Songwriter's Corner|

Photo: Lily Collins (from her Facebook page) By Sean Wilson, Composer Magazine | Contributed by Sync Summit on Facebook | Cast your eye down the standard credits list for a film or TV show, and chances are you will come across a listing for a ‘music supervisor’. It may seem like a casual, fleeting thing, but the presence of such a supervisor on a film or TV show invariably points towards the complex tapestry of music used in the production.

So, what does a music supervisor do? A film or TV composer will craft an original score, usually non-diegetic in nature, it is the music supervisor’s job to weave existing source music and songs around the composer’s original material. This involves a complex, demanding process of obtaining clearance rights, and clear collaboration with the key creatives is vital.

“A music supervisor curates the musical sound of the show,” explains Brienne Rose, the Emmy-nominated music supervisor for Natasha Lyonne series Russian Doll, and the Lily Collins Netflix series Emily in Paris. “The primary job is to oversee any musical aspects of the series or film. Typically we collaborate with the creator or showrunner, or the director, to establish the core musical sound of the show, build lists of songs for various scenes, and work with the creators to decide what moments call for music.”

“We usually work closely with the composer on the original music, producing and managing any on-camera musical moments. There is also the negotiating and licensing of all music, as well as managing the music budget from start to finish. We also handle many other details like spotting sessions, file delivery, and mix notes, cue sheets… It’s a long and varied list.

“[Emily in Paris creator] Darren Starr knew he wanted a cool and collected sound for the show, something that represented both Emily’s perspective as the young American and the quintessentially French sound of Paris itself. So the aim was to strike that balance that had elements of an outsider’s perspective and the this-sound-only-happens-here musical tradition of Paris.

“The core of our soundtrack is very cool up-and-coming French bands; sounds and artists that match Emily’s position as the up-and-comer in her workplace with her fresh perspective and juxtaposing that against a city steeped in culture and history. We paired that sound with some undeniably classic French pieces, and vintage 1960s French elements that round out the voice of Paris itself.”
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