You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!

ImageWhat has smacked me between the eyes this week is music.

The writing of the series is actually going rather well. Everyone is positive and I have spent a lot of time in writing sessions laughing (last week, I was prostrate, crying and struggling for breath. Honestly, I almost felt my abs for the first time in six years), I have been so gloriously glad that the writing hasn’t dried up or been of dire quality that I made the fatal error of forgetting how many other snow topped mountains we have to climb. One, on a Ben Nevis scale, is music.

Very few films have no music in them and a lot that don’t are stylised. Music, at the very least, is an essential discussion for a production team. We didn’t even need a discussion, we were writing a plot line and it became clear that it had to have a soundtrack. I have just looked back over the notes from our last plot writing session and it is pretty clear that over 50% of our material is going to require some form of music or background sound. As a Producer the first thing this makes me think is,


and this is true, a large portion of a film’s budget can go on rights and licencing for music. If you want any information on the licensing or rights here are the three sites that I have found to be useful and correct.

It should cost if you are using someone else’s creation, they deserve to get something out of it other than the glory. When you write a scene that needs a strong link to music it is entirely natural to hear a specific piece in your mind. More often than not these pieces are popular, for example, when writing one scene the two songs that we suggested for it were  Des’ree and Timothy Atack‘s “Kissing You”, and Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s song “The Power of Love”.

This brings me neatly to the problems and solutions of music. These songs are popular and we can’t afford them, that is it, end of discussion. It doesn’t matter how much Erica screams or Vali cries I cannot change the fact that the CEO of a multi-billion pound music production company is going to look at my letter saying, ‘please mate, the series is going to be bloody amazing and we think that song is really wonderful but we have 26p and a bit of fluff so can you let us use it for free please?’ before throwing it away and having a chuckle but, (and this is a big but), how did those two songs become so popular? ‘Kissing you’ was written for the soundtrack of a rather successful film, Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet and Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of ‘The Power of Love’ managed chart success after it was featured as the soundtrack for the John Lewis 2012 Christmas advertising campaign.

The visuals made the songs successful AND the songs made the visuals more compelling.

There are thousands and thousands of aspiring musicians and recording artists looking for their break or to gain experience along the way. We may not be able to pay them a fortune but we do have a platform for them and a chance to get their teeth stuck into a challenge. Not only that but two out of the four of us are trained musicians anyway so collaboration with others is not a massive stretch for us!

This means:

  1. Less cost
  2. More work

But that is fine.

As Stevie Wonder said:

“Ya gots to work with what you gots to work with”,  and I have a good feeling we will be better off for it.

So as I go into the next meeting tomorrow I do have the knowledge that our workload has almost doubled but I also have the knowledge that the whole thing has gained the ability to involve more creative people and create yet more art. Now, I don’t mind working hard for that!

All the best,

Ellen Waghorn – Producer


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