Like a lot of us, I grew up inundated with the sounds of orchestral instruments playing in a sometimes highly dissonant style, often without key centers, triadic harmony, and conventional scales (major and minor). This music, to me, is highly reminiscent of German Expressionist composers of the 1910s - 1940s. The music is often in the form of an ensemble with winds, sometimes brass, and strings. But the strings are not necessarily of the same number as one would hear in an orchestra. Maybe more like 4-8 strings. Also, percussion instruments were totally pervasive. I haven't studied much of this, but my feeling is that the film composers that were in their 30s-40s had studied composition with excellent teachers and composers. I am watching Time Limit, a 1957 film about American servicemen who had been POWs in North Korea. The composer was Fred Steiner, who wrote for a lot of TV, such as Hogan's Heros, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Star Trek, etc. I'm thinking about how much of that German Expressionist-like style has been absorbed by people who grew up on those shows. Take a listen to these, especially the background music, not the title music. This is some pretty sophisticated and harmonically adventurous stuff. I remember reading a little about film music and how the entire game changed after The Graduate, with music in the form of songs by Simon and Garfunkle. I have a couple of former students who work in the business. It seems to me that the biggest factor in getting their careers going was getting a degree in film composition from USC. Through their network of friends and former classmates, my students started off by programming synths, operating Pro Tools, and working as assistants to more well-known composers. Drawing a blank, here. James Horner was one. Fezz's dad was a well-known composer in the 1960s, in whose music you can really hear the craftsmanship involved in writing for orchestral instruments in a way that ensured the best possible sight-reading and balance in the studio. Of course, there is now a lot of sampling, loops, etc. that composers in their 20s-30s are adept at. The biggest cliche, or meme, is the ubiquitous long, soft, low sound, ominously preparing us for bad things to happen.