Panelists Sara Colleton (executive producer, "Dexter"), Daniel Licht (composer, "Dexter"), Michael Dante DiMartino (executive producer, "Avatar: The Last Airbender"), Bryan Konietzko (executive producer, "The Last Airbender"), Benjamin Wynn (composer, "The Last Airbender"), Jeremy Zuckerman (composer, "The Last Airbender"), Mark Verheiden (executive producer, "Falling Skies") and Noah Sorota (composer, "Falling") (photo: Fitz Carlile)
SAN DIEGO -- An enthusiastic crowd of over 1,000 fans jammed into Room 6A at the San Diego Convention Center on Thursday for a Comic-Con panel featuring composers and producers of three popular series: "Dexter," "Falling Skies" and the animated "Avatar: The Last Airbender." While the introductions of all three composers elicited loud applause and cheers from the crowd, "Avatar" got the biggest reaction, especially from the four fans sitting in the second row who were dressed as characters from the series.
This is the second consecutive year that BMI has held a panel at Comic-Con. After a trial run at WonderCon in San Francisco, BMI's director of Film/TV Relations, Anne Cecere, moderated a panel at Comic-Con 2010 with composers in a room that held 450 people. A turn-away crowd inspired Comic-Con planners to offer Cecere a larger venue this time.
Co-moderator Chandler Poling of White Bear PR asked "Dexter" executive producer Sara Colleton how one could obtain a license to remix Daniel Licht's key theme for the series. That's when Licht broke the news that Showtime will have a remix contest for the "Blood Theme." "I get letters every day asking, 'Can I have the rights to the "Blood Theme" and I say, 'Sure, go ahead, talk to Showtime,'" Licht said, adding that he was going to release the stems so potential remixers would have access to his work for the contest.
The first fan question was about the retail availability of television soundtracks. Licht suggested checking iTunes as many can be purchased. "Except ours," cried out the team behind Nickelodeon's "Airbender" in unison. "It's pretty frustrating when people block [the release]," added "Airbender" executive producer Bryan Konietzko. "At least you can watch the show and listen to [the music]," he added, to cheers from the audience.
Budding composers in the crowd took heart from 27-year-old Noah Sorota, who is scoring his first series, TNT's "Falling Skies." He revealed that he got the job when executive producer Steven Spielberg phoned him and asked if he'd like to compose the music for the show. Elaborating later to Billboard, Sorota explained that he first met Spielberg eight years ago through a family connection and when the producer was visiting his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, Sorota had the opportunity as a music student to play the violin for Spielberg. The famed director encouraged the young musician to continue his education and Sorota moved to Los Angeles and enrolled at USC.
"I've kept in touch with him over the years and when he had this project, he thought I might be a good fit and that's how the phone call happened."
Asked what a young composer can do to break into the industry, Licht offered advice that matched Sorota's story. "If you want to play baseball, you find a diamond. Move to Los Angeles. Develop your own style. The most important thing is having your own sound. If you have a sound that people like that's original, they will hire you. They don't care about your credits."