It was a pleasure to participate in Saturday’s event celebrating The Man From U.N.C.L.E., old and new, with fans and friends at Creature Features in Burbank, Calif. Veteran special-effects artist Bob Short showcased dozens of original props, costumes and behind-the-scenes photos from the original series, and regaled us with tales of being on the set as an extra — along with his later work as consultant and gun designer for The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. I was happy to sign copies of my book The Music of James Bond and talk about producing the U.N.C.L.E. soundtrack albums.
(Disney/Image Group LA)
Then on Sunday it was down to the D23 Expo in Anaheim, where I was delighted to join composer Mark Watters and Disney historian and filmmaker Dave Bossert to talk about music for animation. Bossert screened his award-winning documentary The Tunes Behind the Toons, in which Watters and I appear. Earlier in the day we attended a concert of music from Disney’s Silly Symphony series, hosted by Leonard Maltin. Here is my review of that event.
The fastest-growing trend for major orchestras — both here and in Europe — is the advent of the “live to picture” concert, in which full movies are shown with live musical accompaniment. I explore this arena in a story for this week’s Variety, along with a sidebar on an upcoming Los Angeles concert of live-to-film Disney cartoons — and a fun story about composer Michael Giacchino‘s three big summer pictures: Inside Out, Tomorrowland and Jurassic World.
The hottest topic in Hollywood music circles for the past two weeks has been the issue of allowing music supervisors to join the TV Academy. (These are the folks who work with the producers to find the right songs to incorporate into the narrative, especially in drama series.) It probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to the average viewer, or even the average craftsperson in television, but it’s very divisive, especially within the composing community — many of whom are angry about the fact that the music-branch governors refused to submit the topic to a vote by the membership (“we were elected to lead, not poll,” they said in a widely circulated email). In a story for this week’s Variety, I report on what’s happened and explore what might happen.
On Saturday, I had the privilege of joining veteran Disney director Dave Bossert and composer Mark Watters at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. As part of its “Animation Basics” series, the museum screened Bossert’s excellent documentary The Tunes Behind the Tunes — as well as the classic Mickey Mouse short The Band Concert and a rarely seen Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon, Hungry Hobos — and then we answered questions from those in attendance. Watters and Bossert have been close collaborators for many years (here is a story I wrote about them for Variety in 2012) and it was great fun to talk about music for Disney cartoons before such an appreciative and responsive audience.
Interviewing James S. Levine (photo courtesy CW3 PR)
Interviewing Alf Clausen (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision, courtesy Television Academy)
I’ve participated in many concerts over the years, but few can compare with the extraordinary evening of television music we did at UCLA’s Royce Hall Wednesday night. I was honored to host, and to conduct on-stage interviews with the likes of John Lunn (Downton Abbey), Alf Clausen (The Simpsons), Sean Callery (Elementary), James S. Levine (American Horror Story) and Walter Murphy (Family Guy).
A sold-out audience got to hear music by all these composers, plus Jeff Beal (House of Cards), Bear McCreary (DaVinci’s Demons), Trevor Morris (The Borgias) and Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones). One of my favorite moments was introducing Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (Nurse Jackie) and declaring that they are “leading the way for the next generation of women composers in Hollywood.“Here is a rundown of the evening; here’s Variety’s story; and here’s another one from the TV Academy itself with more fun photos.
It’s been in the works for a year, but the pieces are now coming together and the Television Academy is going to stage its own concert of great music from current TV shows. (A few weeks after I broke this story, the Academy asked me to host the concert. I did.)