Music for Writers Inspires Me

The arts feed off each other, but perhaps never more so than in the case of music. I’d venture to say we’ve all been driving down the road, listening to the radio, humming along, only to find our next story idea buried within the lyrics.

A Man Called Outlaw was inspired by the western ballad “Outlaw Canyon”; battle scenes in my medieval novel Behold the Dawn came to life through Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mummer’s Dance”; and my work-in-progress found the twist in its ending through a Jeremy Camp song.

I put my iPod on shuffle while I workout in the mornings and just wait for the next spurt of inspiration to hit me. It’s a glorious thing.

How to Purposefully Use Music for Writers

If something so incidental as a random music lyric can fire up the muse, why not approach it a little more purposefully? Why not tap into the power of music when you need the inspiration most: while you’re writing. In his recent post “Five Bands You Should Be Writing To,” Christopher Jackson says:

Music can be a powerful tool. It can continually inspire you as you write…. By creating a mood it can fuel your writing and drive it to places you might not otherwise go. Also, I find that listening to music as I write can help me block out distractions—both physical ones demanding my attention, like people and noises, but also distractions in my head, random thoughts and “Things You Need To Do” fighting for your attention and telling you to stop wasting time writing stories. By listening to music, especially through headphones, you may find it easier to settle into the writing zone, to shut out those other distractions by filling your ears with sound and clearing your mind, especially with ambient or instrumental music.

In his post “Infusing Your Fiction With Heart and Soul: An Exercise”, “storyfixer” Larry Brooks advocates using:

…music to tap into a level of perception, appreciation and creative energy that seems otherwise inaccessible. One way to write scenes with greater depth and emotional resonance is to select music—I suggest movie themes—that matches the contextual mission of the scene itself.

Music for Writers: Movie Soundtracks

Movie soundtracks are my own music of choice while writing. The inherent drama—the ebb and flow of action and poignancy—lends itself well to the needs of fiction. I avoid lyrics for the most part, both because they distract me and because I dislike “dulling” favorite songs by training my brain to force them into the background.

Albums with plenty of loud, intense action themes are handy, not just for battle scenes, but for ramping up my own adrenaline and keeping my fingers flying over the keyboard. My word-per-minute rate never fails to skyrocket whenever “The Battle,” the third track on the Gladiator soundtrack starts rumbling my subwoofer.

I only rarely select music to fit whatever scene I happen to be writing. I prefer to let the music surprise me, to affect my words in ways I may not have otherwise found. Writing battle scenes to the plaintive “Love Theme” from Attack of the Clones or love scenes to the aggressive drum beat of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’s “Smoke N’ Oakum” always brings out elements I wouldn’t otherwise have found.

If you haven’t already done so, make music a part of your writing routine—and reap the benefits of immersion in the magical realm of stories without words. Below are some of my favorite soundtracks. I’d love to hear about your own favorite writing music!

My Favorite Music for Writers

(affiliate links)

Gladiator by Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard, & Klaus Badalt

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves by Michael Kamen

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Howard Shore

The Patriot by John Willliams

American Outlaws by Trevor Rabin

Star Wars series by John Williams

Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy by Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer

The Last of the Mohicans by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman

Black Hawk Down by Hans Zimmer

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World by Iva Davies, Christopher Gordon, Richard Tognetti

Treasure Planet by James Newton Howard

How Writing Music Will Make You a Better Writer

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K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. My favorites:
    Schindler’s List by Williams and Perlman, but only tracks 1, 7 and 14. the rest of the tracks are not so great—at least not for writing.

    Legends of the Fall by James Horner

    E.T. by Williams

    Life as a House by Mark Isham

    Star Wars Trilogy by Williams

    Jurassic Park by Williams

    Titanic by James Horner

    Not a soundtrack, but I like Pachelbel In Harmony with the Sea

    On my wish list:
    Saving Private Ryan by Williams
    Regarding Henry by Hans Zimmer
    A Far off Place by James Horner.

  2. Except for the Star Wars and Jurassic Park soundtracks, I haven’t heard any of these. I’ll have to give some of them a try!

  3. Alrighty then. I have to admit. I normally write in the sound of silence, with maybe the whir of the electric heater on my feet. But you’ve convinced me. I’m going to give the sound of music a whirl.

  4. I will tell you that if you’re not used to writing with background noise, it can take a little getting used to. But it’s magnificently worth it in my opinion!

  5. I’m obviously the odd one. If I listen to music while trying to write, I find it draws all my attention instead of motivating writing creativity. Instead, silence…and solitude…spur my creativity. Don’t get me wrong, music is an important part of my life and I listen to it, get moved by it, as often as I can. But when I want to create…it’s best done when the only music is that which is created from within the soul.

    Paolo Mateo

  6. One of my all time favorites was on your list…. Last of the Mohicians. Powerful! :O)

  7. Writing to music was something I had to accustom myself to. I found it distracting at first. And there are certain pieces of music I will never listen to while writing – simply because I don’t want to detract from the experience of listening. But, for the most part, the amalgamation of the arts is a very joyous experience for me.

  8. @destrella: It’s an incredible soundtrack, isn’t it? That whole movie was a piece of art.

  9. Most of the time, I write to Sigur Rós. Lyrics are in Icelandic or a made-up non-language (Hopelandic), so I’m not distracted by English lyrics. I also listen to a bit of German music and quite often I’ll listen to Tool.

  10. I’m a huge fan of music written in other languages. Something about not understanding the words really makes my imagination kick into high gear!

    • Kitti606 says

      “I’m a huge fan of music written in other languages. Something about not understanding the words really makes my imagination kick into high gear!”

      I know that feeling. Unfortunately for me, that effect is sometimes temporary. When I hear foreign music, I tend to look up lyrics and translation; afterwards it’s not much less distracting than listening to it in English.

      What works best for me is to start with music with lyrics, listen to a few tracks, perhaps set them to loop, and those inspire me in the beginning stages as I sit down and prepare to write. Then I change over to a set without lyrics, so I can still draw in the inspirational energy without losing focus on what I had just been inspired to. After I get into the swing of my writing, it’s not uncommon for me to turn off the music for a while, turn it on, turn it off, etc. on a whim.

      Also, exercise is a terrific way to make things flow, so I often plug in my earbuds, crank it up, turn out the lights, close my eyes, and pace around a room. (I’ve memorized the layout enough to walk it blind.) I often find myself pacing in time to the music, my motions move fluidly with the music, and that is the point which my imagination and inspiration grow the strongest and clearest, and from that point I have the most precise ideas for what I’m writing. (Sadly, anyone who observes this habit of mine is prone to questioning my sanity… or worse, distracting me.)

      Come to think of it… my mom once told me my writing is sometimes fluid and almost metered, that there were patterns she could often detect throughout. I wonder if it’s a side-effect of my dependence on music for inspiration?

      • Kitti606 says

        Oh yes, and music is an absolute MUST whenever I need to get into the character of any of my villains. They are inseparable.

        Oh how I love my villains. 0___0

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Being able to love the antagonists as well as the protagonists is a sign of a good writer. Just don’t let them take over the story!

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        I have to resist looking up the lyrics translation. I almost always regret it.

  11. I guess I’m going to be the oddity–I don’t listen to music, and I’m not inspired by anything that I do hear. More often, I associate music with being annoyance.

    That’s because I grew up in a house where two people got caught in a music war, playing theirs as loud as possible. Then I joined the army and the soldiers were even worse. I remember getting headaches from the pounding of rap music three stories up.

    I also don’t have any sense of rhythm (the army tried to kick me out twice for it because I absolutely could not march in step). I can’t relate to the beat of the songs, nor can I actually sing a tune. It’s so bad that when I am asked to pick music for something, I have to tell people, “You need to tell me if this is appropriate or not, because I can’t tell.” I was absolutely horrified when I was asked to pick appropriate music for a memorial service at work, and I didn’t want to screw it up. Fortunately, a coworker had some CDs, and someone else was able to listen to them to see if they worked.

  12. Oh, I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine life without music…

  13. “I’m a huge fan of music written in other languages. Something about not understanding the words really makes my imagination kick into high gear!”

    This seems to distract me even more. That’s why I don’t like some of the tracks on the Schindler’s list soundtrack. But maybe I just haven’t listened to the *right* music in another language.

  14. I think we all have things that inspire us, and I wish music was one of them. I’ve tried listening while I write, but I find I get too distracted by it–I have to tune everything out to get into the writing zone.

    I do find if I get stuck writing I can get going again by releasing my creativity in other ways–quiet ways–like drawing, reading, or going for a walk.

  15. @Lorna: Josh Groban’s “Alla Luce del Sole” is one of
    my favorite non-English songs.

    @Kat: Can’t remember her name, but I remember reading about an author who drew to inspire herself. Probably wouldn’t work for me, since stick figures are about all I can master!

    • Kitti606 says

      “Can’t remember her name, but I remember reading about an author who drew to inspire herself. Probably wouldn’t work for me, since stick figures are about all I can master!”

      I read an article in Writer’s Digest where an author suggested drawing mandalas for inspiration. (In middle school art class, it was introduced to us as kaleidoscope art.) Just start with any kind of picture or symbol in the center, and slowly radiate outwards from there, making sure to repeat patterns like a kaleidoscope. Don’t focus too hard on drawing things correctly, don’t plan ahead, just draw whatever comes to you. I’ve used this method before, and surprisingly it works. Not only that, but I used some of them as a basis for the culture of one of my characters.

      • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

        I think I may have originally seen that idea in Writer’s Digest. Maybe it was the same article!

  16. I like Josh Groban. I’ll have to look for it.

  17. It’s on his self-titled album.

  18. I’m pretty sure you and I’ve discussed this before, Katie, but I listen to anything and everything when I write. Sometimes, I can’t write unless it’s quiet, though this is an extreme rarity. Most of my writing goes on with chatter in the background (read: talk radio). But if I write to music, I could listen to almost anything. It doesn’t have to have words, though lyrics in music while I’m writing doesn’t bother me.

    As a pianist, I think I’ve been able to allow music to be in the background as needed, but be able to pull it to the foreground when desired to no ill effect from what I’ve been able to tell. If the theme from ‘Star Wars’ is on while I’m writing, it’s no different if AC/DC is blaring to me. (And, sadly, yes, my husband got me into classic rock. I’m forever corrupted–though I do enjoy writing to it!) I haven’t tried writing to opera in a while, though… I should. Love a good opera. ;-p

    But if I’m writing to it, I typically like it up LOUD. Drives my hubby nuts, especially if I’ve got earphones in and he can hear it!

  19. I’m a not a talk radio fan anyway, so that would drive me nuts! I admire your ability to shut it out (or maybe you’re able to concentrate on both the radio and the writing at the same time?).

    I have to have my music pitched at just the right volume, not too soft, not loud (though more loud than not), or I simply can’t concentrate.

  20. I love the Gladiator soundtrack! When I need to amp the action in a scene I listen to the Twilight soundtrack- it’s great while running too.

  21. Nice thoughts. I’m tweeting. 🙂

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  22. @Stephanie: Yes, a lot of the albums I mentioned are great for working out to. Pirates of the Caribbean is a favorite.

    @Elizabeth: Thanks!

  23. I’m a huge fan of listening to music while writing. It definitely inspires me! I even have my own playlist on iTunes just for writing days 🙂

    I’ve tried listening to both music with lyrics and louder, more upbeat songs. But usually it distracts me too much, so I mostly listen to movie soundtracks (some of the ones you mentioned, actually) or classical.

  24. One of these days, I think someone’s going to have this brilliant idea to put together an “inspiring” CD just for writers. Cobble together all the best writing playlists, buy the music rights, and voila! I’d buy one. 😉

  25. For the most part, I agree with Paolo–music can distract me so much I forget what I’m doing, ignore who I’m listening to, allow myself to get lost in it.

    But I’ve learned to match music to scene. I can put together some pretty sassy stuff to a Reggae beat!

  26. I’m getting a kick just thinking about this sassy Reggae scene of yours! :p

  27. I have this image of Linda dancing to her sassy Reggae scene. :p

    At my favorite used bookstore during my lunch break. Yes. AGAIN. Found the following CD’s:

    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
    Can’t wait to get home and try them out. 😀

  28. Fellowship of the Rings is way up at the top of my list. Beautiful, haunting, epic. I hope you enjoy it!

  29. @Katie “One of these days, I think someone’s going to have this brilliant idea to put together an “inspiring” CD just for writers. Cobble together all the best writing playlists, buy the music rights, and voila! I’d buy one. ;)”

    Sounds like “somebody” already has.

  30. I agree with Paolo–music can distract me so much I forget what I’m doing, ignore who I’m listening to

    Work from home India in

  31. @Sandra: Well, sharing notes on music (pun unintended!) is the next best thing. 😉

    @Nishant: I’m really surprised by how many people *don’t* write to music. You learn something new every week!

  32. I agree, Sandra. Sounds like *somebody* already has the idea. She just needs to do something about it.

    At the bookstore, I also found Star Wars Episodes II and III. I have the Trilogy at home (some of the songs compiled onto one CD), but I’m hoping there are some songs on these two separate CDs that didn’t make it onto the single CD.

    Katie, I think you once suggested [i]Love Theme from Attack of the Clones[/i]

  33. Having the idea is one thing. Buying the music rights is something else!

    Attack of the Clones‘s “Love Theme” is one of the most beautiful pieces of music John Williams has ever written, IMHO.

  34. Fabulous post! I always write with music and can’t imagine writing without it. I’m sure I could write without it, but I certainly don’t want to.

    Lets see- my favorites are: Well I listen to genius on itunes so there are a lot of different songs I have. I won’t go into that and just name the bands that come up the most…

    Sarah McLachlan
    Pink Floyd (like Christopher Jackson)
    Silversun Pickups

    Bonus- John Mayer

    I’m sure there are some soundtracks too. Reality Bites is a great one :o)

  35. Sarah MacLachlan and Evanescence are favorites of mine too, though I don’t listen to them *while* writing, because of the distraction factor of lyrics. If I remember right, Paramore has popped up on my Pandora stations several times and I liked them too. Never heard of Silversun Pickups, so I’ll have to look them up!

  36. I almost MUST listen to music while writing. I get ideas from the words and sounds. Memories pop up from the sounds and lyrics. I can write from those memories, or from the music itself.

  37. Just listened to Fellowship of the Rings and it’s pretty awesome. Didn’t realize Enya was on there. She’s incredible. I’ve had on of her CDs on my wish list for awhile now.

    Anyone interested in a free Hook soundtrack by Williams? New when I bought it and only played once. Not crazy about it.

  38. @Shelby: Music is such an instinctive, primal thing. It’s rooted deep within our subconscious beings, and in my experience, it’s a huge help in tapping the muse.

    @Lorna: A Williams soundtrack that isn’t good? That’s a first. No, wait, I take that back; I wasn’t crazy about War of the Worlds.

  39. Wonderful post! I’ve often felt music is my muse. It’s always been inspiring and magical to me. I actually started writing my WIP to the sound of Norah Jones. 🙂

  40. I love it when I find a particular song that becomes the “theme song” for a WIP. Crystallizes the vision of the project for me!

  41. Recently I wrote an action scene to Fatboy Slim – which made it quirky and zippy right from the first draft! Normally I have to revise action scenes like mad but Fatboy did the trick.

  42. Okay. So here’s the deal. I just checked my shelves. I have tons of CDs. Most of them are worship with lyrics. I have some classical. Some harp, some piano, some flute, some Celtic, etc. NO soundtracks.

    I DO have Sound of Music and some others on an old 33’s. But wait. They all have lyrics, I think. No matter. No record player.

    I threw our stereo system out cuz it died. I have a Zune but I don’t like it, so I want an Ipod.

    So I’ve been listening to some of this music via you tube. Bad thing to do. As in now hooked on soundtracks.

    I need lotsa money!

    Oh, Santa!

  43. @dirtywhitecandy: It’s amazing what the right piece of music can do. And the wrong piece of music can flatten a scene. Try writing an epic battle to Wallace & Gromit

    @Sandra: Sorry, didn’t mean for my post to cause Santa more work! In the interlude between now and the new iPod, you might get your music fix through the free “customizable” online radio Pandora(type soundtracks – or the name of a soundtrack composer into the search box) or Playlist, where you can make a playlist of songs others have shared with the library.

  44. Oh Katie! I had thought about adding another playlist, but I’m now listening to Epic Soundtracks on Pandora–cool! You are my heroine.

    But I still want the iPod! 😀

  45. Yay! Glad you’ve got something to tide you over until Christmas. Epic Soundtracks is one of my favorite stations.

  46. Very cool idea. I listen to music while I work out and that revs me up to write. I’ve tried to listen to it while I write, but I get too distracted by the lyrics. I never thought of listening to a movie soundtrack, though. I think I might try that!

    Thanks for the references!

  47. I honestly think I’d be mentally incapable of tackling a daily workout regime without music. Talk about torture!

    Hope you find some soundtracks you like.

  48. Music seems to be one of those things we can’t live without. I honestly think ALL of our creative areas are improved with musical stimulation. Awesome post! 😉

  49. I agree. Studies have proven that our brains are affected by music. If it’s that powerful, why *not* tap into it!

  50. Ha, and I thought I was the only one who felt all this. 🙂 Beautiful post! And I like your choice of music. 😉

  51. The writing life can be so crazy sometimes that we can feel we’re the only ones who do things a certain way. It’s comforting to know we’re all more or less in the same boat!

  52. I have these 7 CD’s on my laptop and iPod of just piano solos, and that’s what I will listen to when I write. Not too loud, but loud enough for it to be in the background. The artists are Michael Jones (albums Seascapes and Daybreak), David Lanz (albums Heartsounds and Nightfall), and George Winston (albums Autumn, Forest, and Summer). I love listening to these. I have also been known to occasionally listen to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but that isn’t as good for me because I will get distracted with changing the song and what not. But I agree, music DEFINITELY helps me when I write.

  53. If I have an album with songs I don’t like or that don’t work for writing, I end up having to delete the distracting songs from my playlist. Otherwise I have to interrupt my writing to skip them too.

  54. Well, Katie, ya hit the nerve center.

    Since I’m a songwriter, I have a really really hard time NOT writing songs while I’m writing my novel.

    On this year’s novel for NaNoWriMo I wrote six songs (court-jester material, mainly) that were full-length, and an additional 5 that were cute little ditty-blurbs.

    In the plot, a myna bird who was trained as an assistant to the ranger/jester kept getting triggered to sing some song at the top of his lungs by random conversation around him.

    The kicker is that he also recorded some important conversations…

    If you want to hear some of the songs drop me a note, you can contact me and I’ll send you a link.

  55. Sounds like fun! My attempts to insert poetry/songs into my fiction is always laughable (unintentionally so), so I have a lot of admiration for those who can make it work!

  56. So true. Music is definitely a source of inspiration for writing. I often write with backround music in my head for the characters. Its like a theme for their particular emotional state.

    Pathos pure: Romeo&Juliet by Hector Berlioz.
    Beethoven’s 7th.
    Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe.
    Brahams 2nd is frothy and melancholy.
    Bruckner’s 4th – melancholic pathos.

    Music is what makes me believe there must be a god.

  57. I haven’t heard of any of these (except for Beethoven’s), so I’ll keep my eyes open for them!

  58. Schuberts Unfinished Symphony is great
    Stravinsky’s The Firebird
    Prokoviev’s Cinderella and Romeo&Juliet great for writing romance
    Tchaikovsky of course…..
    Mendelson’s Midsummer Nights Dream is wonderful….ok, I’ll shut up now.

    ; )

    PS I used to be a ballet dancer and play the piano, thats why I know alot of classical music.

  59. Oh, I love Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky!

  60. I agree totally when you say music is an inspiration. I would not want to live in a world where there was no music!!!

  61. If I had to choose sense to lose, hearing would be the last to go. Life without music would be difficult, to say the least!

  62. Hey Katie, brilliant article! Just seen this and wanted to thank you for quoting me and linking to my FYW article. Thanks for reading, and glad you liked what I had to say and felt it worth quoting 🙂

    Have been enjoying writing to the District 9 soundtrack recently.

    Thanks again Katie!

  63. My pleasure, Christopher! Thanks for stopping by. Haven’t heard the District 9 soundtrack yet, but I’ll see if I can check it out!

  64. Thanks for the post, nice blog i will share and revisit.

  65. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for commenting.

  66. I get to cheat on this one. Having DJ’d for 15 years I have, literally, millions of songs. I have the unique ability to make an individual playlist for novel/chapter/scene/and character. Each has its own set of music. Using my DJ program I can set my mixer to mix an appropriate length of music for the time I am writing. 2 Minutes inside of Virtual DJ before I begin and I am set 🙂

  67. Virtual DJ sounds like an interesting program. I’m wondering if it’s something the average non-DJ would be able to figure out and use.

  68. I’m a huge music junkie, so its not surprising that it’s one of my biggest sources of inspiration. Once, an entire album inspired me to think at things a different way and what resulted was an album fic… or so it started that way. The meaning got a little lost when the plot went array. Long story there.
    But sometimes keeping music close by can help jostle a scene or reinvigorate something that’s laid dormant for years.
    I tend to be a very visual person and that carries over from listening to music to my writing… it makes for the ultimate adrenaline rush when something beautiful comes out of it all.
    I’d only just started to recognize movie score composers. John Williams is one of the all-time greats, but between Sherlock Holmes and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Hans Zimmer is a personal favorite of mine. In fact, it would seem that he’s almost everywhere.

  69. You’ve just named two of my favorite composers! Zimmer and Williams have put out some truly brilliant stuff over the years. I have many of their albums on my writing playlist.

  70. Enjoyed this post. I ordinarily don’t write to music. My thought is it would be too distracting. Going to give it a try. Thanks for the list of your favorite music. A good starting point.

  71. It’s true some writers do better to complete silence. But music is definitely worth a try, in my opinion. Give it a little time, since if you’re used to writing in silence, you may find it distracting at first.

  72. My absolute favorite writing music comes from Ellie Goulding’s first album, “Lights”. Now, I know what you’re thinking- I am not going to write while listening to mainstream pop. HOWEVER, the overall theme of the album, the lyrics, the essence of the feelings that this magical album produces is enough to explore just a few songs. I think the whole thing is about 50 minutes. I strongly recommend that anyone looking for more music listen to this album- it is incredible.

  73. I’ll check it out! I prefer not to write to lyrics, but I use them for general inspiration all the time.

  74. Great article! I agree that listening to music can help you get into the writing ‘zone’ much faster , and help the creative juices flow. Writing music, particularly writing lyrics to music, is a very rewarding experience.

  75. R. R. Willica says

    I’m very fond of a Two Steps from Hell for my writing. Don’t let the name fool you, they have amazing cinematic quality music on YouTube. Another favorite is Pandora Journey. I think they are just playlists of epic music by many artists. But, I set up a playlist to run while I work. Sometimes the images they use in their videoed are also inspiring.

    Personally, I can’t write to music with lyrics. As a singer, I get caught up in the words and lose my focus.

  76. K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

    Best ever!

  77. My list is similar. I would also add “Braveheart” and a fabulous website:

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Thanks for the website! I’ll check it out. I love rain as a background noise. And I agree, Braveheart is excellent, one of Horner’s best along with Titanic.

  78. “The Perfect Storm” is a favorite, along with “How to Train Your Dragon,” but Two Steps from Hell is my go-to. “Flight of the Silverbird” and “El Dorado” have given me endless inspiration.

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