Music for Film and TV:
Report from the Hollywood Reporter / Billboard Conference
By Scott G (The G-Man)
“Forget the name of this thing,” said one audience member of The Hollywood Reporter’s Billboard Film and TV Music Conference, “it’s really all about the politics and money it takes to put your music in a snap.” More than one participant agreed personally.
The truth behind the position can explain the conflicting points made by more than two dozen speakers. For example, Glen Ballard is optimistic while maintaining a healthy dose of pessimism. Mark Mothersbaugh is happy but often relies on silent humorous sarcasm. Chris Douridas is passionate when it comes to being realistic and determined. And that went on for a two-day event being held at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, with each upbeat panel member on many aspects of the industry while admitting that there were a lot of problems.
Good News / Bad News.
The “good news / bad news” dichotomy is handled by each presenter in his or her own way. Stewart Copeland (a former member of The Police and now noted film and commercial composer) and Garry Marshall (director of hugely successful films like “Pretty Woman”) used humor to make their point about the economic realities of business exerting pressure on creative decisions.
“Every musician wants to work on an ‘A-level’ project,” says Copeland, “but the fact of the matter is that many of us in this room will most often be working on ‘Swordslayer 6’ where your decisions may be very different.” Film composer John Debney (“Passion of the Christ” and film “Princess Diaries” marshall) also notes how your career choices are influenced in unusual ways as you progress from first time writer to acclaimed professional.
Using the concept of journalistic oppression as a stepping point, Ballard says “we have allowed the market to create ‘pre-creative restraint’ on what we think and what the industry will receive from an artist.” While calling for total dedication to the arts and crafts of music, he cautioned that “anyone can make a multitrack record” but there are “things that matter: storytelling, melody, lyrics, structure, and performance.”
View from the Executive Suite.
Lia Vollack is President of Worldwide Music for Sony Pictures Entertainment. As a former music editor and music supervisor, he has the ability to step in on hands-on assignments in addition to overseeing all aspects of the music and film soundtracks for Columbia, Screen Gems, and Sony Pictures Animation. Additionally, he worked with Revolution Studios, Sony Pictures Classics, and all Sony Local Language Productions.
From his days with Devo, the most thoracic rock group ever released on a major label, to his latest film score, Mark Mothersbaugh has brought a unique perspective to sonic and business careers in the music industry. He has worked on a variety of film and television projects, including “Rugrats” (TV, film and stage versions), “The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Rushmore,” “Thirteen,” “Happy Gilmore,” and his upcoming films, ” Lords of Dogtown “and” The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. ”
Newman points out that Mothersbaugh did musical scores for several films dealing with young women of age, including “Thirteen,” “Teen Drama Queen Confessions,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous,” and others. “Is it hard to get into the mindset of a teenage girl?” Newman asked. “Now, the wardrobe is important,” Mothersbaugh replied.
Also participating during the well-organized conference were industry celebrities such as Burt Berman, President of Music for Paramount Pictures, Darren Higman, Sr. VP of WMG Soundtracks at Warner Music Group, Robert Kraft, President of Fox Music, and music editor / music supervisor Curt Sobel.
Additional observations include:
“Only go to this industry if you wake up sick to write or create.” – Tamara Conniff, Co-Executive Editor, Billboard.