?What did you wake up thinking about this morning? I have the devil and angel on each shoulder when I wake up—I start thinking about [work] and I also try to talk myself out of thinking about it so I can come to work with a fresh perspective. I thought first that I miss my kids, who are away at summer camp, and then about a particularly challenging film. I also realized I have to stop sleeping with my iPhone on my night table to get a better work-life balance.
?Describe a lesson learned from a failure. You don’t want to get too high with the highs, because we all know it’s cyclical. We also don’t want to get too low with the lows, so I think perspective is the ultimate lesson. I don’t take for granted that I get to work in an environment where we not only get to take risks, but risks are encouraged. I am very aware that if you make the same mistakes twice and fail in the same way, then you’re abusing the privilege of being able to take risks in a safe environment.?
Who is your most important mentor, and what did you learn? My high school band teacher, Bill Riley, at Lynbrook High School [on Long Island]. He was just incredibly supportive and encouraging. He gave me the confidence to really want to pursue music, but he also helped me realize that you have to take it seriously and strive to be great, whether it’s music or anything else. Among many other people who have taught me things and had an impact on my belief structure and professional life, I think a lot of it owes to my learning a lot from Bill Riley.?
What will define your career in the coming year? We’re still enjoying a great run [with “Pitch Perfect,” “Les Miserables,” “Fast & Furious 6” and “Despicable Me 2”], and for the next year, we need to make a sustainable version of what we’ve been doing. In the next year it’s going to be important to push the envelope on soundtrack modes, both with the catalog and new projects, and in publishing interests, taking a proactive approach to licensing and exploiting the catalog.?
Name a project you’re not affiliated with that has most impressed you in the past year. I just saw [Morgan Neville’s film] “20 Feet From Stardom.” It was both an enjoyable experience and thought-provoking. Every song that I have listened to since has been a new experience—somebody was in here yesterday playing music and I instantly fixated on the background singers. The movie put a spotlight on something you otherwise take for granted, but it also proved that timeless theory in the movie business that a movie needs to tell a good story. It’s just a well-made film about a subject that’s near and dear to my heart, and as someone who gets to work on music-driven films, it was one that I loved every minute of.
?Name a desert island album. My answer for today would have to be XTC’s “Skylarking.” It was a tossup between that and “Black Sea.”