With film and television increasingly a source for musical discovery, songwriters Glen Ballard, Sondre Lerche and Jesse Harris are finding visual media an inspiring source of storytelling - not to mention work.

The three songwriters, who have all released albums before, addressed the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music conference in Beverly Hills today (Nov. 1).

For his first film score - for the movie "Dan in Real Life" - Norwegian singer-songwriter Lerche got inspired by visiting the set, going to auditions and even giving star Steve Carell guitar lessons.

"That was my main inspiration, to be there," said Lerche. "I found out only later that this is not how soundtracks are usually made."

Ballard, who contributed music to the film "Beowulf," and Jesse Harris, whose work is heard in "The Hottest State," agreed that they wouldn't necessarily quit their day jobs as songwriters in the music industry. But, as Ballard pointed out, films are "a great outlet for songwriters, along with all the other things we try to do to make up for the fact that people don't buy records as they used to."

Most important to the craft, the panelists said, was creating music specifically for the film as opposed to simply recycling material they already had lying around.

Lerche wrapped up the panel with an impromptu performance of a song that he wrote in the house where "Dan in Real Life" was filmed.

"There are so many singer-songwriters and it's all about expressing yourself. But I've done that for four albums... It's refreshing to have that
perspective, to be part of a team that's not about yourself," said Lerche.