When nerds unite

When nerds unite

This weekend I had the rare opportunity to meet up with several folk whom I’d previously only interacted with online (or not at all). It is truly a strange age that we live in, where we can build connections and friendships with people all over the world with only a mouse and a keyboard. Mutual friends and mutual interests bring us into contact with strangers, and the internet can potentially facilitate bonds deeper than those forged “the old-fashioned way.”

I was finally able to “meet” Jim Lochner (proprietor of the excellent Film Score Click Track) in real life, and our customary Gmail chat sessions were replaced with bear hugs and coffee-fueled conversations. As much as I’m grateful for modern innovations like the personal computer, email, and social networking, there’s simply no substitute for real, face-to-face interaction.

I also met fellow film score “nerds” (assigned so with the utmost affection) Justin Craig, Jim Ware, Peter Hackman, John Townsend, and John Takis. I got to reconnect with one of my all-time favorite nerds, Doug Adams, whose brilliant new book The Music of the Lord of the Rings Films was the real excuse for the whole shindig.

When I say “nerds,” I of course lump myself in with the rabble. We’re all just a little too in love with the music for the movies, and we join groups, sermonize on message boards, and seek out equally crazed compatriots in an effort to normalize our abnormality by the sheer weight in numbers.

The beauty of it is, we’re self-aware nerds. What could have resulted in nasally, spit-flecked tirades about James Horner’s plagiarism actually produced natural, clever conversations about our occupations, hometowns, and other “normal” topics of discussion. Yes, there was plenty of film music chatter (it’s the elephant in the room that people can’t stop talking about), but our common obsession with that music was taken with a liberal dose of healthy human interaction.

I guess you could say I was pleasantly surprised that all involved betrayed their nerdiness—the thread that brought us together in the first place—with heartfelt sincerity, interesting remarks, diverse personalities, and always, always generosity. By and large, the people I’ve met through a shared love of film music have been among the most giving, thoughtful folks I know.

Today I am grateful for film music afresh, not only because of the bounty of aesthetic and emotional catharsis it brings to my life, but for bringing into my life so many good people I now count as friends.