Finding the Right Sound for Your Story
After producing a show for what can be months on end, producers hit that point when its time to start looking for production music. Over the past 20 years of successfully branding TV shows with music, we’ve realized that the following 3 pieces of advice are always a great starting point for producers as they begin to develop a musical storyline for their show. Take out your notepad and pen as Nathan, our VP of Music Services breaks it down.
(1) Story First
Your characters, locations, purpose, story themes, etc. provide both a lens for filtering musical options and a source for generating inspired ideas. This may seem obvious, but it’s not uncommon for music briefs to gloss over story, context and characters and just discuss music direction in terms of artist references or major story beats. The benefit of spending time upfront discussing story is that your music partner can be more creatively on point in how they help you. This will help avoid either just getting very literal responses or getting creative ideas that don’t connect with your project.
(2) Define The Box
My mother-in-law is one of those people that just loves to label things. She has one of those labeling machines and uses it to slap labels on just about anything around her house. I suspect she does it because she’s afraid people won’t return her Tupperware. But there is a huge benefit that comes from defining and labeling things like music. This can go a long way for taking the subjectivity out of conversations and giving clarity to the team on what is working, and why. By defining the music categories in the language of your show and making a playlist of both good and bad examples, you will begin to develop a shorthand for your team that will go a long way in giving you a cohesive, consistent music identity.
(3) Let Us Help
An experienced music partner will be able to help you generate ideas, develop your music direction and define the box. They’ll do this by asking the right questions, providing a variety of references, and translating between the language of your show and the music that fits that language. When something resonates with you, they will be able to figure out why, so that you can build on those things and also use them as clues to generate new ideas.
Keep these 3 pieces of advice at the back of your mind next time you begin working on a project. Not only will you be more prepared when you reach out to your production music company but you’ll have a better idea of the musical direction for your show.
Vanacore Music is an award-winning production music company for television, film, advertising, and digital media. We’ve been providing our custom music division, production music libraries and music licensing expertise to producers for 20 years.