Dumb Money is a sharp and funny telling of the infamous 2021 GameStop short squeeze story. The film does a fantastic job of doling out just enough about the ins and outs of the stock market to be informative, but never loses sight of the class warfare at the heart of its story. The film was directed by Craig Gillespie, written by Lauren Shuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo, and boasts a standout cast which includes Paul Dano, Pete Davidson, America Ferrera, and Seth Rogen. Dumb Money reviews were also highly positive, with the film sitting certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Dumb Money features an engaging score by composer Will Bates, who is known in part for his work on Class of ’09, Another Earth, and The Voyeurs. Bates crafted an electronic score using novel techniques and instrumentation, making the soundscape of Dumb Money a unique one that fits perfectly with Gillespie’s vision and Kirk Baxter’s snappy editing. Bates is also the founder of Fall On Your Sword, a post-production studio, experiential art house, and more.

Will Bates spoke with Screen Rant about how he found his way to the project, his most interesting pieces of gear, and how Dumb Money compares to his work on documentaries like Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief. Note: This interview was conducted during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, and the film covered here would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in both unions. This interview has also been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Screen Rant: How did you find your way to this project? Did you know Craig Gillespie, the director, already?

He wanted an electronic score, but was there a lot of very specific direction? Or was it just kind of that those were the guidelines, and you went with your gut?

How many themes did you plan to write? Were there more or fewer than you ended up with?

You did Going Clear, right? The Scientology documentary?

Because this is based on a true story, were there any ways in which you were tempted to approach it more like a documentary? Because I imagine on a documentary that maybe you’d be more careful about being heavy-handed or something like that.

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