VOLUME XXX NUMBER TWO SUMMER 2015
T H E A T E R B U S I N E S S
Broadway: Composer, Lyricist And Songwriter Royalties And Deals By Todd Brabec and Jeff Brabec
roadway and the Road, a two billion dollar business in the United States, represents for composers, lyricists and songwriters involved in the field, a significant source of royalties and in the case of a hit, a lifetime annuity. Each year, Broadway produces many new musicals in addition to revivals of musicals from the past. Most of these shows never recoup their financial investment but when a Wicked, Jersey Boys, Lion King, South Pacific, Phantom of the Opera or Mamma Mia succeeds, the financial returns can be staggering both for investors as well as creators. This article will discuss the many different types of music licensing deals, contracts and practices that govern music in the theatre. Types of Broadway Musicals
Musicals can take many forms with the particular form many times dictating the type of contract and royalty structure received by composers, lyricists and songwriters as well as the music publishers involved. The most common types of musicals are a new show with original music and lyrics (Kinky Boots, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder), a “catalogue/jukebox musical” which uses pre-existing songs and sometimes master recordings (Beautiful: the Carole King Musical, Motown the Musical, Rock of Ages, Jersey Boys) and shows that combine new compositions with pre-existing works. In many cases, an additional royalty participant will also be involved in cases where the show is adapted from a work in another medium such as a book, feature film or television program (Finding Neverland, Rocky, Doctor Zhivago, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, The Addams Family, Dirty Dancing). This latter category sometimes uses the originally composed music as well as lyrics, other
times uses entirely new compositions or utilizes a combination of both old and new. Weekly Costs Of A Broadway Musical
The starting point for most royalty calculations is the weekly operating costs of the musical. These costs are many and determine whether the show is making money, losing money or breaking even on a weekly basis. Most Broadway musicals’ weekly operating costs are in the area of $400,000-$700,000, but some shows are known to exceed $1,000,000 in a week. A representative breakdown of the costs associated with a musical with weekly running expenses of $600,000 are as follows: Physical Production ($49,000/carpentry, electrical, etc.), Salaries ($132,000/cast, general manager, etc.), Re-Occurring Fees ($11,000/ music coordinator, technical supervisor, etc.), Taxes and Benefits ($40,000/union pension and welfare benefits, etc.), Rehearsals and Casting ($1,000/studio rental), Advertising and Promotion ($120,000/artwork, television media, marketing, etc.), Theatre Venue Expenses ($190,000/fixed weekly charges, theatre share, musicians, etc.), General and Administrative Expenses ($20,000/ legal, payroll, office charges, etc.), Royalties ($35,000/ author, director, original venue royalty, etc.) and Miscellaneous ($2,000). It is important to note also that there is a huge amount of money expended prior to the show’s “opening night” and first week’s operating costs. Those are the figures involved when you hear that a musical costs 10 to 20 million dollars in investors’ money just to get the show to the Broadway opening. This is the total amount that investors need to recoup prior to the musical returning a profit. These costs include any option fees paid Continued on Page 16
Broadway is a very special world with its own rules, traditions and ways of doing business.
C O N T E N T S
The Challenges Faced By Heirs 5 Grit In The Machine 9 15 Minutes With Jóhann Jóhannsson 12 Musical Shares 23
F R O M T H E E D I T O R ' S D E S K
The Business Behind The Music By Lori Barth
President ASHLEY IRWIN Vice Presidents ARTHUR HAMILTON CHARLES BERNSTEIN Recording Secretary JONATHAN DAVID NEAL Treasurer/CFO CHRISTOPHER FARRELL The SCORE LORI BARTH, Senior Editor Advisory Board ALAN BERGMAN MARILYN BERGMAN CHARLES BERNSTEIN BILL CONTI CHARLES FOX JAMES NEWTON HOWARD QUINCY JONES ALAN MENKEN THOMAS NEWMAN LALO SCHIFRIN MARC SHAIMAN HOWARD SHORE ALAN SILVESTRI PATRICK WILLIAMS CHRISTOPHER YOUNG HANS ZIMMER In Memoriam Advisory Board Members ELMER BERNSTEIN JOHN CACAVAS JERRY GOLDSMITH MAURICE JARRE PETER MATZ DAVID RAKSIN Directors RAMON BALCAZAR LORI BARTH FLETCHER BEASLEY MICHAEL LEHMANN BODDICKER RUSSELL BROWER DENNIS C. BROWN MIRIAM CUTLER JOEL DOUEK CRAIG STUART GARFINKLE RON GRANT BENOIT GREY IRA HEARSHEN LYNN F. KOWAL Hélène Muddiman GREG PLISKA ELIZABETH ROSE ADRYAN RUSS GARRY SCHYMAN ELIZABETH SELLERS AUSTIN WINTORY Past Presidents JOHN ADDISON RICHARD BELLIS BRUCE BROUGHTON JAY CHATTAWAY RAY COLCORD JAMES DI PASQUALE DAN FOLIART ARTHUR HAMILTON MARK WATTERS ISSN 1066-5447 Society of Composers & Lyricists 8447 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 401 Beverly Hills, CA 90211 Ph (310) 281-2812
e spend years learning and perfecting our craft but that is only one side of the coin. In this issue I have included two articles that deal with the business side of being a Broadway composer/lyricist and those who are lucky enough to inherit a catalog. Understanding the business behind the music is as important as the music itself. Knowing and understanding all facets of the business we are in is our job. It starts with the music but goes on from there, as you will learn from the Brabecs’ and Angela g Rose White’s articles.
DIAMOND MEMBERS Van Alexander Kristen Anderson-Lopez Lori Barth Alan & Marilyn Bergman Dennis C. Brown Carter Burwell Ray Charles George Clinton
Bill Conti James DiPasquale Clint Eastwood Dan Foliart Charles Fox Elliot Goldenthal Arthur Hamilton
James Howard Mark Isham Robert Lopez Johnny Mandel Blake Neely Randy Newman Mike Post
J. Peter Robinson Mark Roos Lalo Schifrin Richard Sherman David Shire Alan Silvestri Mark Snow
Dennis Spiegel Mike Stoller Federico Vaona Mark Watters Patrick Williams John Williams Maury Yeston
DIAMOND SPONSOR / SPECIAL FRIENDS Jay Cooper
PLATINUM MEMBERS Mark Adler Avni Altin John Beal Marco Beltrami Amin Bhatia Steven Bramson
Alf Clausen Joseph Conlan Mychael Danna Alexandre Desplat Michael Giacchino Ashley Irwin
Steve Jablonsky Bear McCreary Peter Melnick Alan Menken Garth Neustadter Greg O’Connor
Atli Orvarsson Stu Phillips Steven Price Gary Rottger David Schwartz Carlo Siliotto
Sean Spillane Angela Rose White Paul Williams Austin Wintory
PLATINUM SPONSOR / SPECIAL FRIENDS Jeffrey L. Graubart
GOLD MEMBERS Neal Acree Elik Alvarez Neil Argo Diane Arkenstone Alexander Arntzen Sebastian Arocha Charles-Henri Avelange Ramon Balcazar Lorne Balfe Glen Ballard Ed Barguiarena Nathan Barr Joe Barrera Jr. Joel Beckerman Charles Bernstein Peter Boyer Richard Bronskill Russell Brower Dan Brown Jr Benedikt Brydern Kenneth Burgomaster Dennis Burke Brian Byrne Patric Caird Kristopher Carter Cato Shawn Clement Elia Cmiral Kaveh Cohen Lisa Coleman Jim Cox John Debney Erick Del Aguila Brooke deRosa
Max Di Carlo John Dickson Joel Douek Dennis Dreith Bruce Dukov Robert Duncan Laura Dunn JC Dwyer Erich Einfalt Stephen Endelman Joel Evans Joern Fahrenkrog-Petersen Sharon Farber Jack Faulkner Shelley Fisher Pablo Flores Andy Forsberg Alexandre Fortuit Steven Fox Pam Gates Grant Geissman Scott Glasgow William Goldstein Joel Goodman Harry Gregson Williams Wayne Hankin Denis Hannigan Bruce Healey Reinhold Heil Shari Hoffman Lee Holdridge Scott Holtzman Russ Howard III Sam Hulick
Asuka Ito Daniel Jacob Ken Jacobsen Quincy Jones Fedrico Jusid Aaron Kaplan Brian Katona Alexander Khanukhov Bruce Kimmel Dave Kinnoin Grant Kirkhope Christopher Klatman Christopher Knight Penka Kouneva Lynn Kowal Michael A Lang Edie Lehmann Boddicker Christopher Lennertz Jerome Leroy Michael Levine Daniel Licht Joseph LoDuca Charley Londono Glenn Longacre David Mann Gerard Marino Vance Marino Tracey Marino Shelly Markham Billy Martin John Massari Michael McCuistion William McFadden Joel McNeely
Bruce Miller Bryan Miller Rickey Minor Tricia Minty Brian Moe Sandro Morales Jeff Morrow Helene Muddiman Jonathan Neal Joey Newman Eimear Noone Abby North Matt Novack Cindy O’Connor Jose Luis Oliveira Anele Onyekwere John Ottman Carla Patullo Art Phillips John Piscitello Kim Planert J. Pulido Lopez Judi Pulver Mac Quayle J. Ralph Ron Ramin Tom Ranier Regan Remy Trent Reznor Lolita Ritmanis Carlos Rivera Dan Romer William Ross Atticus Ross
Enis Rotthoff Adryan Russ Steven Saltzman Garry Schyman Roxanne Seeman Ryan Shore Jeff Silbar Michael Silversher Helen Simmins-McMillin Gregory Smith Stanley Smith Curt Sobel Arturo Solar Jennifer Stasack Sally Stevens Candace Stewart Jeremy Tisser Pinar Toprak Kubilay Uner Cris Velasco Dan Vithyavuthi Chris Walden Jack Wall Diane Warren Harold Wheeler Frederik Wiedmann Alan Williams David Williams Jonathan Wolff Gernot Wolfgang Doug Wood Jenny Yates Gary Yershon
GOLD SPONSORS / SPECIAL FRIENDS Stacey ‘Neisig Brianne-Adette Bogle Todd Brabec Les Brockmann Jon Burlingame Ray Costa
Jana Davidoff Laura Engel Susan Friedman Lorna Guess Lynda Jacobs Garrett Johnson
Anne Juenger Richard Kraft Debra Krizman Patty Macmillan John Proulx Nick Redman
Mark Robertson John Rodd Michael Ryan Jeffrey Sanderson John Tempereau John Traunwieser
Charley Walters Steven Winogradsky
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S A G E
Inspiration, Homage Or Plagiarism
By Ashley Irwin
here has been much discussion recently as to what constitutes plagiarism, most likely fueled by the Blurred Lines verdict. Arguments have been made for and against the decision and I believe the case is currently under appeal so who knows what the eventual outcome will be. Regardless, the fact remains that most of us who create music and lyrics address this issue on a daily basis: Is the work inspired by another, an homage to another, or simply ripped off? Musical influence is all around us and has been since the day we were born, although we were most likely unaware of it early on. But I have no doubt the great arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Irwin Kostal, Pete Rugolo and the like had much more of an influence on my early musical development than did the great classical composers. I was not introduced to their repertoire til much later in life and my ability to appreciate their stylistic differences happened even later. Why? Because the music my parents listened to in my childhood home was that of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole; songwriters like Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen, Cole Porter, and the Gershwins. I was more aware of the Great American Songbook than I was the romantic classical masters and certainly not the 20th century Russians. It’s impossible for these influences to not have had a part in shaping the way I approach writing a melody or a chord progression. But when does it become more than an influence? In the late, 1990s I had the honor of being
commissioned to compose a score for a newly restored version of Alfred Hitchcock’s silent masterpiece, The Lodger, in recognition of what would have been the great director’s 100th birthday. I had no hesitation in studying the scores of Bernard Hermann, Alex North and company with a view to incorporating some of their devices and techniques into my score. Rather than going the way Giorgio Moroder chose for his score to Metropolis, I decided it imperative that my score for The Lodger pay deference to the scores from the classic Hitchcock films and to do otherwise would not be in the spirit of the anniversary. I chose to pay homage in the structure and orchestration to what had gone before while still composing themes that were most definitely my own. So when do we cross the line to plagiarism? Probably more often than you’ve ever considered. The advent of the temp track has seen to that. While ever editors and directors use pre-existing music to help them cut the visuals, we will (sometimes) be asked to “just give us what’s in the temp.” For me, this is particularly problematic if I’m working on a film in which the temp has been constructed using cues from other scores of mine. I find it incredibly difficult to plagiarize myself; not from a legal perspective but from an artistic one. I’m currently working on a mini-series where the editor asked me to provide some cues for the temp “in the style you’ll be writing.” I had no reservation in firing back, “I have no cues that I have ever written that will work for this piece but as I write them I will
So when do we cross the line to plagiarism? Probably more often than you’ve ever considered. The advent of the temp track has seen to that.
Continued on Page 22
ASCAP DayAt Berklee College
T L-R: ASCAP Foundation’s Julie Lapore, Berklee’s Bonnie Hayes, guest artist Adam Schlesinger, songwriter Rachel Siegel, ASCAP’s Nancy Knutsen, composer Amit Cohen, and Berklee’s George S. Clinton
he annual ASCAP Day at Berklee College of Music in Boston was held on Wednesday, April 8, 2015. ASCAP songwriter, composer, producer and performer Adam Schlesinger was the special guest speaker, and was joined by ASCAP’s Nancy Knutsen, Rachel Perkins, Adrian Ross and Seth Saltzman to discuss current trends in the music industry.
N O T E S F R O M N E W Y O R K
SCL New York Diary
n February 9, 2015 The SCL in NY held a seminar entitled “Inside the World of Game Music.” The panel consisted of Winifred Phillips and Tom Salta and was moderated by SCL NY Steering Committee Member Elizabeth Rose.
By Mark Suozzo es, but also their strategies for dealing with challenges and bumps in the road. Miler and Tysen played several versions of a particular moment in their Broadway-bound show Tuck Everlasting, and Ahrens and Flaherty took the audience back to their first pitch for Ragtime, revealing the whirlwind of writing they had to do in a very short time, and then playing the original demo recording they produced. Hollywood Orchestration Masterclass
L-R: Winifred Phillips and Elizabeth Rose
Perfect Rhyme, Perfect Harmony? The Challenges and Rewards of Collaboration
On February 25th The SCL in NY, in collaboration with the Dramatists Guild, presented an evening with two of the musical theater’s most exciting collaborative teams: Tony winners and multiple Grammy, Tony, Golden Globe and Oscar nominees Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, along with Rodgers, Roth, Larson, Kleban and Ebb awardwinners Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen. Moderator Greg Pliska guided the two teams through a discussion of not only their many collaborative success-
On April 2, 2015 The SCL NY in conjunction with the NY Chapter of the Ravel Study Group and BMI presented an orchestration masterclass in which Dr. Norman Ludwin offered an in-depth study of the orchestrations of John Williams’ Star Wars.
from the perspective of two collaborators. Their talk traced the development of the score from spotting and initial conceptual discussions through the final cue the day before sound mix. Decoding the Director/ Composer Conversation
Monday, April 20, at Pearl Studios on 8th Avenue, The SCL NY presented a roundtable discussion featuring Director Robert Celestino, Director and former Music Supervisor Alex Steyermark, Music Editor Missy Cohen and Editor Amanda Pollack. The discussion was moderated by Chris Hajian. The theme was “What do they mean when they say…?”: how can the composer move the process along and deliver what the director wants with a minimum of frustration?
L-R: Missy Cohen, Amanda Pollack, Robert Celestino, Alex Steyermark, Chris Hajian L-R: Mark Suozzo, Chris Hajian, Joel Goodman, Dr. Ron Sadoff
SCL Honors TriBeCa Festival Composers
L-R: Chris Miller watches as Steven Flaherty explains the finer points of composing for theater 4
On April 17, 2015 The SCL NY offered a discussion of their work on the documentary “Prescription Thugs” between the writer Josh Hamilton and composer Joel Goodman at Downtown Television. The audience was treated to a discussion of documentary scoring
SCL Welcomes Shelby Comstock
The SCL welcomes Shelby Comstock as our new Associate Administrator for the New York wing of The Society of Composers & Lyricists. Shelby can be reached at email@example.com.
F A M I L Y M U S I C C A T A L O G S
The Challenges Faced By Heirs:
Part I: Getting To Know The Songwriter & The Publishing Business By Angela Rose White There are many challenges faced by heirs when taking on a family music catalog and attempting to maintain (or grow) the business. This article will acquaint the reader with some of the difficulties confronted by heirs of songwriters’, composers’, and/or publishers’ estates. Caveat: This is only a cursory overview of issues and suggestions for overcoming some of the difficulties encountered when first taking on a music catalog. Know Your Catalog And The History of the Writer
Many heirs are unfamiliar with the catalog they have inherited and they lack experience in the music publishing business. An important first step is to become familiar with the songwriter and the catalog of songs you are about to represent. Start with the Internet and search everything you can about the songwriter and his career. There is a wealth of information available on numerous sites, such as allmusic.com, IMDb, Wikipedia, Amazon. com, last.fm, and discogs.com. Learn as much as you can: Was he/she a composer? Was he/ she a lyricist? Did he/she write for movies or TV or both? Was he/she on contract with a studio at some time? Was he/she a member of a union? Did he/she write with other writers? Did he/she receive any awards? Was he/she a studio musician part time? What instruments did he/she play? Did he/she record music? Was he/she known as an artist or a member of a band? Did he/she perform live? Try to learn about his/her personal life as well. How old was he/she when he/she started his/her career? How old was he/she when he/she started writing and/or died? How many years was he/she in the business? Who did he/she work with or work for? What recordings, if any, are out there and what recording studios or labels was he/she on? Were there marriages or divorces you may not know about? Other children? Lawsuits? Check out music delivery sites, such as iTunes, Internet Radio, Pandora, Spotify, etc. to find out what music and recordings are associated with the composer/songwriter/ artist. Easy Transition Requires A Plan For The Future
Hindsight is always 20/20. The challenge
of taking on a family music catalog can be minimized with advance planning. If there is an opportunity while the songwriter/ composer is still alive, it’s best to become acquainted with the catalog then rather than after death. Learning about the business and how it’s being handled before the loss of the principals of the business makes the transition much easier. Planning for at least one family member to work in the business before the death of the songwriter/composer or his/ her spouse can not only ease the transition but also potentially eliminate disputes in the future. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a clear plan and there is more than one heir ready, willing, and possibly able to take on the business. Some of the scenarios demonstrating realistic challenges faced by heirs who inherit a music catalog include: A. One family member has a business background and is more well equipped to run the business but the other family members want to be involved as well; B. One family member was already running the business and now that the other members of the family are co-owners they want to work in the business and share in the income; C. The company is left to the children equally and there is no arrangement for running the business and no one is more capable but all want to be a part of it; D. The siblings are not close and possibly aligned unevenly; E. There are no children but there is a sister, brother, niece, or grandchild or multiples of each.
Planning for at least one family member to work in the business before the death of the songwriter/composer or his/her spouse can not only ease the transition but also potentially eliminate disputes in the future.
Planning ahead is the best. If you have been working in the business, try to secure an employment agreement with the appropriate owner (a trust, a corporation, the family, your mother) insuring the continuity of employment after the death of the songwriter. Failing a clear employment agreement, work out an alternative, where the one family member is the managing representative and will be responsible for “managing” the income on behalf of the other heirs. (There might be a financial arrangement whereby this “manager” is compensated for this extra work but its not always easy to reach an Continued on Next Page
The Challenges Faced By Heirs Continued from Page 5
agreement on this.) If siblings are left the business with no plan, it can lead to arguments and possibly lawsuits. If the heirs simply can’t agree there are a few options before it becomes too adversarial: 1. One or two siblings may be forced to buy-out the share of the other sibling(s); 2. A third party administrator can be designated to oversee the business on behalf of all of the heirs and to split the royalties; 3. The catalog (business) is divided and split so that all income is divided at the source of payment. (This is not a favored option. As discussed in Part 2, many companies are not willing to divide payments, particularly when the amount is as little as $12.00.) 4. There may have to be a sale of the catalog to a third party. (In this case, an interim manager or administrator may need to be retained.) In any event, and as discussed below in more detail, there will be mounds of documents to review and sort, especially for the older catalog (1930’s to the 1950’s. These documents may hold the answers to questions about succession of the business, among numerous other issues. Planning is also necessary in connection with income streams from guilds and/or unions. Beneficiary designations may need to be updated regularly, especially when the original songwriter/composer has passed away and the first beneficiary designated is already receiving income. What Do I Do With All This Paper? How Do I Know If It’s Important?
Many heirs taking on a music catalog are confronted with numerous boxes, files, drawers or stacks of “paper.” It’s important to know what is there before you can have a full picture; possibly there is a plan for management or directions for the heirs. Since many heirs take on a publishing business without knowing anything about publishing and don’t have time to learn it 6
before challenging the vast amounts of paper, a plan of attack is necessary. Boxes are a common alternative to files and computer-based organization especially with an older catalog. A simple method of sorting works well for the early days. If there is a filing system in place, go through the files and make a list of the name of each file. Try to determine if there is a pattern or logic behind the filing system. Then, take the list and organize it. Sort like documents together and make a list of the documents that appear regularly—most likely royalty statements, licenses, contracts such as recording agreements and publishing agreements, among a few. If song files don’t already exist, create a preliminary song list which can later be the outline for creating individual song files.
Documents filed with the state, such as marriage certificates, death certificates, divorce decrees, or court judgments are valuable tools for understanding historical ownership and may be needed to establish rights between various heirs or co-owners. Wills and trusts, and the related documents filed in probate proceedings such as letters testamentary, probate court filings, and orders for distribution, will be required to make changes in royalty distributions and PRO succession. Be aware of documents that indicate third parties (such as co-writers) who may co-own or share in income. Cowriters are not always obvious when first organizing; but they can appear with valuable claims that you don’t want to be surprised with and which can develop into a lawsuit.
There Are Over 20 Stacks Of Documents On My Dining Room Table But I Don’t Know What I Am Looking For!
There Is A Lot To Know. Will I Ever Understand This Business?
Now that the papers are sorted, look for the following: Contracts: There may be composer agreements; various songwriter agreements and/or standard songwriter agreements (common in the 40s and 50s), co-writer agreements; work-forhire agreements, publishing agreements, and recording contracts. Statements: Royalty statements from record companies, publishers, Sound Exchange, Harry Fox, television and film studios, among just a few examples. Licenses and Assignments: These words on a document deserve a red check mark. Keep these in a special place and be prepared to review them after you have a bit more grasp on the business. Copyright registrations, title lists and/or, other documents relating to the registration of a title with an organization such as The U.S. Copyright Office, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or Harry Fox Agency. (These documents are a great resource when compiling titles in the catalog.) Business formation documents, partnership agreements, buy and sell agreements, fictitious business name statements, are valuable in understanding a setup for publishing, for example.
There are several books on publishing which are good primers for understanding the business. The New Songwriter’s Guide to Music Publishing (Third Edition) by Randy Poe lays out a very plain and simple history of the publishing business. Standard books for your office will eventually include: Music, Money and Success by Todd and Jeff Brabec, Music Publishing: The Complete Guide by Steve Winogradsky, All You Need To Know About The Music Business (Eighth Edition) by Donald Passman, and Plain and Simple Guide To Music Publishing (Third Edition) by Randall D. Wixen. Attending AIMP, SCL, CCC meetings and workshops is helpful for several reasons: 1. It’s a chance to meet other catalog managers, publishers, songwriters, and music professionals such as attorneys and accountants; 2. It’s a great way to become familiar with music publishing concepts; and 3. A good tool for discovering current trends, resources, and people to connect to. Consult with music attorneys, family accountants, the Performance Right Organizations (PROs such as ASCAP, SESAC and BMI) and other heirs who are running catalogs, for guidance. Continued on Next Page
The SCL In NY Mentorship Program
By Chris Hajian
he SCL in NY Mentorship Program is in full swing and is currently in the middle of its second session. This program has taken off tremendously since it started only one year ago. An important initiative by SCL Steering Committee member Joel Beckerman to expand the program to NY, it has proven to be a huge success! Not only are we providing some terrific seminars and intensive programs but we are introducing The SCL to a new group of very talented young composers. The current group features some of the most talented young composers in the NYC area. There were close to 30 submissions for which we accepted eight young composers, five men and three women. It’s a diverse and talented group. The program averages two sessions per week, which has included writing and scoring assignments and critique in commercials, documentaries and film. There has been a session with Engineer/Mixer Gary Chester and Music Editor Todd Kasnow and a “Tech Session” with demonstrations and advice from Thor Jonsson and Andrea Pejrolo. There has also been a Music Business discussion with Entertainment Attorney Daniel Novick and Music Supervisor Doug Bernheim, in which they talked about composer deals, work-for-hire agreements and gave the students a great understanding of contracts and licensing. Other programs covered were “Working with Samples, Orchestration, Music Copying” with Russ Anixter, whose one of the top music copyists in NY, and a
The Challenges Faced By Heirs Continued from Page 6
What Do I Do Next?
Go back through your stacks of papers with more of a purpose. Determine the titles you are working with and who is listed as author (or authors.) Check the dates the songs were written and attempt to organize a list with the title, the author(s), the dates written and the dates for copyright registrations. Make sure you understand what a PRO is and then determine which one your catalog is associated with and make contact with it. Check out its database and print out all the titles where your songwriter is the writer and/or publisher. Make contact with publishers, licensees, and your performing rights organization and find out the procedure for changing address, designating new payees and beneficiaries and transferring publishing to new entity. If
one-on-one with Film and TV Composer John Kaefer. Mark Roos is running a Networking Workshop and Joe Saba at Video Helper will do a panel on Production Music. President Ashley Irwin will speak to the graduates at the end of the program. This Mentorship has become what it is because of the tireless work of the NY steering committee, especially Mark Roos, David Wolfert, Greg Pliska and Mark Suozzo. Chris Hajian has led this program and is thrilled with what has been accomplished and how engaged and dedicated the students are. We really created a kind of composer boot camp, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will leave this program with a better understanding of how to make the transition from student to professional, working composer. g
David Wolfert leads a discussion and writing study with the mentees
a Guild such as SAG/AFTRA or the Musician’s Union is involved, check the paperwork for the beneficiaries and succession of the benefits. Start to focus on who is sending royalty payments. Are the payment sources changing? For example, an artist royalty statement may have come from Capitol Records for many years and now those royalties are coming from Universal Music. (In Part 2 we will address some of the challenges resulting from mergers and acquisitions of publishing companies and record companies as well as collection problems with compilations of recordings.) Will I Need To Speak A Foreign Language?
Aside from the new language of music publishing and control, your catalog may have a presence outside the U.S.. If, while sorting, you are seeing agreements, royalties or statements from outside the U.S., determine where they are coming from, the name of the
source and what titles are involved. As you become more involved with the catalog you will begin to understand the international scope, if any, of your g catalog. “Part 2: The Practical Aspects Of Managing Rights And Collecting Income” will appear in the September 2015 issue of The Score. We would like to thank the contributors: Molly Hyman/Bob Russell Catalog, Julia Rivas/Harry Warren and Nancy Rollston/ Pete Carpenter and article author Angela Rose White/David Rose. Angela Rose White, an attorney from Los Angeles, California, is the C.O.O. of David Rose Publishing Co. (DRP), a music publishing company with a catalog of over 500 titles including TV themes and cues and themes for movies written in the late 1930s to 1990. In 2009, White founded DaBet Music Services and the publishing companies, Taste This Music (ASCAP), Vintage Gold (BMI), and Mels Taste (SESAC). DaBet provides organization and consulting services to songwriters and estates in connection with catalog management and royalty collection. 7
L-R: ASCAP President Paul Williams, ASCAP Founders Award honoree Elliot Goldenthal, director Michael Mann and ASCAP VP of Film & TV/Visual Media Shawn LeMone
L-R: ASCAP’s Michael Todd with Bear McCreary L-R: Paul Williams, Nancy Knutsen with a special award honoring her 27 years of service to ASCAP and the composer community, and John Williams
ASCAP 2015 Film & Television
n March 9, 2015 ASCAP held its 30th annual Film and Television Awards at the Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. For a complete list of winners check the www.ascap.com. Congratulations to all!
L-R: Sean Callery is presented his ASCAP Composers’ Choice Award for 2014 TV Composer of the Year from the Society of Composers & Lyricists President Ashley Irwin
L-R: James Levine, ASCAP’s Jennifer Harmon and Jim Dooley
L-R: Paramount President of Motion Picture Music Randy Spendlove, ASCAP Shirley Walker Award honoree Deborah Lurie, director Joe Nussbaum and ASCAP’s Jeff Jernigan L-R: Jack Wall presents Austin Wintory with the ASCAP Composers’ Choice Award for 2014 Video Game Score of the Year
Patrick Williams’ Live Recording Session For New Album
L-R: Composer, pianist and arranger Dave Grusin, BMI’s Doreen Ringer-Ross and BMI composer Patrick Williams
enowned arranger/composer and BMI Richard Kirk Award recipient Patrick Williams recently hosted two invitation-only live recording sessions in March for his highly anticipated upcoming album, Home Suite Home. Held at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA, BMI’s Vice President, Film/TV Relations Doreen RingerRoss attended in support of the composer, joining guests in the studio for a sneak peek listen to the upcoming release. The once-in-a-lifetime performances featured a big band, with 17 of the world’s top musicians joining Williams on the recordings. BMI Richard Kirk Award recipient Dave Grusin played piano; Chuck Berghofer, bass; Peter Erskine, drums and Dean Parks, guitar. The saxophone section featured Dan Higgins and Jeff Driskill on alto sax, Bob Sheppard and Tom Scott on tenor sax and Gene Cipriano on baritone sax. Wayne Bergeron, Arturo Sandoval, Gary Grant and Dan Fornero took up their famous trumpets while Charlie Loper, Andy Martin and Bob McChesney played trombone with Craig Gosnell on bass trombone.
T E C H T A L K
Grit In The Machine
By Fletcher Beasley
t wasn’t that long ago that music tracks were recorded to analog tape. Although that method has been superseded by recording to hard disks for most recordings, many engineers still use analog equipment when tracking and mixing. Why continue to use analog equipment when digital is so much more convenient? Simply put, analog devices color sound in ways that we like. Analog transforms the recording signal by saturating and distorting the sound in pleasing ways. Digital recording technology doesn’t impart the same kind of sonic footprint. It captures it in a colorless way. But we like color. We like the imperfections that shade what we are hearing. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t have access to a vintage Neve console and a wide array of classic gear, there are many plugins that can approximate this in the digital realm. We have plugins that saturate, distort, compress and amplify our signal paths in an attempt to recapture the magic of analog audio, many of which may be included with your DAW. Analog emulators can bring a bit of grit, grime and dirt to sounds that otherwise sound too pristine. Guitars, keyboards, synths, drums and even vocals often benefit from a bit of analog smear and using these plugins can degrade the sound in ways that give them character, allowing them to exist more harmoniously in the mix and create a more organic sound. Strange as it may seem, to get a better overall sound it is sometimes necessary to make the sounds more low fidelity. Many times when I load up a virtual instrument I find there is something too perfect about it. It may be beautifully sampled but it sounds too clean, too flawless. When I attempt to put it next to an electric guitar (a grungy instrument if there ever was one) in an arrangement, it doesn’t sit well because the virtual instrument lacks the flaws and imperfections inherent in the guitar. That is where distortion comes in. I love distortion. I love the big, in your face, brain-melting distortion that you hear on hard edged tracks, but more often I use it in a subtle way. I will add a plugin on the channel strip that allows me to futz up the sound ever so slightly. You wouldn’t describe it as being distorted, in fact, you might not even notice the distortion unless you listened very closely because I’m not trying to make the part sound distorted.
I’m simply trying to give it a little edge and add some harmonic excitement. There are many plugins that can be used to add distortion. Some have the word “distortion” in the name but they may use words like “saturation,” “overdrive” or “lofi.” Generally, they are found in the harmonic section of your DAW’s plugins because they add harmonic content to the sound. Your DAW probably has some good built-in distortion effects available to you. For example, Logic has a whole section of distortion plugins. For subtle effects, I prefer ones that emulate analog distortion such as Distortion II over the extreme digital destruction of Bitcrusher. And a little goes a long way. I will often add just enough that the sound is warmed up but not so much that the distortion calls attention to itself. Another way to add a bit of grit is to run a sound through an amp simulator. You may have done this with a guitar or bass but virtual amps sound great on keyboards, percussion, and drums. Even vocals can sound cool running through an amp. Most of the DAWs now come with amp simulators and there are plenty of good third party plugins, such as Native Instrument’s Guitar Rig and IK Multimedia’s Amplitube. A little knowledge of what different types of amps sound like is helpful. Typically the plugin amp’s interface will closely resemble the type of amp it is supposed to sound like and a Google search on “guitar amplifier” can give you an idea of what the real amp is. Unsure of what those amps sound like? Take a look at what guitar players use them and then give a listen to their sound. You will soon discover that an amplifier like a Marshall is well suited for harder edged sounds, whereas Fenders tend to give a cleaner less distorted tone. Amplifier plugins also may include guitar stompbox emulators that can modulate, delay, filter, compress and further mangle the sound in ways that are gloriously lo fi. If you want just a little bit of the amp or stompbox effect in the sound, try loading it on an aux channel and using a send on your channel strip so you can easily blend in as much of the amplified sound as you wish. Creative use of compression can also add character to otherwise lifeless sounds. Although compressors are primarily used to tame the amplitude envelope of an instrument they can also be used to impart some analog
Analog emulators can bring a bit of grit, grime and dirt to sounds that otherwise sound too pristine.
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ike Stoller and Corky Hale were honored by The California Jazz Foundation on April 25, 2015 for their philanthropic work in the music community. Congratulations!
By Lori Barth
Thursday, April 23, 2015, The Alliance for Women Film Composers MeetUp gathered at the home of Lolita Ritmanis
ASCAP dinner at SXSW with ASCAP composers Timothy Williams, Brian Satterwhite, Krakower Poling PR’s Beth Krakower, ASCAP Director Jeff Jernigan and composer Ian Hultquist g g g
L-R: Nan Schwarz, Lori Barth, Laura Karpman and Lynn Kowal g g g
Shie Rozow received the Grand Jury Award for Jasmine at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in April 2015. Congrats!
L-R: Mike Stoller and Corky Hale g g g
L-R: Position Music’s Jake Versluis and Tyler Bacon with SESAC’s Erin Collins
Lolita Ritmanis conducting music from her scores to The Justice League, Mystery of the Batwoman and Batman: The Brave and the Bold at the Golden State Pops Orchestra’s Superhero Soundtracks g g g
SESAC hosted a dinner at the Sundance Film Festival 2015 to honor the affiliated composers whose films premiered at the revered festival. Composers, agents, executives and other industry professionals were among the guests at the event held in Park City, Utah. SESAC composers, including Saunder Jurriaans and Brian McOmber represented six of the premiering films.
Shie Rozow g g g
BMI kicked off its SXSW 2015 schedule in March with a dinner party for composers and other key members of the film/tv industry in Austin, TX. A who’s who of indie filmmakers filled Cantina Laredo to mingle with many of contemporary film music’s most indemand composers.
L-R: Lori Barth and Cyril Morin
Cyril Morin screened Hacker’s Game, a film he wrote, directed and scored, on March 6 at the Arena Theatre in Hollywood, CA. 10
L-R: Saunder Jurriaans, Brian McOmber and SESAC’s Erin Collins
BMI’s Director, Film/TV Relations Anne Cecere poses with BMI composers Adam Robl (l) and Shawn Sutta (r) at the world premiere of their film Uncle John, which was screened at the SXSW Film Festival
MI’s Director, Film/TV Relations Anne Cecere proudly represented BMI by co-moderating with President of Krakower Poling PR, Chandler Poling, an in-depth panel entitled “Drawing Notes: Inside the Music of Animation” on April 3, 2015, during WonderCon, held at the Anaheim Convention Center. The panel featured Yu-Gi-Oh and Sonic X composer Joel Douek and Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion and Kristopher Carter, composers of Justice League and Avengers Assemble. Following the discussion that focused on the composers’ inspirations for the music behind imaginary animated worlds, was an informative Q&A. Then, panel participants took time to meet and greet fans.
By Lori Barth
L-R backstage at WonderCon are: Krakower Poling PR’s Chandler Poling, BMI composers Lolita Ritmanis, Michael McCuistion, BMI’s Anne Cecere, BMI composer Kristopher Carter and composer Joel Douek
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Iceland held a luncheon entitled “Made In Iceland” at The Fokr in Hollywood on April 8, 2015 to celebrate to celebrate and honor the pop and film music from that country. The event was attended by PRO representatives, music supervisors, and music industry folk. L-R: Costa Communication’s Asenath Nakayama and Lori Barth g g g
L-R: BMI’s Anne Cecere, actress Tiffany Dupont (plays Kelly Bennett), 90210 actor Trevor Donovan (plays Noah Weaver), director Terry Cunningham and BMI composer & SCL member Jamie Christopherson
L-R: UCLA Extension Program Director Pascale Cohen-Olivar, UCLA Extension Music Program Representative Zeph Nowland, BMI’s Doreen Ringer Ross and BMI/Jerry Goldsmith Film Scoring Scholarship recipient Martin Ulikhanyan
BMI’s Director, Film/TV Relations Anne Cecere recently attended a private screening of the film Love Finds You in Charm in support of the film’s composer, Jamie Christopherson held at Harmony Gold Theater in Hollywood.
BMI Vice President, Film/TV Relations Doreen Ringer-Ross and Pascale Cohen-Olivar, Program Director, UCLA Extension, have announced that Martin Ulikhanyan has been awarded the 2015 BMI/Jerry Goldsmith Film Scoring Scholarship.
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Lolita Ritmanis had the pleasure in October of attending the premiere of her new Symphonic work “Uvertira Gaismai” (translation: Overture to Light) in Riga, Latvia, performed by the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra.
Andrea Morricone conducted his film music at a concert on Friday, February 13 at The Broad Theatre in Santa Monica entitled Cinematic Visions: New arrangements of Timeless Masterpieces with Amor Symphonic Org chestra and Choir. Andrea Morricone
15 Minutes With
Jóhann Jóhannsson IN T E RV IE WE D BY G R E G P L IS K A & D AV ID W EISS
After an evening screening of The Theory of Everything, including an excellent Q & A moderated by Dr. Ron Sadoff, we sat down to chat with Oscarnominated and Golden Globe-winning composer Jóhann Jóhannsson about his composing process, his approach to film and theater work, and how to navigate failure in order to achieve success. Score: You said something last night, after the Theory of Everything screening, that was interesting. You said that your natural instinct is to write emotionally direct music, which I think is clear in the score. But it seems like there is now a tendency in films to want to back away from emotion, to make everything neutral, to not convey too much emotion. Do you feel you have to navigate that? J.J.: I have the reverse feeling, that too often film scores are overly dramatic or sentimental or melodramatic. I guess it’s a matter of taste, and a matter of gradation. There’s a sense that people are sometimes afraid of melody—that they have a tendency to shy away from melody. Certainly we didn’t have any thoughts in that direction on this film, no fear of that. Score: That’s evident in the score. Before I listened to the soundtrack I read a few pieces that describe your music as “minimalist”—in fact, iTunes applied that label to the soundtrack when I downloaded it! And when you listen to the first cue, which starts with that piano theme, and you say, “Oh, that sounds like a minimalist thing.” But then it suddenly becomes something more, with a huge emotional sweep. J.J.: Yes. At the same time we are very careful about the gradation and temperature of music, the sense of keeping restraint to the emotion, and finding the right moments for the music. It’s easy to get it wrong, and it’s easy to lay it on too thick. Often what happens is that the filmmakers don’t trust that the scene is conveying the emotion, and so the music is used to emphasize and bring out emotion that isn’t there. In Theory of Everything I think we had performances that were so strong—we had these wonderful actors and these poignant and harrowing performances Continued on Next Page
that didn’t need a layer of emotional underscoring. We were able to zero in on the moments where music could make the film soar. In that case, music can take something which is wonderful and make it sublime. Score: And if it’s not wonderful the music is going to make it look false. You said yesterday that you had written a couple cues for the lecture scene first, cues that turned out to be wrong. I’m curious—since we have a lot of younger composers in the SCL, and in our mentorship program—what advice do you have for a younger composer in that situation? We all want to please, we’re all afraid of failure, and so when you create a cue that is “wrong”—how do you get through that? J.J.: Well, it’s a process of finding the voice of the film. And it’s always a collaboration. Filmmaking is a collaborative art; there’s no one author. There are some films, say, European films, where you can say there’s a singular author of the film, but on a Hollywood film there’s no one author. It’s the combined efforts of a large team of creative people, and I’m just one member of that team. The director is the leader. And so, it’s just about approaching it as any other collaboration. You try things out, you throw ideas out there, and some things work and something don’t. Failure is a part of the process. And it’s a very important part of the process. Score: I’d love to do a panel on how to deal with failure. It would just require finding several panelists to admit that they’ve failed! J.J.: You can’t succeed without failure. It’s an absolutely integral part of any process, to get things wrong. Then you slowly find the right way, through trial and error. Score: As you’ve said, if you enter the world of the filmmaker and the picture and understand the story they’re trying to tell, and you’re on the same page in the collaboration with what the goal is, then every failure is just a step towards finding the right path to that goal. When you sit down to write, where do your ideas come from? Do you find
yourself gravitating towards rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre? Something else? J.J.: It’s really all three. Or four. It depends on the scene. Sometimes I start with a sound or a kind of textural idea. And in filmmaking you very often start with rhythm, since film is about editing, and editing is very musical. The editor’s job is a very musical job. So very often you start with determining the rhythm of the sequence, and finding the beats—both in the dramatic sense but also in the musical sense. The main thing is to be open and be receptive. My main challenge when working out a project is to be in a receptive state, where ideas come to you. That is almost half the battle. It’s almost spiritual. I’m not a hugely spiritual person, but I have that side of me, where you really have to put yourself in strong contact with your subconscious: Turn off the inner censor and open up for an idea from your innermost, visceral self. That’s where the ideas come from. Score: In front of what do you write? A piece of paper? A piano? A keyboard? A computer? J.J.: I tend to write on a keyboard, or just write into the computer. When I’m first generating ideas, I also like to write when I’m out walking. You get an idea and you either jot it down in a notebook or whistle it into your phone. That’s another aspect of being open to ideas, which is very important. But it terms of the physical act of writing, I tend to write at the keyboard. Score: Using keyboard sounds, or are you already starting to develop orchestral sounds? J.J.: I tend to start with piano. I have a piano in my studio and I very often work out the ideas on the piano and then move to the computer to lay them against picture and work them out structurally.
Of Everything I don’t have time to do the physical layout of the orchestration, but I give the orchestrator very clear instructions about the sound. So on the score I often have a co-orchestrator credit. Score: You’re not just throwing up a string pad. J.J.: No, it’s very detailed and the voicings are very clear. The articulations and timbres and bowings—the different aspects of the orchestration—are there from the beginning in the demo and in the notes. The orchestrator’s job is very important, obviously—but for my scores it’s more of a layout job rather than being enormously creative. Score: What sample libraries do you love, or find yourself going back to all the time? J.J.: I use the Spitfire libraries all the time. Score: The Albion? J.J.: Yes. I have the LA Scoring Strings, Cinematic Strings. I’ve got the East/ West, I have the Vienna—bits of it. There’s no single go-to library. I try to find aspects of each library that are useful; they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Score: The current project you’re working on, Sicario, has a lot of extended techniques, right? Which are really hard to find samples for. J.J.: Very hard. I’m working with a director whom I’ve worked with before and there’s a certain degree of trust. I can explain to him, “Here I’m going to do this,” and he trusts me. Score: Do you ever play for him examples, like Bartok or Penderecki or something that has that particular sound?
Score: There’s a lot of careful string writing in the soundtrack, and nuance in the string timbres—harmonics, sul ponticello stuff, muted strings. Do you do your own orchestration?
J.J.: Not really. It’s more explaining it to him in non-musical terms. And he’s not so interested in the details of it, but rather the overall feel. I’ve developed some tricks, in terms of using libraries, too, where you can approximate sounds. On the Sicario score, too, I’ve recorded a lot of demos. There’s a cellist I work with a lot who comes in and records a lot of the more extended techniques.
J.J.: I do very careful demos, and I do detailed notes. On a project like Theory
Score: So you can get exactly what you want. Continued on Next Page 13
Jóhannsson Interview Continued from Page 13
J.J.: Yes, in the demo. It’s never going to be like an orchestra, but it approximates it more than a library could. Score: I see the opposite a lot, where someone grabs the thing in the library that they like—say, playing behind the bridge—and then says, “Can you make the orchestra do this thing?” J.J.: So it sounds exactly like the library! Score: Do you feel differently about your film work and theater work? The way you describe the former is exactly the way I would describe the latter: it’s a collaboration among equals who are trying to create the final result. Do you feel you have a different approach to each? J.J.: I haven’t done theater in a while, but it is remarkably similar—especially since I think I was a very cinematic theater composer! I tended to score plays a little bit like a film. It’s not a dissimilar process at all. Score: Often people say film directors don’t trust theater composers because they’re too emotional or demonstrative, and vice versa, theater directors don’t trust film composers. But now it seems like those distinctions are getting blurred. J.J.: It seems like those worlds don’t intersect so much here—in the States. Do you do a lot of theater?
Score: I do a lot of theater and a lot of film, and I’m a weird anomaly, navigating between those two. My colleagues in one are rarely the same as my colleagues in the other. J.J.: Well, there are people like Philip Glass, but he’s a special case. Score: You had the privilege of recording at the famed Abbey Road Studios, and you said that it sounds “like no other room.” Can you characterize that sound in more detail? J.J.: It’s a sound that has a lot of space. It’s not fair to compare Air and Abbey Road Studios, which are the main orchestra rooms in London. Air is wonderful—I recorded Prisoners in there— it has a shorter reverb time, but a lot of space. At Abbey Road, there’s an acoustic property that allows every instrument to be very clearly heard; it’s just perfectly suited to an orchestra of a certain size. It allows each instrument to really define its own space in the spectrum. So if you have a good piece of music, and it’s well orchestrated and arranged, you can get a sound there unlike any other. I think it’s also a great-sounding room to play in, so the players feel good there. That’s very important! Score: Let’s wrap up looking back at your homeland. What is it about Iceland that generates such interesting musicians?
J.J.: That’s a good question! (Laughs) One, that’s a little bit hard to answer. I think we have a strong history of being storytellers, which is deeply ingrained in the Icelandic national identity. The people who wrote the Nordic sagas a thousand years ago were all Icelanders. The Icelanders were the bards and poets of the Scandinavian and Nordic courts. It was Icelanders who were recording the stories of their Nordic kin, and putting those mythologies in writing. So it’s a strong part of the national identity to be storytellers, artists, and poets—it doesn’t feel like a weird undertaking to become an artist. I think it’s something that’s very accepted in the society, and there’s something about a close-knit community that’s very cooperative. Everyone is in three or four bands; everyone plays in each other’s band. It’s a very good place to develop your sounds, and I spent years there, just playing with different people and experimenting. Iceland is a good place to hone your craft for a very small audience. Then, once you get good, you take it further —you go out into the wide world and spread your wings. That’s how a lot of Icelandic artists have developed. Score: Thank you Johann for taking the time to talk to us. We look forward to g hearing more from you. Portions of this interview originally appeared in SonicScoop. www.sonicscoop.com
The Alliance For Women Film Composers Meet-up On Thursday, April 23, 2015, The Alliance for Women Film Composers gathered at the home of Lolita Ritmanis to mingle and discuss issues relating to women and the film composing community.
L-R: Danielle Brisbois, ASCAP’s Shawn Patterson, Lynn Kowal, Gregg Alexander and Phil Gallo Back row, L-R: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Julian Raymond, Gary Yershon, Gregg Alexamder, Danielle Brisbois, Common, Alexandre Desplat. Front row, L-R: Charles Bernstein, Kim Campbell, Shawn Patterson, Diane Warren
2015 SCL Oscar Reception
T L-R: Charles Bernstein with Alexandre Desplat
he SCL held its annual Oscar Reception celebrating the nominees for Best Original Score and Song at La Boheme Restaurant in West Hollywood on February 21, 2015. The capacity crowd enjoyed the lively event with champagne toasts and warm camaraderie.
L-R: SCL President Ashley Irwin, Dennis Spiegel and Jullian Raymond
L-R: Dara Taylor, Lynn Kowal, Shelly Markham and Adryan Russ L-R: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Kevin Korn (agent at GSA), Tim Husom (Manager, Spectrevision)
L-R: Lynn Kowal and Common
L-R: SESAC’s Erin Collins, Dana Childs and James Leach L-R: Mike Lang, Stephen Endelman, Benoit Grey L-R: Pinar Topak, Darice Richman, Jay Cooper, Héléne Muddiman, Kelsi Taglang
L-R: Jeff Sanderson, Ray Costa and Albert Tello
L-R: Lori Barth and Greg O’Connor
L-R: Gary and Laurie Woods with Arthur Hamilton 15
Broadway: Composer, Lyricist And Songwriter Royalties And Deals Continued from Page 1
(book writer, lyricist, composer) scenery, props, costumes, sound, creative fees (lighting, sound, costume and scenic designers, musical supervisor, dance music arranger, orchestrator, choreographer, director, etc.), production fees (general manager, casting directors, production managers, accounting, legal, etc.), rehearsal salaries and fees, theatre rental, hauling and storage and general and administrative costs (executive producer and production consultant fees, office operating costs, payroll service, insurance, etc.). In some cases, the theatre itself has to be reconstructed which can lead to additional costs over and above those related directly to the musical. Music Licensing Agreements
There are three basic contracts/license arrangements that cover most situations on Broadway. They are (1) The Dramatists Guild of America (DGA) Approved Production Contract (APC), (2) Royalty Pool arrangements and (3) Fixed Dollar royalty shows. Variations of these are found in practically all Broadway productions from original shows, to revivals to “catalogue musicals.” 1. Dramatists Guild Approved Production Contract The Dramatists Guild of America (DGA) is a professional association of playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists for the stage. As part of its role, this organization provides model contracts for all levels of production (Broadway, touring companies, amateur, etc.) and gives advice to members on how their contracts compare to industry standards. The “model contracts” are very comprehensive and are designed to make sure creators receive fair compensation as well as retain significant control over their works. They cover every important area including advance payments, option periods, copyright ownership, royalty adjustments, production rights and subsidiary rights, among others. The Approved Production Contract (APC) deals with what happens to productions before, during and after they are produced. When a Producer 16
becomes interested in a property, he or she will enter into an APC to acquire an option to produce the play from the book writer, composer and lyricist. This option provides exclusive rights to produce the play as well as the time frame within which to do so. The APC requires certain minimum payments prior to the actual Broadway opening. The minimum option payments are $18,000 total for the Author (composer, lyricist and book writer combined) for the period of 12 months following the effective date of the contract, $9,000 total for a second consecutive 12-month period and $900 total per month for a maximum of 12 additional consecutive months. Option payments are nonreturnable but shall be deductible from royalties. For the first 12 out-of-town performance weeks prior to the Broadway opening, the composer, lyricist and book writer are guaranteed a total of $4,500 for each full performance week of 8 performances, pro-rated for weeks in which a smaller number of performances are given. Commencing with the 13th week, the three creative participants receive 4.5% of the Gross Weekly Box Office Receipts (GWBOR) until such time as all production costs are recouped. Once the show recoups its entire investment plus a return on that investment (normally a figure of 110% of the total), the 4.5% figure is increased to 6% of the GWBOR with the composer, lyricist and book writer each receiving 2%. A number of additional APC clauses affect royalties including how the initial writer guarantees are treated as well as the possibility of additional payments to the writers based on the amount of capitalization of the show. Keep in mind that the DGA contract is a model contract and not mandatory though numerous productions still use it. Many others use its provisions as a guide or as a starting point for negotiations. Also, for writers of a certain stature, as in other areas of Entertainment, “everything is negotiable.” A good example of how the DGA APC formula works is as follows: A new show opens on Broadway and is a smash hit. It has weekly box office grosses of $1.25 million. The composer and lyricist would receive 3% of this
total (2/3 of the 4.5% royalty figure) prior to full recoupment and 4% of the total (2/3 of the 6% royalty figure) once the show finally recoups its total investment. In this example, the total weekly composer and lyricist prerecoupment dollar figure would be $37,500 with the weekly post recoupment number at $50,000 (in each case less some minor deductions). It is important to keep in mind that the copyright ownership of intellectual property is very different in the theatre world than in most other areas of entertainment. To quote the DGA, “The author (book writer, composer and lyricist) shall retain sole and complete title, both legal and equitable, in and to the play and all rights and uses of every kind except as specifically herein provided. Further all contracts for the publication of the music and lyrics of the play shall provide that the copyright be in the names of the composer and lyricist.” 2. Royalty Pools The most common type of formula being used on Broadway today is the “Royalty Pool” arrangement whereby all royalty participants (for example, music and lyric writers, book writer, director, choreographer, underlying rights owner, producer, etc.) share in an agreed-upon percentage of the weekly operating profits of the musical with certain guaranteed minimum perpoint royalties. The total amount of money in the royalty pool is based on a show’s operating profits, which is the difference between the GWBOR and the actual weekly running expenses of the show. For example, a show grossing $1.25 million in GWBOR with operating costs of $700,000 would have operating profits of $550,000. If the royalty pool percentage for this show was 35%, the royalty participants would receive a total of $192,500 (35% of $550,000) with the investors receiving $357,500 (65% of $550,000). Once the royalty pool percentage of GWBOR is set, all royalty participants are assigned points in the pool and distributions are made based on the number of points each participant has. If there were a total of 20 points and the composer and lyricist had Continued on Next Page
Broadway: Composer, Lyricist And Songwriter Royalties And Deals Continued from Page 16
three points each with the remaining 14 points allocated to all other royalty participants, the royalty split on $192,500 would be $28,875 to the composer, $28,875 to the lyricist and $134,750 payable to all others. In addition, there is a minimum royalty that must be paid to all royalty participants if the show is not running a weekly profit (i.e., it is breaking even or operating at a loss). This royalty is based on a set dollar value for each point that a participant has in the pool. If the minimum per point value was $500, each party would multiply their points by $500 and that would be their respective royalty for that week. These calculations are usually made on a monthly basis. Finally, the royalty pool percentage can be increased once a show achieves 110%-125% full investor recoupment of total capitalization. For example, it can go from a 35% pool to a 40% pool. This minimum royalty clause insures that the royalty participants will receive some compensation during periods when the show is trying to find an audience, is struggling or is just in a temporary “down period.” Occasionally, royalty participants may forego or reduce these minimums if it helps to keep the show open. 3. Fixed Dollar Shows/Combination with Royalty Pool In situations where the Broadway show is using pre-existing songs, the producer sometimes may try to negotiate a specified weekly dollar payment (e.g., $600 per song per week). Under such a plan, the Producer does not have to deal with a percentage of box office receipts formula or a royalty pool. Whether the show is a hit or a flop, the figure remains the same. These payments are normally based on an eight-performance week and are reduced proportionally if there are less than eight. In the case of so-called “Catalogue Musicals,” many times two formulas will be used. Well-known songs and songs integral to the story may be paid on a Royalty Pool basis or a percentage of box office receipts calculation (as in the DGA/APC discussed above) whereas other songs in the show re-
ceive Fixed Dollar weekly amounts. Obviously, this is an area for negotiation as it can have a significant effect on the amount of royalties a songwriter and his or her music publisher receives especially if the show is a hit. Since it often takes years to develop a musical for presentation as a first run commercial production, the agreement for use of a pre-existing song in a musical will provide for a development period. For example, an agreement might read that the producer will have two years to have the musical open on Broadway or other first run venue. During this period, the right to make theatrical use of the compositions often will be exclusive to the producer for live theatrical use and there will be a payment made to secure these rights (sometimes in the form of an advance, recoupable from future royalties). Since you never know how long it is going to take to fully develop a theatrical musical, to say nothing of securing the necessary financing, the producer usually has an option to extend the development period for an additional period of time (one year, two years, etc.) with payment of an additional advance to the composers and lyricists (and/or music publisher, if applicable). It should also be noted that, depending on the amount of money being paid for the commitment to be able to use the composition or compositions in the “to-be-developed musical,” the rights may or may not be exclusive since exclusivity ties up the composition for use in this area for a period of time with no guarantee that the show will actually be produced. Thus, the money being paid can be a very important issue when the producer introduces the concept of “exclusivity” into the negotiations as opposed to “the nonexclusive right to use the composition” in the show. Subsidiary Rights/ Producer Vesting
It is important to remember that the Author (a term that includes the book writer, composer and lyricist jointly) owns and controls the play and has the right to exploit the work in other media or in other ways besides First Class live stage performances, including audio-
visual productions (motion pictures, television, soundtrack albums), commercial use products (toys, games, clothes), stock, amateur and ancillary performances and performances in other territories, as well as revivals, remakes, prequels, sequels and spinoffs after the expiration of the Producer’s right to produce the play in the originally agreed upon territory. When a Producer has presented the show within a specified territory for a specific number of First Class Performances (a combination of out of town, previews, opening and regular performances), the Producer becomes “Vested” in subsidiary rights and becomes entitled to certain decisionmaking and financial participation rights with respect to the disposition of Subsidiary Rights in the territory and, in some cases, the rest of the world. The “Vesting” concept recognizes the contribution that a Producer’s successful production has made to the value of other rights in the play. Grand Rights Song License Agreement
When a Producer wants to use a pre-existing composition in a musical, the negotiated agreement between the copyright owner (usually the music publisher or administrator) and the Producer is referred to as a Grand Rights License Agreement. The term “grand rights” is used to distinguish dramatic performances, i.e., those within a musical play or other dramatico-musical work, from nondramatic or small right performances, which are performances without any dramatic element (that is, no book, staging, costumes, dramatic gestures, etc.) that are most often licensed through a performing right society. This eight-to-ten-page agreement grants the live stage rights (Grand and Dramatic) to the Producer for a specific Broadway or Off-Broadway production. The publisher grants an “exclusive option” to present an initial First Class (or Second Class) production in the United States and Canada within a specified period of time usually with advances paid if option periods are involved. If the Producer presents the required number of public theatrical performances, Producer will have “Vested” and
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Broadway: Composer, Lyricist And Songwriter Royalties And Deals Continued from Page 17
will have the right to license additional productions throughout the territory. The royalty structure for the preexisting composition can either be a fixed dollar amount per week, a royalty pool arrangement with a minimum weekly guarantee or a GWBOR formula pursuant to the DGA APC contract. The Producer will also negotiate a Subsidiary Rights clause with specified fees and royalties if the production is licensed for presentation in motion pictures, radio, television, cast albums or any other audio or audio-visual format. The Producer also has the right to arrange the composition provided it does not alter the fundamental character of the composition. Warranties and dispute resolution procedures are also set forth in the agreement. Writing A New Song For A Musical The basic structure for this type of agreement is as follows: As to Services, the writer is hired to compose the music and lyrics to one song for the new musical. Composer is to deliver the composition according to an agreed-upon schedule and revise upon request. The Producer, in the case of a non-work-made-for-hire situation, acquires the sole and exclusive license to use the song in any and all versions, productions, etc. of the musical as well as the writer’s name and likeness, right of publicity and promo rights on a non-exclusive basis. If the song is included in the official opening night, the Producer’s rights will be perpetual. Further, if the song is used, the Producer can place it on cast albums and merchandise and has the right to embody the composition in a motion picture, television or other audio-visual adaptation. If the song is not used in the Broadway opening or a first class production within a certain period of time, all rights will revert back to the writer except for any intellectual property elements in the song owned by the Producer. A creative writing fee would be negotiated (e.g., 1/3 upon signing the agreement, 1/3 upon delivery of a final version and 1/3 if the song is included in the full draft of the script) along with royalty clauses either reflecting 18
the APC percentages, a Royalty Pool or some other arrangement as well as all customary composer and lyricist shares of subsidiary rights income as set forth in Article XI of the Dramatists Guild of America Approved Production Contract (DGA APC). Credit, warranty and indemnification clauses, among others, would also be negotiated. Underlying Rights Agreement
The Underlying Rights agreement is negotiated when a Producer wants to make a musical from a pre-existing work. Obvious examples are musicals based on motion pictures. Considering that practically all of the original music in a film (score and songs specifically written for the film) are written under work-for-hire contracts, the underlying rights owner(the studio, for example) already controls all rights in the work including the music. The Underlying Rights/Copyright owner normally receives a royalty percent equal to the composer, lyricist or book writer under the APC contract and is normally in the area of 2% of the GWBOR with a possible increase upon recoupment. This agreement grants a license to produce and present one dramatico musical play based upon the motion picture entitled ___ and upon the original screenplay upon which the play is based. The Grant of Rights includes the worldwide live stage dramaticomusical rights in and to the property and all component parts of the property including without limitation the unrestricted right to adapt, translate, change, rearrange, interpolate in, add to ( including the addition of music and lyrics) and subtract from the property all in the Producer’s sole discretion. In addition, the Producer has the right to engage persons to write or revise the play based on the property and compose music and lyrics for the play in accordance with the provisions of the overall agreement. The Producer also has the right to exploit the publication, mechanical reproduction, synchronization and small performance rights in the separate music and/or lyrics of the play. The underlying rights owner many times has the right to approve the musical’s book writer, composer and lyricist and also participate in a share of the Subsidiary Rights proceeds.
It is important for any composer, lyricist or songwriter who created works under a work-for-hire agreement for the feature film now being made into a musical to determine what royalty structure will govern their compositions if used in the final Broadway production. The possibilities include the Dramatists Guild pre- and post-recoupment percentages, a royalty pool participation, a creator’s Schedule A royalty addendum attached to the original work-for-hire agreement granting “50% of monies received for areas of exploitation not expressly set forth” or some other arrangement. Conclusion
Broadway is a very special world with its own rules, traditions and ways of doing business. It is also a world where 75% of all shows never recoup their investment and a world where “new players” in the field have revised some of the traditional compensation and copyright ownership rules. To some it’s a closed shop difficult to break into, to others it’s a world of new, varied and exciting opportunities for creation. Granted, for anyone to have success in this area, the book, music and lyrics all have to work well in conjunction with every other aspect of the production. What we have tried to do in this article is to provide the basics of what composers, lyricists and songwriters need to know to achieve financial success in the world of the g theatre. © 2015, Todd Brabec, Jeff Brabec
Todd Brabec, former ASCAP Executive Vice President and Jeff Brabec, Vice President Business Affairs at BMG Chrysalis, are Deems Taylor Award winning authors of Music Money and Success: The Insider’s Guide to Making Money in the Music Business and Adjunct Professors at USC. UCLA Extension Bringing the Power of Music to Film: A Seminar with Charles Bernstein Course begins Wednesday, June 24TH from 6:30 – 10PM Registration # 256082, 4 Units of credit. Contact Extension at uclaextension.edu or 310-825-9971 for details, pricing and possible SCL discount.
Recent SCL Events By Dara Taylor
On April 2, 2015 The SCL in collaboration with Richard Kraft presented “Make More Music. Make More Money,” a special evening of TED-style Talks from a wide range of inspiring and informative speakers from the media music industry.
n February 12, 2015 The SCL held a seminar entitled “Monetizing Your Music on the Web” with Jenn Miller, David Gluck, Todd Brabec, William Goldstein and Moderator and SCL Music Rights Chair Garry Schyman.
L-R: Dan Foliart, SCL President Ashley Irwin, Adryan Russ, Paul Williams, ASCAP’s Loretta Munoz and ASCAP’s Michael Todd L-R: Jenn Miller, SCL Music Rights Chair Garry Schyman, David Gluck, Todd Brabec, William Goldstein g g g
On March 18, 2015 The SCL and ASCAP held a special “Songwriting Evening with Paul Williams,” moderOn April 20, 2015 The SCL held its ated by SCL Board Member Adryan annual Golf Outing at Brookside Golf Russ. Club in Pasadena. g g g
L-R: Ralph Grierson, Stephen Erdody, Glenn Jordan, Stephen Coleman, Patrick Clancy, Shawn LeMone, Chris Saranec, Dave Kinnion, Bruce Dukov, Matthew J Doughty, Karin Okada, Larry Deary, Jeffery Michael, Jack Wall, Alan Williams, Billy Martin, John Krovoza, Jeff Goodlund, Mike Rubino, Dan Foliart
Eimear Noone with multinational podium participants at the SCL Conducting Masterclass
On March 7, 2015 The SCL held its biannual “Conducting Techniques for Composers” masterclass led by conductor Eimear Noone.
Grit In The Machine Continued from Page 9
warmth. Mixers sometimes run sounds through analog compressors without compressing the signal, simply to add the compressor’s character to the sound. This approach can be used with compressor plugins that emulate classic analog compressors. For example, Logic’s new compressor has buttons at the top of the interface which allow you to apply models of compressors with tube, optical, VCA and FET circuitry. These models all have different sonic characteristics that will change the timbre of the sound in subtle ways, in addition to compressing the signal. There are good articles on the Internet which explain the differences between the compressor types and what kinds
SCL Seminar Chairman Joel Douek with opening remarks
of instruments they tend to be used on. Filters are used to limit the frequency range of sound. Equalizers typically have high-pass and low-pass filters built into them, but when I want to give a sound more character I prefer to use filters that function like those found on synthesizers. Synth filters have an additional parameter that is not generally found on EQ filters— resonance. Resonance emphasizes the frequency at the filter’s cutoff point. Adding resonance gives some nice harmonic emphasis to a sound while the filter helps to carve out its own frequency space within a mix. This works great with low-pass filters, but band-pass and high-pass filters can also yield interesting results. You will find that different manufacturers’ filters have their own unique qualities and
characteristics to them, some sounding more analog than others. One of my favorites is FilterFreak by SoundToys, which is incredibly flexible and sounds fantastic. Reverb can also be used to add some dirt to the sound. I particularly like using convolution reverbs like Audioease’s Altiverb and Logic’s Space Designer for this purpose. Rather than load an impulse response of a beautiful sounding space, I will run a keyboard or sample of a mellotron through an IR of a dusty plate reverb or a spring reverb of the type found in old guitar amps. These typically have some grittiness to them and add a lot of character to the sound being reverberated. Altiverb even has a whole section of odd spaces such as dustbins, cheap toys and nuclear cooling towers that can be used Continued on Next Page
B O O K R E V I E W
Guerrilla Film Scoring: Practical Advice from Hollywood Composers By Jeremy Borum Reviewed by Adryan Russ Guerrilla Film Scoring provides an educational and exciting array of advice, techniques and shortcuts on every aspect of film scoring—by such diverse film composers as Cindy Badell-Slaughter, Charles Bernstein, Bruce Broughton, Bill Brown, Stewart Copeland, Miriam Cutler, Timothy Andrew Edwards, Nathan Furst, Craig Stuart Garfinkle, Peter Golub, Yoav Goren, Laura Karpman, Mark Litwak, Ron Mendelsohn, John Rodd, Steven Saltzman, Garry Schyman, Ryan Shore, Jack Wall and Austin Wintory. Thoroughly researched, simply and logically written, the book addresses a variety of subjects that composers face—alone in their studios as well as with their filmmaking collaborators. The book can be absorbed and appreciated by the newest to the most experienced film composer—each chapter an informative reminder that the digital revolution has changed the way films are scored. If you want to score films you can benefit from solid advice on every aspect—preparation, cultivation, assessing needs, pulling your team together, delegating wisely, managing your time, creating top-notch templates and demos, session preparation, performance, production, post production—even finding work and
developing your career. You can listen to, as well as read, the voices of those who’ve been “in the trenches.” Included also are sample contracts. No stone is left unturned, and the opinions vary extensively, so that you are inspired and challenged to absorb them all and then set your own path. Guerrilla Film Scoring is also a documentary. The contributing composers have been interviewed on-camera, and short segments have been created for classroom discussion and easy nonlinear viewing. The eBook versions also have videos integrated, all of which are available online: http://www. guerrillafilmscoring.com/videos/ Reminding readers that film scorers today are often one-person bands, SCL member Jeremy Borum knows whereof he speaks—he has extensive film composer/orchestrator, producer/performer and music preparation credits. Excited about the book’s potential to improve composers’ careers, he has received endorsements from many universities that specialize in media music: http:// www.guerrillafilmscoring.com/ endorsements. His publisher is offering a 25% discount via The SCL’s Premiere Partners.
Time, Still Bruce Babcock / Navona Records Time, Still is an album of chamber, vocal and choral music composed, premiered, and recorded in Los Angeles. The music is vibrant, sonorous and expressive, and ranges from solo piano to 100 voice choir. Babcock’s arrangements are intricate, well defined and beautifully executed by featured performers wellknown to Los Angeles audiences, including Soprano Juliana Gondek, The Debussy Trio, saxophonist Doug Mase, cellist Armen Ksajikian, pianist Robert Thies and the combined Coventry and Canterbury Choirs of All Saints Church under the direction of James Walker. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
Grit In The Machine Continued from Page 19
SCL At The ASCAP Expo
L-R: Michael Boddicker, Héléne Muddiman, SCL President Ashley Irwin, Dan Foliart and Adryan Russ
C D R E V I E W
The Society of Composers and Lyricists had a booth at the 2015 ASCAP I Create Music Expo. Many attendees stopped by to find out more about our organization. We signed up many new members and renewed three.
as echo chambers for your sounds. It is even possible to load wave files of any sound into convolution reverbs to use as resonators. The results are often interesting, but turn down your outputs when testing these out as the levels can be unpredictable. Adding imperfections to tracks with distortion, filters, amps, compressors and funky reverbs can add a lot of life to the sound. Virtual instruments and sounds we track in digital studios can sound boring if you don’t inject some anomalies into the channel strip. The thing we love about analog is the coloration and smear that analog technology imparts on sound. You can use plugins that simulate the effect of analog gear as tools to color and shade your mixes. Fortunately, with clever approximations of analog techniques and a good ear you can inject a lot of that character into your arrangements to create a more organic sound. For examples of this type of approach check out: https://soundcloud.com/ fletcherbeasley/sets/fictional-radio. g
M U S I C & T E C H N O L O G Y
All Mixed Up By Gary Woods
lmost from the beginning of sound for film there has been a movement to have multiple channel audio and hence multiple speakers placed around the room. Disney’s 1940 Fantasia was one of the first big productions to use multiple channels, with six being used to record different sections of the orchestra while the seventh channel recorded a mixture of the first six and the eighth captured the overall sound of the orchestra at a distance. The problem was that there were only a very few theatres that could accommodate this eight channel mix so most everybody ended up hearing it in mono anyway. As far as motion picture sound and television audio for that matter is concerned, we’ve been using a 5.1 system for a long time with a Left-Center-Right configuration plus two surround speakers which are sometimes still strapped together in mono with the point one being a sub-woofer. Even though this configuration had been around for quite a while, it was really codified in 2005 when the Digital Cinema Initiative standard brought in the largest wholesale change in motion picture audio presentation since the arrival of widescreen cinema and stereophonic sound arrived in 1953. This Initiative meant that all theatres were expected to have basic 5.1 systems with the standard actually allowing for a total of 14 channels. There were also two additional channels reserved for mono mixes for hearing impaired people and visually impaired people with one channel providing narration on top of the mix. After a while, along came a 7.1 system with the addition of two more surround speakers placed along the side of the room. What was interesting about 7.1 is that it actually came from the Home Theatre side of things with manufacturers pushing this standard to sell more AV receivers and speakers and then it found its way into public venues. As I said, all of this was fine up until about 2012 when along came what has been dubbed “Immersive Sound.” The first company that came out of the box with “Immersive Sound” was Auro Technologies in association with Barco Cinema and their system is called Auro 3D. It first appeared in a pictured called Red Tails and was released in Auro 11.1 and was displayed in a staggering two theatres. The Auro 3D 11.1 basic configuration
starts with the standard 5.1 system, but then has what they call a 5.0 top layer, which has a center-ceiling “Voice of God” channel plus four other ceiling-mounted speakers. For display in non-Auro 3D equipped theatres the prints were shipped with either a 5.1 or 7.1 configuration with the additional height and top channels decoded in the individual venues that had the required equipment. But, if there was one new company with immersive sound on the playing field you knew there had to be a second one not far behind and the second iteration came from Dolby Laboratories. Dolby introduced the Atmos format for the Pixar animated film Brave that debuted on 14 screens. Dolby had been working with a “Voice of God” speaker since 2002 when it premiered with We Were Soldiers, but in the meantime they had been experimenting with getting a standard for surround speaker spacing, locations and dispersions as well as mounting angles. The two extra surround channels they added were closer to the screen to fill up the first third of the auditorium with audio where surrounds previously hadn’t resided. The final configuration with Dolby’s Atmos allows for up to 64 speakers with two overhead arrays running the length of the theatre. Okay, now we have two different formats, so what’s the difference? Auro-3D currently is channel-based in the classic stereo film manner with recorded tracks assigned to either specific speakers or to an array of speakers. Atmos, on the other hand, is Object Based Audio (OBA), which means that sounds are not necessarily dedicated to a specific channel or speaker but instead audio files are placed in the three dimensional space of the theatre via metadata containing level and location coordinates. To elaborate on the three-dimensional terminology, the audio exists in an XYZ configuration with X being left to right, Y being front to back and Z being height. So, where did this Z parameter come from? It came from video games of course! The cool thing about Object Based Audio is that it gives us the ability to place sound accurately in multiple theatre configurations. For instance, if we want the sound to come from two-thirds of the way up the left wall with OBA, it doesn’t matter whether the theatre has four speakers on a wall or eight. The position is all that’s important, not if it’s
The cool thing about Object Based Audio is that it gives us the ability to place sound accurately in multiple theatre configurations.
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Music & Technology Continued from Previous Page
coming from speaker 3 or 5. Scalability is important not only for the surrounds, Y dimension and height, the Z dimension, but also for left to right, the X dimension. Dolby has been pushing for the addition of Left-Center and Right-Center speakers in theatres with a screen 40 feet or wider for a long time giving us five across the front. But, if you still mixed with three in front it would scale just fine. In the 90’s we had three competing digital formats with Dolby Digital, DTS and SDDS, which meant that theatre owners would have to install three separate systems, but by the mid 90’s prints were being sent out using “quad track” 35mm prints containing all three digital formats plus a stereo optical analog track. Now, however, we’re back to where we were in the early 90’s with two incompatible systems competing for screen real estate. In response to that dilemma SMPTE formed a special Working Group to see if they could get some kind of standardization. To their credit both Dolby and Auro Technologies have agreed to adapt to whatever format is agreed upon by the Group.
The eventual goal is for the metadata standard of any format’s mix to be seen by any cinema processor’s renderer, which would conform to the configuration of the individual viewing space. As with any discussion about technology, it eventually comes down to cost. For a theatre to implement Dolby’s Atmos system, some theatres could be looking at costs north of $150,000 per screen. At last count there were 560 Atmos screens worldwide with 175 in North American. Auro-3D, on the other hand, costs about $25,000 per screen and is currently installed on 215 screens worldwide, with most of them in the United States followed by India. The question for me is, does that third dimension really enhance my viewing of a picture or is it just another gimmick that makes me think my home theatre isn’t cool anymore? At this point I’m not going to invest in a new AV receiver because A, there aren’t too many out there and B, if I had a new receiver there’s hardly any content to play on it. In the meantime, I’ll see you at the movies and watch out for that spaceship coming from the “Voice of God” speaker. If you have any questions or suggestions for me I can be reached at g at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCL Premier Partners SCL members can find out the member discount details and how to contact Partners on our website. ALFRED MUSIC AUDIO PERCEPTION BANDZOOGLE BIG FISH AUDIO BLACK LION AUDIO CINEMATIC STRINGS CINESAMPLES COMMERCIAL SCORING WORKSHOP FOCAL PRESS AND ROUTLEDGE MUSIC GORILLA FILM SCORING GRAPHICALLY ENHANCED MANUALS MEGATRAX RECORDING STUDIOS MELROSE MAC MUSIC BUSINESS REGISTRY MY MUSIC MASTERCLASS NOTEFLIGHT PAGU BATONS PC AUDIO LABS PUREMIX THE RICHARD BELLIS MASTER SERIES SAMPLELOGIC SONIC FUEL STUDIOS SONOKINETIC SOUNDIRON SPITFIRE AUDIO TUNECORE
President’s Message Continued from Page 3
send you mock-ups to include.” Fortunately, in this instance that got them off my back. Several years ago I worked on a comedy film where there were many scenes parodied, both visually and musically, from other films. Visually, the scenes were completely recognizable. In fact, that was the whole point of the movie. If they had not been recognizable, the jokes wouldn’t have worked. And of course, when it came to the music the temp had simply used the original versions from these classic scenes, never for a moment considering that there may be a copyright infringement if we got too close in recreating the music. So it seemed appropriate to ask for an indemnification from the studio, given the engagement was covered by a work-for-hire agreement. Well, you would have thought the studio’s lawyers had been asked for their first-born 22
child. I found it amazing that the WFH contract did not hold blameless the (true) author of the work given that the instruction from the studio was to create music as “recognizable” as possible to the original. So, it’s fair to say composers, and to a lesser extent songwriters, will continue to plagiarize themselves and each other if that’s what the “buyer” wants. Fortunately, there are not the massive royalty revenues at stake for film or TV cues as there were in the Blurred Lines case. And even more fortuitous is the fact that the studios seem to look the other way, as long as they continue to receive their publisher income and the music they commission for a project functions in the desired manner. However, if you’re asked to provide some of your own music from other shows for the temp, try and respond “the right music for your show hasn’t been written yet and anything I give you from another show will not be right.” You might just find this works. g
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JAMES NEWTON HOWARD MARK ISHAM
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KRISTEN ANDERSON-LOPEZ JOHNNY MANDEL RANDY NEWMAN MIKE POST
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LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD BILL CONTI
HONORARY LIFETIME MEMBERS JAY L. COOPER, ESQ. CLINT EASTWOOD
DENNIS SPIEGEL JOHN WILLIAMS
M U S I C A L S H A R E S
BY CHARLES BERNSTEIN
Collaboration: A Meeting Of The Minds
ollaboration is at the core of making movies. If you’re a painter or a poet, you may be able to hide from the world and go it alone, but when it comes to the complex process of filmmaking, collaboration is the name of the game. Essentially, collaboration is a skill. Like any skill, it can be learned and perfected. Yet, we don’t find collaboration being taught, certainly not in film schools. It is an invisible talent, one taken for granted. Being a good collaborator is truly valuable. It may be the reason why some careers flourish while others crash and burn. The success of ideas, projects and entire companies often rests on how well people are able to interact creatively. That doesn’t mean that partnering comes without struggle or conflict. Creating together can be messy, even painful, but each collaboration can yield great results with the right intentions, efforts, and hopefully with the least mutual discomfort. Film composers know the agonies and the ecstasies of collaboration. A film score is rarely left to the composer alone. Rather, a score is the product of countless “creative negotiations,” primarily between the composer and director. This essential partnership, like all partnerships, has to start somewhere... Step One: Finding Each Other. Typically, a composer-director collaboration begins like any other relationship, with a chance meeting, a recommendation by a mutual friend, or maybe through an agency or on the Internet—a bit like seeking a mate. Professional matchmakers (agents and managers) often play a major role and can be enormously helpful, and occasionally harmful, in the meeting process. Directors often seem baffled by the business of finding a composer. Yet, hiring a composer is not unlike casting an actor—which involves finding someone with the best qualities to help tell the story. Of course, the process of selecting a composer can be a little more unfamiliar than choosing an actor or other personnel. For one thing, music is so abstract and subject to individual tastes. Furthermore, producing a score can be complex and mysterious to filmmakers. Each project will have its own practical and musical demands. For example, postproduction time on one project may be short and hectic, requiring lightning speed, quick turnover, and maximum adaptability from the composer(s). Or maybe composing time
is long and flexible, but the project requires some special chemistry involving a unique cultural insight or idiosyncratic quality. Not all composers have the same skill-sets or sensibilities. Unfortunately, the essential job of finding the best person to score a film these days will too often be a haphazard affair with no real design or understanding of the process. Again, it’s kind of like courtship—and with the same potential for troublesome outcomes (and divorce rates). Too many major film assignments end up being governed by shallow considerations like, “Is the composer coming off of a hit picture? Can we hear examples of the exact kind of music we are looking for? Is the composer available to start Monday?” Not very promising questions to launch any serious relationship. Step Two: The Essentials. Partnerships turn serious right after the initial mating dance, once a deal is made. That’s when the real beguine begins. Not surprisingly, there seems to be one word that always comes up in interviews about successful collaborations. The word is trust...mutual trust. The reason that trust is so fundamental to collaboration seems clear. Working together involves risk. Two people suddenly have to express spontaneous ideas, exposing their inner process to another person’s scrutiny and judgment. Risky! And risk requires trust. In partnership, everyone needs the freedom to make dumb mistakes, explore fruitless avenues, try out off-beat, radical, or maybe hackneyed ideas. Without trust, it can be hard to open up to the process, to feel safe enough to be seen and allow the creative energy to flow. Composer Joel McNeely recounted a dream composerdirector collaboration recently. The director was Seth McFarlane on last year’s film, A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014). The trust level was remarkable. As Joel put it, “After hearing my themes, he told me that doing mock-ups was too time consuming, and he wanted me to put the time and energy into writing.” The director noted that the classic scores he really loved happened before mockups anyway. Now that’s a real dose of directorial courage and trust. Anyone who has heard Joel’s beautifully crafted results will appreciate how nicely the director’s trust paid off. Step Three: The Mechanics. Assuming that the matchmaking went well, and that trust and mutual respect have been estab-
Creating together can be messy, even painful, but each collaboration can yield great results with the right intentions, efforts, and hopefully with the least mutual discomfort.
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lished, then the practical business of working together takes over. At this point common sense should rule. Good collaborators show up, are reliable, courteous and fully invested. But, sometimes the mechanical side of collaboration can use a little help. That’s where the ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle (and a 19th century German thinker, Hegel), could come in handy. They advanced a concept called dialectics. Good collaborations owe much to this process. In dialectical theory, one person presents an idea, a thesis, another presents a counter idea, an antithesis, and the combustion of these two ideas creates a whole new idea from the other two, a synthesis, (a word not to be confused with the amazing electronics under our fingers). In our film music application, the composer presents a musical idea to the director (thesis). The director counters with suggestions and opinions (antithesis). The composer comes back with a new presentation (synthesis). The trick in dialectics is to let this process continue to play out smoothly as each synthesis can then become a new thesis, and the interplay continues until the idea gets refined and perfected to everyone’s satisfaction. In a good collaboration, the dialectical process flourishes, synthesis abounds, and the miracle of merging/opposing ideas rules harmo-
niously. If not, blame Aristotle (or, if you’re Greek, blame Hegel). Step Four: The Magic. If all the other elements of the partnership are in tact, then the special magic of a relationship can emerge. Being open to playful impulses and invisible forces like intuition, inspiration and fun may be the true gold in a partnership. To this end, composers need to get a bit mystical and learn the art of mind reading—tuning into your collaborator’s impulses without needing words. I recently asked composer Lee Holdridge what he considered the most important skill a composer can have in collaborating with a director. He said that composers need to pay close attention to the telling signs, non-verbal sounds or other clues as to how a director is responding to what the composer is presenting. Lee believes that composers should seek to become mind readers… very good advice. But, even after we decode and read the director’s intentions, there may be one more crucial ingredient in a really great collaboration. It’s a nameless force, but it’s powerful and undeniable. If John Lennon were alive, he wouldn’t hesitate to give it the only name we seem to have in our impoverished language—love. In the end, aren’t all great partnerships about love? It’s hard to imagine how any inspired art or exciting creative ideas can flow from a closed heart. Bringing a measure of love to any creative endeavor has to be a good thing. This is especially true
since the process of collaboration, like mating and procreation, actually produces a result—a kind of offspring. It’s clear that successful collaboration is at the core of a film composer’s creative life. Composers may not go to the altar and take vows with a director, but we do enter into a covenant. We agree to show up fully and to bring the best we have to offer, to take risks, foster trust and mutual respect, to tune in fully, and to conjure all the love and magic we can manage. If things still go south, it’s not because we didn’t fulfill our end of the deal. (The DGA could always send out a memo to all directors reminding them that a little love, respect and magic wouldn’t be a bad idea coming from their side as well.) g © Charles Bernstein 2015 www.charlesbernstein.com
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