Comic-Con, the annual pop culture convention that takes place in San Diego, Calif. every July, is mainly a visual feast, with heavy emphasis on film, television, video games and ofcourse, comic books. But there is an audio component as well, as music played a prominent role in some of the panels held over this year's five-day fanfest, which ended last night.
BMI Panel: Music Is A Character
BMI and White Bear PR panel: "The Character of Music" at Comic-Con International on Thursday at San Diego Convention Center. (A. Turner Archives/BMI)
Performing rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc. kicked off this year's music-themed discussions with a panel on Thursday afternoon. BMI's Anne Cecere, director of film & TV relations, and White Bear PR firm founder Chandler Poling moderated the hour-long event, dubbed "The Character of Music," teaming up composers with executive producers. The panelists included Blake Neely, composer of the CW's newest superhero series, "Arrow" (based on DC Comics' Green Arrow) and one of the show's executive producers, Marc Guggenheim; Christopher Lennertz, who is currently scoring the long-running CW series "Supernatural" and that show's producer, Todd Aronauer; Joseph Trapanese, who after working on the soundtrack for Disney's "Tron: Legacy" motion picture is now composing music for the Disney XD channel's weekly series "Tron: Uprising" and that program's executive producer, Charlie Bean; and Nathan Johnson, composer of the forthcoming feature film "Looper" and his cousin Rian Johnson, writer/director of "Looper."
Neely addressed the central theme of the panel when he said, "I think music is a character. As composers, we can add the emotion that's not necessarily there. We can change the scene and manipulate the audience.It's important to establish that character early on and stick with it." Neely explained that fans have complained, "I've already heard that theme, you used it last week." Neely tells them: "Yes, and I'm going to do it for the next 17 weeks because you're not going to repaint the sets, are you? It's not that I'm too lazy to write another theme, [that theme] is the sound of the show."
Cecere and Poling opened the floor to questions from fans, and a young woman asked the "Tron" team when the TV series would have its own soundtrack. Trapanese responded, "I'll call Disney tomorrow and tell them you asked that, to massive applause." Bean added, "We'll probably finish the first season," indicating a soundtrack album for the series could then be released.
Lennertz ended the panel by talking about the importance of long-term working relationships. "If you look at music you consider to be trendsetting, it's usually a team. It's a John Williams and a Steven Spielberg, or a Robert Zemeckis and an Alan Silvestri. One of the things I love about working with the same people over and over again, aside from the fact that I love them as people, [is that] trust builds. They're going to let you take a chance. It's much more freeing to develop a relationship with filmmakers you want to work with for a long period of time. We feel like we have the freedom to explore because we've been with that filmmaker for a decade or two."
How Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto Became A Comic
On Friday, the panel with the most musical theme was one for a new comic book. The six-issue mini-series "Mylo Xyloto" is written and spearheaded by Mark Osborne, co-director of the film "Kung Fu Panda." Osborne told the assembled fans, "From [Coldplay's] very first album, they did these really cool animated videos that I was a huge fan of. For me, their whole body of work was an inspiration. When I originally approached them, the idea was to build a movie out of their catalogue as opposed to doing something unique."
The original concept metamorphosed into the comic book. "At one point the plan was to do [the album and the comic] simultaneously," said Osborne, "but the band was so excited about the music they wanted to put the album out first and let everything else come after."
The comic book, about a dystopian future where music, sound and color have been outlawed and the laws are enforced by soldiers known as the Silencers, will be available to the general pubic in February 2013, but a special edition of the first issue, with a variant cover, was available for purchase at Comic-Con.
Glee Reveals Britney Spears Tribute, Again
On Saturday, the producers and cast of "Glee" spearheaded a panel in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront, adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. The musical highlight of the session was the announcement by executive producer Brad Falchuk that the second episode of the new season would be another Britney Spears tribute. The last tribute show to the "Oops I Did It Again" singer aired in 2010. In the episode, the pop-star appeared in an anesthesia induced trance experienced by "Glee" cast member Brittany S. Pierce.