Music Supervisors From BET, Sony, More Give Tough Advice to Hopefuls at Billboard Film & TV Music Conference
Music Supervisors From BET, Sony, More Give Tough Advice to Hopefuls at Billboard Film & TV Music Conference

Nothing Personal: The "Real Time Critique: Music Supervisors React To Your Work" panel (from left): Evan Bogart, Songwriter-TV Producer, Boardwalk Entertainment Group/The Writing Camp, LLC; Nora Felder, Music Supervisor, Picture Music; Anna Granucci, Music Supervisor, Scene Tracks Music; Andrew Robbins, Music Supervisor; Neil Trama, Music Supervisor, Blunt Force Trama; Allison Wright Clark, Head of Development, Angry Mob Music; moderator John Anderson, Ole Senior Director, Film & TV Media/ CEO, Hunnypot Unlimited. (Photo: Arnold Turner)

If you don't include basic information with the music you're submitting to music supervisors, you might as well be sending it directly to the trash. Handwrite it if necessary, but make sure it's on there: track titles, writer / publisher information, PRO information, how to get in contact, relevant artist URLs. If it's an MP3, encode the metadata. Sending a download link? Don't ever set it to expire.

These were the recurring sentiments expressed by the cross-section of experienced industry experts assembled for the "Real Time Critique: Music Supervisors React To Your Work" panel at the Billboard / Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference, taking place Monday and Tuesday at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. The half-dozen music supervisors and related professionals each offered similar advice as they listened to tracks gathered from conference attendees.

You don't have to send a CD, of course. SoundCloud, YouSendIt and similar delivery methods are popular -- but the information has to be on there. "I think digital is fantastic. I don't like to think about the physical CDs going into landfills," noted Angry Mob Music's head of development Allison Wright Clark. "It's a more green way of getting the music and consuming it. Storing it is a lot easier. I got rid of 5,000 music CDs, backed them up on hard drive. Most supervisors get anywhere between 200 and 1000 submissions in a day or a week."

With the glut of submissions these folks receive, it's similarly of vital importance to ensure that what you're sending is your best work. "I've just noticed a rapid increase over the last two years of submissions in my inbox," pointed out Neil Trama, music supervisor for Blunt Force Trama. "It can be daunting for someone who has to go through that. It's always best to put your best song first. Don't bury it."

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These instructions popped up continuously during the "My Next Project" panel, as well. Music supervisors and licensing folks on that panel were insistent that complete contact information, track information and so forth has to be included, whether physically or via metadata.

Participants in both panels also spoke at length about the importance of doing enough homework to effectively target the right people handling the projects where the material will be most appropriate. BET music supervisor DJ Kelly G laughed loudly while telling a story about a woman who approached him with a handful of rockabilly CDs. "Study your audience. Study who you are pitching to," he said.

DJ Kelly G was also quick to point out that an e-mail with too many huge attachments is a major turnoff. "The BET server isn't even going to take that anyway," he cautioned. The rest of the "My Next Project" panel nodded their agreement.

"When you send 12 different e-mails with 12 different songs in them, that's probably a good way to [to make sure] we aren't going to be talking anytime soon," offered Fusion Music Supervision's Chris Mollere, who works on TV's "The Vampire Diaries" and "Pretty Little Liars."

Even when music is submitted under the most ideal of circumstances, it's likely that most music supervisors won't have a chance to send over any type of response right away, because they're simply too busy to reply to everyone. But don't despair. A lack of an immediate reply doesn't always mean a track has been dismissed. Mollere noted that he assembled a folder full of suggestions for "The Vampire Diaries" producers back when they were making the pilot. They've continued to revisit that folder occasionally well into season three.

"Don't get angry at us when we don't respond to you," said Sony Pictures Entertainment's Kier Lehman. "It's really nothing personal."

Panelists from the"Real Time Critique: Music Supervisors React To Your Work" discussion digging through boxes of submissions from conference attendees. (Photo: Arnold Turner)
Landfill Material? Allison Wright Clark, Head of Development, Angry Mob Music (right), says she gets between 200 and 1,000 submissions a week -- or even a day. (Photo: Arnold Turner)