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Interview With People Behind The Scenes In Film & TV

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On The Music Beat
The Ins and Outs of Music Placement in Movies and TV Series

Behind the Scenes
Featuring:
Amanda Krieg, Music Coordinator for Julia Michels, Music Supervisor, Format Entertainment
Mandi Collier, Music Coordinator/ for Frankie Pine, Music Supervisor, Whirly Girl Music
Stephan Pine, Music Coordinator for Dawn Soler, Senior VP–TV Music, ABC Studios
Frank Palazzolo, Music Supervisor, Assistant to Liza Richardson, Music Supervisor

By Frances and Harry Date - Song Matchmakers Network


We thought our readers might like to know what goes on behind the scenes with those who assist music supervisors and others to find the music they need for movies and TV. So we’ve made this edition of On The Music Beat, The Ins and Outs of Music Placement in Movies and TV Series an interview with four people that work for some of the top music supervisors and VP’s of Music. We hope you enjoy it.


Amanda Krieg
Music Coordinator for Julia Michels, Music Supervisor, Format Entertainment
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1.    What is your job title?
Music Coordinator

2.    How long have you been here?
I’ve been working with Julia for a little over a year and a half.  Prior to Format I was in the music departments at Shine America (The Biggest Loser) and Lionsgate.

3.    What are your duties and responsibilities?
From IT troubleshooting, to scheduling calls and meetings for Julia, to submitting creative ideas for our editors, and clearance research, I do anything and everything that needs to be done!  Julia once called me the “happy handyman” and that’s probably the best way to describe my job.  I keep track of all the schedules for our projects, any script changes pertaining to music, I maintain our spotting notes/source charts, research songs that need to be cleared, pull together preliminary lists of songs whenever there is a need for ideas, and try to keep up with the deluge of music submissions coming in so I can help advise Julia on what she should be listening to at the moment.  I do whatever I can to make sure everything is running smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks.

4.    What’s the most interesting part of your job?
Well, considering I’m in a career I knew nothing about until I landed at my first job, I am always finding things interesting!  I’m constantly astounded at how many people can own one song (I like to blow my family’s minds with that one too).  Right now though in particular I’m fascinated by the strategy involved in the job.  You’re traversing in both the art of filmmaking and music-making and the egos involved in each.  Add the legal component of rights and percentages and then budgets, and (frequently) unrealistic expectations…it’s such a balancing act.  Every situation is different.  People come into this career looking for a set process, or set rates, or an exact way to phrase certain things (myself included) but those don’t really exist. You just have to really stop and think through every action, and lean on peers and mentors for advice – regardless of whether you’re in my position or a top level executive.

5.    What are the greatest challenges in this position?

Same answer!  I know how to research ownership, I know the general process for clearing a song (though again networks, companies and supervisors each tend to have their own variations), I know how to try songs up to Quicktimes and pull together a list of ideas for a spot…but navigating the politics is a slippery task, especially for someone in my position still building their reputation and relationships.  I have Julia look over most emails I send before they go out.  And then there is assessing where I can step in and be helpful, and where I can’t.  I can send out searches and pre-clear tracks, but if a director calls and wants to add a new song when there is no money left in the budget…I don’t have the authority to try and handle that situation.  My job is to anticipate the needs of both Julia and our projects and make things run as smoothly as possible…it’s hard for me when that means sitting back and waiting.

6.    What are the greatest rewards?
Of course it’s always exciting to see a song I pitched end up in a film or television show…but because the politics can be so challenging, it gives me the most satisfaction when I read a situation correctly, and am able to handle it efficiently.  Whether it’s writing a good music search email, asking the right questions when breaking down a script, or identifying a potential clearance issue, it’s in those moments that I feel I’m in the right place.  Yes, a diverse taste in music is a helpful asset, but knowing how to manage those situations is what really makes a successful music supervisor.

7.    What projects are you currently working on?

We have a few going on right now, most notably The Other Woman, a Fox female buddy comedy about a woman (Cameron Diaz) who finds out that the man she’s been dating (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, from Games Of Thrones) is actually married.  One thing leads to another and she winds up teaming with his wife (Leslie Mann) and yet another one of his mistresses (Kate Upton) to take him down.  Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook) is directing, and from the script to the performances to the musical direction it’s really funny and fearless.

Julia is also music supervising the ABC half-hour comedy, Trophy Wife, with Julianne Jordan.  The show centers around Kate (Malin Akerman) as the not-really-a trophy wife.  She is the third wife of Pete (Bradley Whitford), who has three kids and two ex-wives (the brilliant Marcia Gay Harden and Michaela Watkins), all of whom are very involved in Kate and Pete’s life.  Hilarity ensues.  We rarely do television, but I am loving it.  The pace is much faster than film, and there is just a whole lot more music needed.  Plus, since Kate is in her late twenties, we get to use a lot of current/indie music that she might be listening to, exposing some emerging artists.  It’s been great.

8.    What are your personal dreams and aspirations?
I love music supervision for film and television, so I would feel extremely lucky to be able to work in this world for the rest of my life.  On a broader level, I’m also interested in the different ways music impacts how we relate to each other and the world around us.  From creating sonic identities for brands, music in commercials, and technologies like Songza and Sound tracking, which are all about connecting music with our experiences and emotions, if I can have my hand somehow in all of these worlds, that would be my ideal.  I haven’t figured out exactly where they all intersect (film and television, too) but I’m convinced they do.

9.    Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your position?
Many music supervisors will answer this question by saying what I said above: it takes more than good taste in music to be a music supervisor.  The same goes for my position, if not more so.  You absolutely have to love charts and organization or you will never move forward in the business.  I’ve interviewed people to replace me at past jobs; I’ve interviewed interns…some seem to think that the most important asset to feature is their creativity and ability to put together an amazing mixtape.  Wrong.  Sure, that can give someone an edge, but what every interviewer really looks for is the candidate who finds peace in metadata-tagging his or her iTunes library, and triumph in a perfect spreadsheet.  Do you know how to register songs with ASCAP or BMI?  Have you filled out a quote request?  Did you establish a new system for cataloging score albums at your internship?  That’s what we want to hear about.

10.    Do you have any advice for people who want to place their music with your company?
Well there are many tips I could give, but in short…research and patience.  For a little more than that, I wrote this article last year on my (currently dormant) blog that people have found helpful.


Mandi Collier
Music Coordinator for Frankie Pine, Music Supervisor, Whirly Girl Music
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1.    What is your job title?
Music Coordinator and Assistant Music Supervisor for “Nashville”

2.    How long have you been here?

About 2 ½ years

3.    What are your duties and responsibilities?

My responsibilities change on a daily basis depending on the needs of our current projects, but primarily, I am responsible for song clearance and maintaining our allotted budgets.  I also work closely with Frankie pitching music and making the necessary preparations for the recording sessions and on-camera performances for Nashville.

4.    What’s the most interesting part of your job?
At the moment, I would say the most interesting thing is learning about the process of recording our original songs for Nashville and also understanding what it takes to pull off a successful on-camera performance.  It takes a great deal of effort to make them seem authentic, so it’s been very educational learning that no detail is too small.

5.    What are the greatest challenges in this position?

For me, the greatest challenges often come from having to disregard my own tastes or opinions for the good of the project.  I think that’s a common misconception about the job - it’s not about placing the newest or coolest tunes in a show, but instead, finding the best and most appropriate sound for the project.

6.    What are the greatest rewards?

In my opinion, the greatest reward is the opportunity to have access to so much great music and being able to work so closely with it and promote it on a daily basis.  It’s also pretty amazing when a song really fits to picture and makes the scene unforgettable.  When we’re able to help the audience establish an even greater emotional connection to the project, we’ve done our job!

7.    What projects are you currently working on?

We’re currently working on The Newsroom Nashville, and two brand new shows, Rake on Fox and Killer Women on ABC which will likely air early next year.

8.    What are your personal dreams and aspirations?

I hope to continue learning the ins and outs of this job and industry so that my work will have a successful impact on music and the artists who work so hard to create it.

9.    Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you or your position?
I think I’d just like to mention that this position does require patience.   I must always remind myself that though I have gained a lot of knowledge in the last few years, there’s still so much to learn, and thankfully, so many wonderful mentors to learn from.  

10.    Do you have any advice for people who want to place their music with your company?
Our biggest advice for people wanting to place music in our shows is to first and foremost research what we’re working on via IMDB, etc. and then to only submit music that is really appropriate for those particular projects.  We really appreciate when people are honest and tell us that they don’t have anything that fits this time around.  Chances are, we’ll go back to them in the future!


Stephan Pine
Music Coordinator for Dawn Soler, Senior VP–TV Music, ABC Studios
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1.    What is your job title ?
Music Coordinator

2.    How long have you been here?
6 ½ years

3.    What are your duties and responsibilities?
Discover new music by going to local shows throughout the LA area, listen to playlists provided to me by Record labels/publishers and other 3rd party music companies.  I also pitch music and find replacements for our shows, promos and help produce new music content for our music website ABC Music Lounge.

4.    What’s the most interesting part of your job?

For me it’s the creative process and assisting in developing music identities for our shows.

5.    What are the greatest challenges in this position?
To stay on top of 20 + shows to make sure everything is going along smoothly.

6.    What are the greatest rewards?
When people love and give you good feedback on the music you’ve provided them.  And also when you nail a spot in a show with a great song!

7.    What projects are you currently working on?
All of our ABC Studio Produced shows.

8.    What are your personal dreams and aspirations?
To continue my path for success here @ ABC Studios and also, since I’m a musician myself, to pursue writing & producing music. And eventually I’d like to get back to being in a band (which I haven’t done since I was kid). 

9.    Do you have any advice for people who want to place their music with your company?

Send me quality music that fits the means of our ABC brand, and do your research to send us the best and most fitting music you have.
 


Frank Palazzolo
Music Supervisor  Assistant to Liza Richardson, Music Supervisor
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1.    What is your job title?

Music Supervisor / Assistant to Liza Richardson

2.    How long have you been here?

I’ve been working with Liza Richardson for four years.

3.    What are your duties and responsibilities?

My duties include but are not limited to, creative searches, music replacement suggestions, providing library music, negotiating fees, creating licensed music breakdowns, gathering licensing info, delivering music files to editors, script coverage and delivering licensed music info to networks.

4.    What’s the most interesting part of your job?
The most interesting part of my job is when I am asked to do something that I do not yet know. Like every other job, once you get into a comfortable rhythm, you sometimes stop learning or developing. I appreciate a new challenge in the office; most recently, the challenge of learning how to license for television promos.

5.    What are the greatest challenges in this position?

In my opinion, the greatest challenge is learning how to balance the many responsibilities of a music supervisor, while still being available to take on more responsibility.

6.    What are the greatest rewards?
For me, one great reward is when we work hard on a spot and later hear from a fan who tells us that the song choice maybe made them cry or provoked some sort of emotional response. Another great reward is when our team tackles a job effectively and we receive positive feedback from the show’s staff and show runners.

7.    What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve been hired as music supervisor along side Liza Richardson on the upcoming NBC series About a Boy as well as on the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove season 2. Aside from that, I also currently assist Liza on Parenthood, Hawai’i Five-0, The Following and Sleepy Hollow. 

8.    What are your personal dreams and aspirations?
I certainly aspire to continue my growth as a music supervisor, in order to ultimately be working at the highest level of this field. As for my personal dreams, that would be to work on a film that leaves some sort of musical footprint in the world of film music.  Who knows, maybe Cameron Crowe will give me a holler one of these days!

SMN: Thank you, Amanda, Mandi, Stephan, and Frank for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk with us.
 


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Frances and Harry Date are Song Matchmakers Network – a boutique one stop music publisher, music licensing, and production company.  Have a question you’d like us to ask or a person you’d like us to interview? Send them to SongMatchmakersquestions@gmail.com
For more information about us, see our website SongMatchmakersNetwork.com.

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