One of the most contentious, and complex, issues facing Hollywood studio musicians is the role that the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) plays in their lives. If a movie production company or studio isn’t legally bound to score in Hollywood (only major studios and networks are), then they often choose to go overseas to record their music. A growing number of musicians are unhappy about this, and many are urging the AFM to agree to concessions in order to keep more recording work in L.A. This story reports what many had to say at a meeting in Santa Monica in late 2012. (The headline, incidentally, is misleading; it’s not so much about the composers but rather about the musicians who play the music.) And here’s a followup story from January 2013 on the issue.
Here is a group of stories I wrote for Variety about Marco Beltrami, one of today’s most innovative and sought-after composers for film. Just getting to his Malibu studio was something of an adventure. The main story includes quotes from collaborators ranging from James Mangold and Wes Craven to Tommy Lee Jones, and something of Beltrami himself talking about his journey. I also wrote about his unique studio and his recent, more intimate, scores.