Recording - December 2010 - 34

Theme Music for TV—A Production Report

By Andre Fratto

Getting the gig and delivering on a new TV series

When I mentioned to Recording’s editor that I had just completed the theme music for a one-hour television drama series called Haven (on the Syfy Network), in my home studio, Lorenz asked me to share with Recording’s readers two things: How I got the gig, and what I had to do to deliver.

Who you know and what you know I should start off by noting that I had previously worked with Haven’s talented co-creators and Executive Producers Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn, when I wrote the theme for their podcast (www.samandjimgotohollywood .com) some years ago. My brother Adam is also co-Executive Producer of the show. Having said that, I hope to show here how “who you know” is just the beginning of the process. You still have to be able to deliver music that complements the show, is sonically appropriate for broadcast and—most of all—gets the approval from the myriad execs who don’t care whose brother or cousin or dog you are. First things first First I had no idea what the creative team wanted, then I had some idea of what the creative team wanted. The
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RECORDING DECEMBER 2010

first stage is the toughest, filled with what I call blank canvas syndrome: a million possibilities. I knew that Syfy had picked up a full season and that shooting would start soon, so my plan was to get something really solid and get in there before anything else was even being considered. I had gotten a sense of the story, setting and tone: I knew that it would be quirky, I knew that it would be rural and not urban, I knew it would have some comedy, I knew that it would probably have hints of mystery or darkness, and I knew that it would have a female lead (so I figured there should also be some heart). These things are useful to know, but they are still general, so the millions of possibilities were maybe only narrowed down to some thousands. I figured the best next thing would be to cover some technical ground, so I started with tempo. I wanted to find

a tempo that was energetic but not frantic and that gave me enough measures that I could tell a full musical story in a brief period of time. I went to YouTube and listened to the theme music for all the shows I could think of, tapping along to get the tempi. I checked out Medium, House, True Blood, The West Wing, The A-Team, basically as many different approaches that I could find, and looked for common points among them. I noticed that all were faster than one hears in one’s head, and that they were all basically either 30 seconds long, 45 seconds long, or 1 minute long. So, I needed a tempo that, with a well structured piece of music, would give me really good editing points and would mathematically fit the yet-to-bedetermined length of the intro credit sequence—I aimed for around 50 seconds. I figured with a lead-in and reverb tail I could give time both in the


http://www.samandjimgotohollywood.com http://www.samandjimgotohollywood.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - December 2010

Recording - December 2010
Fade In
Contents
Talkback
Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Primacoustic IsoTools
Avenson Audio IsoDI
Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Readers' Tapes
Advertiser Index
Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Recording - December 2010
Recording - December 2010 - Cover2
Recording - December 2010 - 1
Recording - December 2010 - Fade In
Recording - December 2010 - 3
Recording - December 2010 - Contents
Recording - December 2010 - 5
Recording - December 2010 - Talkback
Recording - December 2010 - 7
Recording - December 2010 - Recording’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide
Recording - December 2010 - 9
Recording - December 2010 - 10
Recording - December 2010 - 11
Recording - December 2010 - 12
Recording - December 2010 - 13
Recording - December 2010 - 14
Recording - December 2010 - 15
Recording - December 2010 - 16
Recording - December 2010 - 17
Recording - December 2010 - 18
Recording - December 2010 - 19
Recording - December 2010 - 20
Recording - December 2010 - 21
Recording - December 2010 - 22
Recording - December 2010 - 23
Recording - December 2010 - 24
Recording - December 2010 - 25
Recording - December 2010 - 26
Recording - December 2010 - 27
Recording - December 2010 - 28
Recording - December 2010 - 29
Recording - December 2010 - 30
Recording - December 2010 - 31
Recording - December 2010 - 32
Recording - December 2010 - 33
Recording - December 2010 - Theme Music for TV—A Production Report
Recording - December 2010 - 35
Recording - December 2010 - 36
Recording - December 2010 - 37
Recording - December 2010 - 38
Recording - December 2010 - 39
Recording - December 2010 - Royer Labs R-101 Ribbon Microphone
Recording - December 2010 - 41
Recording - December 2010 - Recording SFX—A Career Option?
Recording - December 2010 - 43
Recording - December 2010 - Primacoustic IsoTools
Recording - December 2010 - 45
Recording - December 2010 - Avenson Audio IsoDI
Recording - December 2010 - 47
Recording - December 2010 - Getting Your Music Heard In Today’sCommercial Culture
Recording - December 2010 - 49
Recording - December 2010 - 50
Recording - December 2010 - 51
Recording - December 2010 - 52
Recording - December 2010 - 53
Recording - December 2010 - 54
Recording - December 2010 - 55
Recording - December 2010 - Preview: Yamaha AvantGrand
Recording - December 2010 - 57
Recording - December 2010 - It’s Your Music—Know Your Rights.Chapter 9: Trademark Basics
Recording - December 2010 - 59
Recording - December 2010 - 60
Recording - December 2010 - 61
Recording - December 2010 - Sonoma Wire Works GuitarJack Model 1and FourTrack 4.0.1
Recording - December 2010 - 63
Recording - December 2010 - Readers' Tapes
Recording - December 2010 - Advertiser Index
Recording - December 2010 - 66
Recording - December 2010 - 67
Recording - December 2010 - 68
Recording - December 2010 - 69
Recording - December 2010 - 70
Recording - December 2010 - 71
Recording - December 2010 - Fade Out
Recording - December 2010 - Cover3
Recording - December 2010 - Cover4
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