Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer's studio in Santa Monica, California, is a haven. Laden in red velvet, his creative space is sacred. A renaissance man, books on architecture and modern art fill his shelves; Tiffany-style chandeliers set mood lighting along with skull lamps and candles; a fireplace sets the tone for late-night collaborations. His many awards are nestled between books and CDs. Under his coffee table are neatly stacked posters of his latest film, Sherlock Holmes, for which he was nominated for an Oscar®.
"I feel like the work I have done in the past three years has been the best work of my career," he says. "I don't know why; it just feels that way."
Zimmer has scored more than 100 films, which collectively have grossed more than $13 billion. He is the CEO of his own company, employing countless composers and technicians. But he is most happy when writing, putting a score to visuals, creating the emotional life of film characters through sound and passion.
Never one to rest on past achievements, he continues to push himself. That means going to the point of fear—fear he may not be good enough, fear his ideas may be crazy. "I work closely with directors. We trust each other." He laughs and adds, "I can call them and tell them I don't know what I'm doing. The ideas come."