Connecting through Composition Meet Alexandra Petkovski, Composer for “Better at Texting”

Composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist artist, Alexandra Petkovski does it all and is a force of unbeatable talent. With a driving goal towards creating a more inclusive and diverse entertainment industry, Petkovski is paving the way towards an industry of representational stories and out of the box soundtracks. With work that has been featured on outlets such as Fortnite, SXSW, Disney+, TIFF, Billboard, Blumhouse Productions, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Freeform, HBO, MTV and PBS, Petkovski’s  latest projects are a testament to her talent. 

Petkovski recently premiered her short film “Better At Texting” at the global Reelworld Film Festival – Identity Shorts Program. The short follows a radical Indigenous feminist and a devout, Black Mormon who are forced to work together on a school project. They soon discover they have more in common than either cares to admit.

We spoke with Petkovski about creating compelling characters and stories through compositions, her work on “Better at Texting” and finding one’s musical voice.

 “Better At Texting” has a unique focus on examining how our identities can be a place of both contention and connection. How did the uniqueness of each character’s identity and story influence your decisions on the elements of the score?

Both primary characters of “Better At Texting” have one particular, concentrated portrayal of themselves that they externalize to the outside world – as such, these externalized versions are quite contrasting to one another. However, internally they both share qualities that overlap; a desire but hesitancy to be vulnerable, a curiosity about each other, and a similar feeling of security within the “virtual world.” Highlighting and maintaining the uniqueness of each character’s identity while simultaneously illuminating their shared overlap became a predominant focus for the score. For example, there are two scenes shot back to back of the characters in their own respective bedrooms; within the score, you hear one more gritty, edgy version of a song and then in the following scene a stripped, more organic and emotional version. But the thematic elements of both scenes is the same – striving to embody the connection between the two characters despite their perceived differences, yet honouring their individuality in the ways in which the thematic content is presented. Additionally, a primary underlying element of the story was the presence of virtual reality, so throughout the score there are sound design and “ping” sounds reminiscent of technology utilized. In fact, in the virtual reality scene I ended up sampling cell phone sounds and implementing them into the score itself!

Have you gotten a chance to use a unique sound, odd instrument, or musical easter egg in one of your scores?

Definitely! Specific to “Better At Texting,” I decided to sample different cell phone “dings and pings” and integrate them within the score as sound design. I also enjoy using my own voice in general as apart of score landscapes, whether that be acting as a song in a “needle drop” moment or using vocals to add texture and be manipulated to sound organic yet experimental. But honestly I’ll sample anything – it’s the oddest places which truly interesting and unique score sounds can come from!

What do you find to be the most fulfilling or favorite thing about your job?

I think for me it’s all about telling the stories and moving the listener. If I’m able to help tell a story in a compelling way then I’ve done my job – if I’m able to make the listener feel and see something in perhaps a new, different light then I feel fulfilled. And one of my favourite things about the job is collaboration; getting to help bring a shared vision to fruition is a gift that keeps on giving!

What piece of advice do you have for creatives looking to break into film/tv composer roles?

It’s up to you to occupy space you’d like to occupy – go out there and grant yourself the permission to do the thing you want to do. Find the people who are your people. Apply your wheelhouse, skillsets and overall voice to the role of composer – it’s what will make you stand apart from everyone else, and what makes you, you. Above all be nice. We all prefer working with nice people.

You are an advocate for female presence throughout the music industry, what would be one change you make to the film composition world to make it more inclusive?

Honestly, I’m not sure this is a “one change fix all” situation haha. Because really, if it were, it would extend far beyond the scope of the film composition world and just encompass the world itself. I guess one overarching change would be opportunity and perception. Equal opportunity given to female and female-identifying film composers based on unbiased, unprejudiced Perception.

Any big wins or recent projects you are excited about?

Yes! I’m thrilled to have been awarded as a first place winner for SOCAN’s Emerging Screen Composers Awards recently. I also am on the Recording Academy 2023 Grammy’s ballot with two arrangements/orchestration works of mine off my recent reimagination project release, the Sondheim Series (which is fantastic and surreal in the truest sense!)

Where can we follow you on social media?

Instagram:

@alexandrapetkovski, @fjoramusic

Facebook:

@alexpetkovski, @fjoramusic

Twitter:

@alex_petkovski, @fjoramusic

TikTok:

@alexandrapetkovski

Jake Stern
Author: Jake Stern

I love to write about entertainment, film composing, sound, music, and more. Follow me to stay up to date on interviews with your favorite artists!

About Jake Stern

I love to write about entertainment, film composing, sound, music, and more. Follow me to stay up to date on interviews with your favorite artists!

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