Having written music for some of Hollywood's highest grossing films, James T. Sale has proven to be a versatile and nuanced composer. For over two decades, James has been the secret ingredient in some of Hollywood’s most successful films. James composed the height of childhood whimsy with The LEGO MOVIE, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 1 & 2, and CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 1 & 2, the deepest conversations of the human condition with RETURN TO ZERO AND SISTER CITIES and the greatest of laughs in 21 JUMPSTREET and 22 JUMPSTREET.


Providing a tone and enthusiasm that matches all projects regardless of size, Sale is a classic professional with a flawless record of team collaboration and origination. Through composition and orchestration, James is always committed to working with everyone to find the perfect elements that will allow each project to be unforgettable. 


James began writing music for feature films with THE CHESHIRE CAT in 1995 until becoming Mark Mothersbaugh’s head writer, orchestrator and conductor, starting with HERBIE FULLY LOADED in 2005. James co-wrote music for top-grossing films such as THE LEGO MOVIE,CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2HOTEL TRANSYLVANIATRANSYLVANIA 2, 21 JUMP STREET22 JUMP STREET, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED and ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:THE ROAD CHIP. Other projects include SAFELAST VEGAS and in 2014 James began to collaborate with director Sean Hanish on RETURN TO ZERO. This is a collaboration that continued with SISTER CITIES in 2016 and most recently SAINT JUDY.

James also spent years working on many award-winning video games such as GOD OF WAR I + IIGOLDEN COMPASSLINEAGE 2LORD OF THE RINGS: BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTHCAPTAIN AMERICA: SUPER SOLDIER and more.


Born in Washington D.C. to music-loving parents, James began drum lessons through the DC Youth Symphony at Roosevelt High School in 1978, after which he attended St John’s College High School, an all-male military college prep. From there, James enrolled in the Film Scoring Program at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he studied Composition and Orchestration with a major in Film Scoring. During this time he studied composition with Boston composer Thomas McGah, studied percussion with Dean Anderson, Principal Percussionist of the Boston Ballet and studied conducting privately with noted conductor David Callahan, a former student of Leonard Bernstein. After moving to Los Angeles in 1992 he began paying his dues, working as a librarian and copyist for Suzy Katayama at the Sony Music Library. 

James is also an avid supporter of Washington DC sports teams as well as London's Arsenal Football Club.

Look out for Dark Music for Bass Clarinet and Orchestra which is expected to premiere in 2022.

BA Film Scoring Berklee College of Music, Boston 1992


Bloodshot (conductor) 2020

Uncle Frank (conductor) 2019

Big Break (short) (2019)

Finding Mr Divine (short) (2019)

Saint Judy (2018)

Acts of Violence (2017)

Transformers: The Last Knight (conductor) 2017

Surviving Home (2016)                                                      

Sister Cities (2016)                                                             

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:Out of the Shadows (conductor) 2016

Ice Age-Eggscapade (conductor, addtl music 2015)            

The Road Chip (conductor, addtl music 2015)                               

Pee Wee’s Big Holiday conductor, addtl music 2015)                      

Hotel Transylvania 2 (addtl music 2015)                           

Cosmic Scrat-Tastrophe (conductor, addtl music 2015)     

Vacation (conductor, addtl music 2015)                                

Pitch Perfect 2 (addtl music 2015)                                       

Last Man On Earth (addtl music 2015)                               

22 Jumpstreet (conductor, addtl music 2014)                                   

The LEGO Movie (conductor, addtl music 2014)               

Return to Zero (+ conductor, orchestrator 2014)                 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (conductor, addtl music 2013)

Last Vegas  (conductor, addtl music 2013)                           

JFK: A President Betrayed  (2013)                                    

Frankenstein Theory (2013)                                                          

Hotel Transylvania  (conductor, addtl music 2012)            

21 JumpStreet (conductor, addtl music 2012)                                

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (addtl music 2012) 

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (addtl music 2011)                   

Safe (conductor addtl music 2011)                                                

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (addtl music 2011)

Carstoons-Air Mater (conductor, addtl music 2011)           

Born to Be Wild-Imax (orchestrator, addtl music 2011)      

Enlightened (addtl music 2010)                                           

Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (addtl music 2010)

Carstoons-Moon Mater (addtl music 2010)                      

Carstoons-Mater PI(addtl music 2010)                               

Ghosts Don’t Exist (2010)                                                 

Ramona and Beezus (addtl music 2010)                             

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (addtl music 2009)   

The Power of the Powerless 2008                                       

The Doctors 2008  (On-Air Promos)                                                 

Fanboys 2008 (addtl music)                                                  

10 Most Compelling Drama Mamas 2008 (Theme)          

The Haunting of Molly Hartley 2008                                

Kid Nation 2007 (addtl music)                                             

America’s Next Top Model 2007 (addtl music)                  

25 Most Stylish 2007 (TV)(addtl music)                              

Age of Love 2007 (TV) (addtl music)                                  

Model Life 2007 (TV) (addtl music)                                     

Science of Love (TV) (addtl music)                                    

Live Earth- Amazon Watch PSA                                       

Everest-A Climb for Peace 2007(TV)                                 

Pirate Master (TV) 2007(addtl music)                               

The Real Wedding Crashers 2007 (TV) (addtl music)  

Taking 5 2007                                                                      

The Box 2007                                                                        

Music Within 2006                                                           

Herbie: Fully Loaded 2005 (additional music)                   

Decadent Evil 2005 (V)                                                      

Leave No Trace  2004 (TV)                                                  

Digital Cinema Initiatives 2004 (studio test project)       

There’s Something About Meryl  2004 (short)                

The Florist  2003 (AFI short)                                            

Dr. Moreau’s House of Pain 2003 (V)                               

Birth Rite 2003 (V)                                                              

Frozen Impact 2003 (TV)                                                    

Bleed 2002 (V)                                                                      

William Shatner’s “Full Moon Fright Night” 2002 (TV)           

Deathbed 2002 (V)                                                               

Warrior Angels 2002 (additional music) (TV)                    

Haunted 2002 (short)                                                                       

Manna from Heaven 2001 (additional music)                     

Terminal Error 2001                                                                     

Toontown-Disney Imagineering 2001 (interactive)            

Togbe 2001                                                                           

Beyond the Summit 2000 (TV)                                          

Impact 2000                                                                         

The Cheshire Cat 1995