Monday, May 4, 2009

Glee and other musical thoughts

Paley's presenting a special screening of GLEE following by a Q&A with the producers on Monday, May 11th @ 7 pm at Santa Monica High school.

More info here:

Sounds fun, but few of us Hollywood drones can get over to Santa Monica by 7. :)

In other musical thoughts, I was thinking about the soundtrack to my writing sessions today. Now, I'm almost always opposed to including songs in scripts. There are just too many things that can go wrong:

1. The song will be old and overdone by the time people get around to reading your script

2. Your song will be too obscure and the reader won't know the song, which will take them out of your story and give them a negative feeling

3. You song will be too popular and if the reader's a music snob (as many Hollywood types are), they'll scoff at you

4. It's a waste of time because the music choices aren't up to you anyway

Still, you can have a lot of fun with music WHILE you're writing. Last night when I was writing the yay-we're-in-love part of my romcom screenplay, I rocked out to Michelle Branch, and it really put me in the zone. I'm totally thanking her when I get my Oscar. And you better believe I listened to some depressing crap at the end of act two when all the romance went to shit!

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Monsterbeard said...

I know I'm in the zone when I don't realize my music stopped a long time ago.

I'm partial to singer/songwriters while I write, Bob Dylan in particular, but anything not too distracting but not too boring.

probability said...

A lot of the recent-selling spec scripts I've read include music. Usually they're classic, or at least older, songs. I like it because it's purely cinematic. What other genre of writing gets to say a song plays over the following scene. I say go for it.

Neil said...

My Oscar 'thanks to' will have to go to Metallica then. Never listen to anything else while I'm writing.

Dan Williams said...

Best Soundtrack of All-Time, in my opinion -- "and the Oscar goes to....LOST IN TRANSLATION!" Great music which sets the scene, some of it with words, some without. And the classic karaoke scene.

GregM said...

And this is why I'm enjoying writing my novel--I don't have to worry about any of these concerns (well, except for #2--I don't want to take the reader out of the story, obviously.) I'm only using three songs--O Fortuna from "Carmina Burana," "One Tin Soldier," and "New York State of Mind," but they all play roles in the plot.

Russell said...

Hi Amanda. I'm a fan of your blog but this post irked me a little.

1. "An obscure song could give the reader a negative feeling"
2. "A popular song could cause the reader to scoff at you"
3. "Music choices aren't up to you anyway"

So, I'm in pre-production for a new American play I'm directing in the UK this Autumn. The writer included a few specific songs in the stage directions and I didn't know either of them. So I found them on YouTube. Must've taken a whole fifteen seconds. And the particular rhythms, tempo, lyrical imagery and instrumentation added a whole new spin to the scene, certainly enriching my understanding. Yes, I might take the directorial decision to use different tracks than those put forward, but at least I'm in the right ballpark having known what was in the writer's head.

If a reader scoffs or gets a 'negative feeling' from something they don't instantly understand, then I'm not sure they're the kind of person you want reading your script. Yes you want to get ahead and be heard and for that you have to meet the reader more than half-way, but I think you're in real danger of handing them your backbone on a plate.