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Career Conversations: Transcript: Music Supervisor for Film and Television

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>> Llyr Heller: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our installment of Career Conversations. Thank you so much for joining us today. We have Wende Crowley, a—let me get this right—music supervisor for film and television. We have lots of questions for you today. Some housekeeping is bathrooms are just straight out the hall downstairs. Please silence your cell phones. All right. Thank you so much. And let's get started. So we'll start gentle with describe what you do and in terms of schooling, what do you recommend?

>> Wende Crowley: Okay. So I work for Sony ATV music publishing. And I run their film and TV sync division. And our job is to pitch music from our catalog out to all the music supervisors who are working on films, TV shows, ads, video games. So I've been doing that for about 12 years. But I also work as a music supervisor -- that's where I started. I started out music supervising, working as a coordinator on films and then eventually started getting my own credits on TV shows.So every 18 months or so, I will work on lately it's been film. The last film I did was Peter Rabbit. So I'll take on this independent project, work with the director, figure out what his or her or musical landscape should sound like. And kind of start sitting with an editor, feeding songs, cutting songs to picture. And little by little, we eventually develop what the soundtrack is going to be. And in doing that, there's a lot of managing budgets, knowing how to license music, knowing what the rights are, knowing what things are going to cost, and knowing who controls the copyrights that you want to license for your project.

>> Llyr Heller: Awesome. And what...what schooling did you need to get to?

>> Wende Crowley: You know, it really was on-the-job training. I went to Emerson College in Boston. And when I entered Emerson, I wanted to be an MTV VJ, like, I was like, "I want to work at MTV." I grew up on MTV. I think that kind of had a big impression on seeing and hearing music at the same time. And from day one when MTV started, I was a kid sit in the living room watching. So that's what I wanted to do. So I started in journalism and then quickly realized this was not for me. Like, this isn't what I want to do. I don't want to be at the State House covering this, you know? And I just want didn't want to be a lady newscaster. It just didn't feel right. So I was like, "Well, God, you know, I've always loved music, I've always loved film and TV." I'm a daydreamer. When I hear music, I see it. I see different scenes. And I would make up stuff in my head. And then I realized I think I want to work in an area where I can put music into films and TV shows. And everybody -- all my friend in college were like, "Yeah, that's not a job." And I was like, "No, it's got to be a job." I was like, "Somebody's got to do it." And they were like, "Yeah, I don't think so. I think it's just the director does that." And I was like, "This is a job, and I'm going to figure it out." So I would watch, like, the credits. Dazed and Confused came out around that time. And I was so influenced by the music in that movie. I loved it. If you haven't seen it, go watch it. It's one of the best movies ever. And so I was like, "All right. Well, if that's not a job, I'm going to be the person who picks the songs for, like, Time Life's 25 Years of Essential Rock."Like, you'd see those commercials for on TV where it was like the DVD set. So I was like, "I'm going to be that person. Like, someone picks music for that." So I didn't know it was a job. I was bound and determined to figure out that it was. And eventually I did. I discovered that there was job called music supervision. So I was just full steam ahead, that's what I was going to do. So my time at Emerson was ending. My graduation was coming up. And I applied for an internship out in California to work at a record label. And I was, like, well, that's -- that will be a good way into the music business. So graduated college. Two days later, jumped in a car with a friend, we drove cross country. Started by internship at Sony Music. And from there, I just kind of met people that I stayed in touch with. And through those relationships, someone said, "Hey, I know somebody who is hiring. You should go try for this job." Went and got that, met more people in the industry. Through that, I met a woman who one day called me and said, "Hey, I know you said you wanted to be a music supervisor. There's an ad in the Hollywood Reporter for somebody's who hiring an assistant. I'm going to fax it over to you." This is how long ago it was. So she photocopied it and faxed it over. And through process of elimination, people I knew -- because it didn't say who the job was for. It was kind of, like, you know, send your resume in. Figured out who it was, had somebody I know put it in a good word for me, went and had the interview, and ended up getting the job. And that was for Adam Sandler's music supervisor. So -- and that's how I started. And I just started working on those movies and working with that music supervisor, a man named Michael Dilbeck. And I just -- it was wonderful. And because we were such a small company, it was me, him, and another supervisor. It was very hands on. He used to take me into the editing room, show me how to cut music, show me how to clear music, how to, you know, create a budget. And through there, I met a lot of people. So it really is on-the-job training. I do know now that I believe at USC they're offering a master's program in music supervision, which is interesting. It's interesting to see that it is now a -- a major or a minor, you know, music business and all that. There wasn't any of that when I was in school. And I do think internships are so important because that's where you're really going to meet people, that's where you're going to get on-the-job training. That's where you're going to figure out what it's like to work in whatever kind of an environment. Maybe it's on set, maybe an editorial. Maybe it's in a corporate office space. But that's where you meet people. And meeting people is one of the most important things. I hear people that can say, "Oh, I've got a connection here and I've got a connection there." Connections really don't mean anything; you need relationships.And relationships are things that you foster over time, and that's where you're able to make friendships, gain information. "Oh, I know somebody's hiring over here. I know you're interested in that." The exchange of information, and everything that happens, and the different help that you can get, and the different leg-ups that you can get certain places, it all comes through relationships. And those are so important to foster along the way.

>> Llyr Heller: That was excellent, thank you. I have so many follow-up questions. And then I will get to questions. I guess the nuts and bolts of what type of software do you use? And then how do you decide what song to use where? How is your day -- like, what's your day look like?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah, it's -- I use a couple of different things. I've -- as simple as iTunes, which I am kind of over and I want to find another system. And I need to research what other good platforms are. But for me, just organizing everything in my iTunes helps. I also, when I'm sending things to a music editor, we share a box -- box.com. And it's just folders of scenes. And basically you sit and you spot the movie. And you go through and you figure out we're going to need a song here at the main title. We're going to need a song here at this montage. There's a radio source playing, we're going to need this. There's a band playing in the bar. We're going to need this. Someone says a lyric to a song and you have to spot every single place and break down that script and know where it is. And then from there you sit with a music editor and you're like, "All right, let's work on these two scenes today." And you just start playing stuff to picture. You go through and kind of figure out on your own, from our own library what works. And then through relationships with people that you have at the record labels and at the publishing companies and A&R people, sometimes I'll do a reach-out to the people that I trust and I know have really good music and really good taste. I'll say, "I've got a scene, it's an opening montage. We've got Peter Rabbit running through the field and this is happening, blah blah blah. Send me everything you think will work. We're going wide. It could be a '70s classic rock song. It could be an '80s song. It could be something really current. Just send me everything. And then I just start listening and going through and pulling ones that I think will work. And you really don't know until you cut it to picture. Because sometimes you'll put something up and you'll be, like, "That doesn't work at all, "And then sometimes you'll be like, "Let's just try this." And you're like, "Oh sh**, like, that's great. That works amazing. That works amazing." And it hit all the right hits. And you can it's -- you know, you can edit it and you can tweak it. And, you know, that sometimes is a pleasant surprise. And it's -- sometimes it's just process of elimination. So you'll cue up, say, like five choices that you think are great. And then you'll have the director come in and go through them, and sometimes he'll just be like, "Nope, nope, nope, nope." And you're like, "Okay, I have to start all over again." Or they'll be like, "I kind of like this one. Let's put this one in for now. But I don't know if I'm sold on it. And then let's keep looking." So you just -- you keep doing that for months until you whittle it down, and whittle it down, and whittle it down until you have your top choices.

>> Llyr Heller: And then once you have your top choices, is that when you have to ask for clearance or you already have clearance?

>> Wende Crowley: Yes. I try and do it as soon as I can just because sometimes the clearance process can take a while. Sometimes there will be maybe a random rights holder that is hard to find, hard to track down. I like to give myself as much time as possible. There's nothing worse than you're on a mix stage and you're getting ready to finish the film and deliver, and you're waiting for a song clearance to come in -- it's the most nerve-wracking, awful thing. So I try and do it as soon as I can. And then there are certain situations where, say, there is a song that's tied to production. And by tied to production I mean it's going to be someone singing on camera. It's going to be a performance on camera. So you have to have that song chosen and cleared before they even shoot. So -- and then the rest you do in post.

>> Llyr Heller: Okay. I want to open it up to the audience. Any questions as we're going or should I keep going with my questions? Yes, Miss? Miss?

>> Are there some bands or artists that you know, like, "Oh, I'm going to avoid that" because traditionally this has always been difficult. Like, I'm not even going to go there, that you already know?

>> Wende Crowley: Yes. I had an experience -- and I won't say the band. But there's a band that notoriously would not license this one song. And you kind of knew it within our industry, like, stay away from that. And I walked into the editing room one day -- this was a movie I was working on a few years ago -- and the film editor was cutting this scene, and she had that song in. And I said, "Take it out. Take that out. We're never going to be able to clear it. He's going to love it. Don't let him see it." And he saw it, and he wanted it. And I was like, "We are never going to get this song." And one of the hardest challenges, I think, in entertainment in general is telling people no. Because if you're a director, if you're a producer, you don't want to hear no. You just -- they want it to get done. So I went to the band and I said, you know, "We want to use the song." No. "What if we paid you this much?" No. "What if we paid you this much?" No. Like, it finally just get to the point where I was like, "We -- we can't. They're not going to say yes. We've got to move on from it." We were even going to have the star of the movie call. Like, it just wasn't ever going to happen. So then began the nightmare process -- and I'm not exaggerating when I say this because I counted -- we went through close to 400 other songs and tried them into that spot. Because he was so stuck on that one thing. And sometimes you wonder is that, you know, the human condition, you want what you can't have? Like, does that play a role into it? So yes, there are those times when you're like, "Please don't do it." Because it's just going to be heartbreak for everybody involved. And we eventually got there. The song that ended up going in, it was great. It worked wonderful. But it was a long road to steer off of that path.

>> Llyr Heller: I know you've done TV and film; can you kind of describe your day-to-day and what the difference looks like? Is one a more faster tempo? Is TV faster, is film slower?

>> Wende Crowley: I always say the difference between TV and film is that in film your stress and anxiety is spread out over nine months to a year, whereas in TV it is a daily grind. Because in TV you're juggling probably three episodes at one -- at once. You've got the episode that's shooting right now. So if there's any on-camera stuff that you have to clear, you're dealing with it. You're -- excuse me -- you're dealing with the one episode that's editing and they're about to mix where you've got to make sure all your music is licensed for that. And you're dealing with getting the new script in and breaking down that. And you're turning episodes over probably every two weeks. So it's a really fast, fast pace. It's you've got to just clear it and move, clear it and move.

>> Llyr Heller: What kind of hours do you work?

>> Wende Crowley: When I'm on a film, it could go -- you know, there are some nights we're in the editing room until 8:00, 8:30 when you're kind of in the brunt of it. There's lots of times where I'll go home after that and I will just, you know, sit on the couch and I've got to go through music submissions and listen to stuff. And then also there are times where you'll have test screenings on the weekends. With major studio films, they'll want to test it in front an audience when you get closer to the end. So you'll go down to Huntington Beach or you'll go to Orange County and you'll go to places outside of LA to play the movie. So sometimes you want to attend those on the weekend so you can gauge how the audience is reacting to certain things as well.

>> Llyr Heller: You had a question? Yes?

>> I'd like to [inaudible] genre of artists or, like, song choice. Because like -- or do you just, like, start from scratch every single time, like, the song?

>> Wende Crowley: You kind of have your go-to based on what your own personal playlist is. But you have to be really agnostic in terms of when you're working as a music supervisor, it really can't be about what your taste is; it has to be about what serves the picture and what serves the film. And ultimately, it is the director's choice. So you have got to serve up the best options possible with your personal taste aside. Granted, if you hear a song and you're, like, "This is terrible," you're not going to put it forward. But say there's a genre that you're not familiar with and sometimes you need to kind of just immerse yourself in that so you have a point of reference. You know, the one thing about this TV show Cold Case that I worked on, it -- every episode was a flashback in time and they used music from that era. So we used music from the '20's all the way to present day and everything in between. And it was so wonderful because I could never really listen to music from the '30s and '40s before. Turns out I love it. And I discovered a whole genre of music and a whole period of time in music that I really loved. So that was really a great job to kind of go through and learn about different genres of music and different periods of time. So you have to -- you know, your personal taste and what you like and what you know comes into play, but at the same time you have to be open to discovering new music and being open to things that maybe you wouldn't have thought of or gone to first. It's always a discovery. I feel like I'm always discovering something new when I'm working on a project.

>> Llyr Heller: And a follow-up to that excellent question, how do you keep current and how do you learn about new bands and -- you know, or even old -- older music? Do you have special platforms you like best or how do you go about that?

>> Wende Crowley: You know, I really love Spotify. You know, for new music I've discovered a lot of stuff just on the Discover Weekly. And that's really great. When I'm watching TV and I'll see, you know, a scene where there's a piece of music and maybe I don't know it -- there was a show on HBO -- no, it was on Netflix called Mindhunter last year. And it was such cool, deep tracks like '70s music but, like, deep tracks. So I was always shazamming. And I was like, "I've never heard this before."That was great. So I'm discovering that way. And I'm that person I used to be resentful of. I am a mom of a 15-year-old. So I am learning about music I never would have listened to before, like Juice World, Lil Yachty, and Chippy Red, and all this stuff. And I was like, "Some of this is really cool, you know?" It's like if it's got a melody, I like it. But I have discovered a lot through him that I probably never would have gone to on my own. And I'm grateful for it, it's great.

>> Llyr Heller: Yes, question? Mike?

>> My question was since you -- like, when you listen to music, you kind of have a music video running in your head. Do you sometimes direct or help artists with their music videos, like, in terms of ideas?

>> Wende Crowley: Not music videos. But I work with a lot of songwriters. As part of my job at Sony TV, I work with a lot of songwriters that we have signed to us. And people, you know, will say to me, "I want to be -- I want my songs to be in film and TV."And I can kind of help guide them to different type of songs and themes that we get asked all the time for. Whether it's, you know, that emotional anthemic, you know, a Sandra Day "Rise Up" type of song or it's a -- you know, I used to use this an as example, the Black Eyed Peas' "Got a Feeling." It's the song that says and everything nothing. But the hook tonight's going to be a good, good night can go pretty much over any visual and work really well. So I have a lot of conversations with our songwriters and kind of guide them towards those different types of themes that they get asked for and things that work in those traditional spots a lot and kind of help them craft different songs that I can then go take and pitch to other supervisors for their projects as well. And that's really fun. I love doing that.

>> Llyr Heller: Excellent. Any...yes? Question.

>> Because oh, thanks. As far as getting your foot in the door, how would you recommend someone go about it? Like, seeking some sort of mentorship or do you recommend going through, like, a music publishing company or a studio? Like, what are your thoughts?

>> Wende Crowley: I think, you know, a lot of independent supervisors, you know, you can be a supervisor and you can work for a studio -- a film studio, TV studio -- or a lot of them are just independent and they work from home and they need the help. And they don't have enough money to pay a staff, but they would gladly take on an internship. So I would suggest an internship and possibly with an independent music supervisor unless you're in college. Because the major corporations now, you've got to be receiving college credit in order to intern there. But not for the independent people. You know? So I really do think that is a great way in, to just get in and be like, "All right, what do you need me to do? I'll tag all this incoming music and the metadata and keep your files organized and help your phone calls and scheduling and all of that." I do think that is a really valuable in, and hopefully it could turn into a job. Or, you know, you're going to meet other people and make those relationships that you don't know what could transpire from that.

>> Llyr Heller: And for someone, perhaps an adult looking for a second career, would you recommend, like, looking up the independent houses and just start cold calling or emailing and see what happens?

>> Wende Crowley: You know, it's -- yes. But if I'm being brutally honest, the life of an independent music supervisor is a tough gig. It's hard. You know? It's not easy. It's -- it's challenging in the sense that it's a very crowded market in the sense that there's a lot of people doing it, a lot of people that want to get into it. It's, you know, you've got to get a lot of projects to make good money. You know, it's just all that. But at the same time, don't listen to that. If you have a passion and you want to do it, you just be laser-focused and you go for it. When I was in college and people were, like, "That's really competitive. Nobody's doing that." And blah blah blah. And I was just like, "You know what? I'm not going to listen to that." Like, just put on your blinders and just be laser-focused and go forward. And that's what I did, and that's how I was able to kind of cut through it.

>> Llyr Heller: Next one, yes?

>> So have you -- have you ever -- like, since you have a 15-year-old, have you ever, like, were struggling with a scene or whatever and then you invited him, like, your child over and said, like, "What music will do good here?" or whatever.

>> Wende Crowley: [Laughs] I actually almost did it the other day, and then I was like, "I got this." But for a second I almost did. Because it was -- and, again, this was me as my position at Sony TV, a supervisor came to me and said, "I'm going to be working on a new film. It's teen-based, the main characters are these two teenagers who are both terminally ill but they full in love. And I want something through their world." So I was like, "All right." And I was, like, going through stuff. And I was going to hit him up about like, "What about this artist and this artist?" And I was like, "No, I can do it. I can do it." But there are times I definitely ask his opinion, for sure. And there were times on Peter Rabbit when I was home and they were sending me this one scene, and we were trying a bunch of stuff. And the editor had cut five different options. So I was like, "Come watch this we me and tell me what you think." And, you know, the one he liked was ultimately the one that we ended up going with, but I love to bounce ideas off of him and get his perspective, for sure.

>> Llyr Heller: That's excellent [Laughs]. Can you talk a little about, like, the different types of people you work with in terms of -- so there's introverts, extrovert, very extroverts [Laughs]. Like, how do you balance all the different personalities you might have to work with on a daily basis?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah, I mean, it's -- it's for the most part I would say I work in a very creative field with a lot of creative people. And I think the film and TV community in Los Angeles in general is very small, and it's actually very social. And a of us all came up together. And that's really wonderful. Because a lot of great friendships have been, you know, born out of that and relationships have been built. But this is Hollywood. It is not without its challenges. It's not without its strong personalities. And you just kind of figure out what works for you to navigate it. You know? I've always been someone who's been able to get along with people, I've been able to be, I think, very outgoing and friendly and warm. And I use that to my advantage. And there are times where people are just challenging, and that's going to be what it's going to be and you're never going to be able to change them. The only thing you can change is how you're going to react to it and do that in the best way that you can so that you can sleep in peace at night and go about your life [Laughs] and be okay and not carry whatever their thing is with you.

>> Llyr Heller: Do you think it's also a good job for people who are extroverts and/or introverts because you do have to interact with so many people?

>> Wende Crowley: I think, you know, it's just you finding your way. If it's -- for my -- as a music supervisor, I think you could be an introvert. I know some that are. And that's okay. Because if you put it just at basic, they're the buyers, they're the ones where everyone's coming to them. Everyone's pitching their music to them. If, you know, they've got their jobs with their producers and their directors, they don't have to be, you know, out in the world. As somebody on the publishing side where I'm representing a catalog and I want to get our songs placed in other productions, I basically am a salesperson. So I've got to be outgoing because I've got to foster relationships with other people there that are going to essentially license our music. I think in a sales position whether you're at a label or a publisher, you've got to go outgoing, you've got to be able to walk into a room and not know anybody and be okay with that.

>> Llyr Heller: Excellent. Any other questions so far? Yes?

>> Earlier you said that you guys have, like, little previews in places outside of LA; why don't you guys have previews in LA?

>> Wende Crowley: Because you want to get outside of the area where it's industry. You know? This is the industry town. So whether it's, you know, someone like me that would get recruited to go see a film, I'm looking at it from different eyes. Tina, you worked in the industry for a long time. You're going to look at something with different eyes. When you're in it, they want people that are outside of the industry. They want people that are not doing anything that have to do with the entertainment business to get a true read on how the rest of America and the rest of the world is going to react to their film.

>> Llyr Heller: Excellent. Can you talk about some specific platforms that you use? And I'm not -- like, Pro Tools or I'm not sure.

>> Wende Crowley: Okay. So I don't edit, I work with a person who will edit. Although I do know some music supervisors who edit, which I think is a huge advantage. I wish I knew how to edit. And I do know the music supervisor that I work with, it's on Pro Tools. So she edits -- and I know this was something you were interested in -- she edits music with Pro Tools, but then the film editor is working on Avid. And that seems to be the industry standard, you know, in that world.

>> Llyr Heller: Do you sit with them or do they show you what they've done, like, on a weekly basis?

>> Wende Crowley: It depends. Like, some days I'll go in -- like, when you're in the thick of it and you start it, it's better to go sit in the editing room and be there. That way the director's right there and you can be like, "Come look at this." Other times they'll send me scenes and I'll kind of work on it on my own. And then other times I'll just do it blind where I know what the scenes are and I'll just go through and do my initial pull based on just, like, this could work, this could work. And then sometimes the editor will cut it and send it back to me. So it's a combination of all those things.

>> Llyr Heller: Yes, question?

>> Have you ever felt as a woman in the industry that you're not taken as seriously by male directors or producers?

>> Wende Crowley: I have been very lucky that I've worked with the same director for many years, and he's been nothing but respectful, and collaborative, and wonderful. And so I feel very lucky in that regard. As a woman navigating a corporate landscape with a big corporation, I've also been very lucky that I have worked for men that have been respectful. Not to say that it isn't without its challenges. When it comes to, you know, the big department head meetings I'm in the minority -- it's me and another woman -- and the rest are all men. So there are challenges that come with that where, you know, you want to see some more women at the table.

>> Llyr Heller: And to second that question, can you talk a little about diversity and are there, like, more diverse groups of people in your area, you were saying? Are they all men or are they --

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah, yeah. Yes. And I'm speaking specifically on, like, you know, the department. But in my industry in general, it is very diverse. And that is a wonderful thing. It's great.

>> Llyr Heller: Excellent. We always like to ask that question because sometimes we great, "No, not yet, but we're hope real soon."

>> Wende Crowley: Oh yeah -- no, the one thing you can say about the music business is there's definitely diversity.

>> Llyr Heller: Awesome, all right. Any more questions so far? Yes, sir?

>> Like, with so many different people in the industry that's in your field, like, who are some people that you sort of, like, look up to or -- I don't know -- sort of look up to?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah. I look up to anybody who has an idea and can actually get something made. And even on a small scale. You know, I had a friend who had this idea for a play, and he wrote it and he cast it. And he rented a theatre and he put that play on. And it went to New York, and now they're in Scotland. That I'm enamored of. The person who, you know, makes their own independent film. It's so hard to get things made. I'm just in awe of people that -- you know, I have ideas all the time, and I'm like, "Oh, that would be cool." I'm like, "Never going to do that." But the people that actually do it, I think, are incredible. There are some certain supervisors who have built careers over the years that I'm, you know, very impressed by. I would say one of the biggest music supervisors in the game has been and still is Alex Patsavas, who started years ago and built up a company and has a team of people that have stayed with her for years and years and years. And that speaks volumes. And I think that's really impressive, too. But I think anyone who has a creative vision, whether it's writing a song, or making a short film, or making a webisode, you know, creative vision and executing it and doing it, I think is so impressive.

>> Llyr Heller: Excellent. Any other questions so far? Okay. Can you talk a little bit about some ups and downs in your industry?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah. I mean, you know, music supervision is a hard job if you're in -- you could have a season where you work on five TV pilots and none of those pilots go to air. And then you're staring at the fall season, being like, "I don't have any work." So you got to ride that wave. And I think budgets that the film studios and the TV studios have to spend on money have been cut over the years. But I also think one of the upsides is that I feel like we are living in the golden age of TV with Netflix, and Amazon, and Hulu, and all these streaming services. And now you've got YouTube Red. And there is just so much real estate. There's so much opportunity for music to be placed. And there's so much great content being created right now that I think it's really exciting.

>> Llyr Heller: Just as an aside, do you ever go to concerts and find music that way as well?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah. Oh, for sure. Absolutely. I love to go see live music.

>> Llyr Heller: Oh, another question about the specifics: Do you work directly with the composers or how that does work?

>> Wende Crowley: We usually work alongside each other. They've got their own directive and their own conversation that's happening with the director, but sometimes what they do will bleed into, you know, what my needs are as the supervisor. A good example of that is on Peter Rabbit we have these scenes where we had these sparrow characters who would come into frame and sing. So we worked with the composer who helped us produce those tracks, do those music -- do those music beds, worked with a vocal contractor to get singers to come in. We worked in a studio. So that aspect of it was very collaborative with the composer.

>> Llyr Heller: Okay, excellent. Yes, question?

>> So when movies and shows have, like, a soundtrack of, like, songs, do they make the soundtrack and then give it to you or do you, like, choose -- like, they give, like, 30 songs, then you cut them down -- and then -- like, to 12 songs and then you fit them in there? Like, how does that work?

>> Wende Crowley: It's usually the music goes into the -- the film or the TV show first, and then from there you pull those out to highlight on a soundtrack.

>> Llyr Heller: Oh, yes, question?

>> That just made me think of another question. If the movie's being produced by a studio like Sony that has a music catalog, do they push to -- to use their own music from their own studio? Like, you're required to use, like, five artists from their catalog?

>> Wende Crowley: No, it's -- it's fair game. I think if there's a company that's doing the soundtrack where a company's going to actually put out -- I guess there's no physical now -- then they're going to be like, "All right, well, we want to get our artists on the soundtrack." Sometimes you'll see an inspired by. It's not in the movie, but they use it in the marketing. So in that case there's a bit of a collaboration and a cross, you know, use of -- of what the record label has. But as far as being the music supervisor picking music and going through stuff, whether it's a Warner Brothers film or a Sony film, I'm pulling from everything. I'm just pulling from everything and trying to find the best song that fits the scene.

>> Llyr Heller: So you don't worry about clearance first, you worry about what song fits best. And then --

>> Wende Crowley: I work about what song fits best, but I try and vet things before I send it to the editing room, whether it's somebody pitched it to me. So I know it's going to be okay because someone sent it to me. Or if I find something on my own, I'll do a little bit of research to find out who owns the rights before I send something blind. Because the worst thing is to send something and then have to tell the -- it came from you. And then you have to tell the director like, "Yeah, we can't get it." It's the worst. So I try and vet everything that kind of goes over.

>> Llyr Heller: Yes?

>> What's the percent of, like, the movie's earnings you guys get? Like, is that too personal?

>> Wende Crowley: No, it's -- it's different. It's -- it doesn't -- we don't get paid that way. We get paid a flat fee. So it's not tied to -- to that.

>> Llyr Heller: So you -- sometimes if you're working 15 hours a day, if you're a set payment, that can be hard.

>> Wende Crowley: Go to law school. Go to law school [Laughs].

>> How do you balance your administrative tasks versus your creative tasks? Like, do you have to get into the creative zone?

>> Wende Crowley: It's -- and I think one of the biggest misconceptions about music supervision is people is like, "Oh my God, you just get to pick music. That's so awesome." It's maybe 20 periods creative, and it's 80% administration in terms of keeping track of your budget, keeping track of what you're spending, knowing who the rights holders are, where things stand with your clearances and your licenses and making sure that you've got all of the song cleared. So it's -- it's definitely -- it tilts more that way.

>> You -- do you have master's? And the reason why I'm asking this is because, like, how do you compete with people who have, like, master's or whatnot? Or, like, do they just go off of, like, experience since you're experienced in your field and I'm pretty sure you're really liked in your field? Is that the way you beat them? Or is there, like, some tricks or other ways you beat them?

>> Wende Crowley: I don't have a master's degree. I don't feel like in my area of the business I really needed one. And I think how I beat out my competition, so to speak, is just in the relationships that I've fostered and the knowledge that I've gained in the past 20 years doing this. A lot of it all came down to on-the-job training. It really did. Everything I learned about music supervision, I learned by working in it and working for somebody and under somebody to learn it. And that's -- that's the best thing. I didn't really -- I just don't feel like it's the type of industry that you need a master's program for.

>> Llyr Heller: You had a question as well?

>> Yeah, [inaudible]. How do you guys set budgets for things such as having, like, a soundtrack and stuff like that?

>> Wende Crowley: Usually the studio will tell us. You know, there's usually a line producer on the film, and the line producer will budget everything out. And from there, they'll tell us, "This is how much you have to spend on music." And sometimes you've got to go over, and then you've got to go to the studio ask for more money. Or other times they're like, "There is no more money. You've got to make cuts and pull some things out and get creative that way." So it's usually set. I know how much I have to play with right from the start.

>> Llyr Heller: Go ahead.

>> So what -- what's the most you guys ever spent on a song, like, to put it in -- in one of your films, like, the highest? You know what I'm saying? And then the lowest?

>> Wende Crowley: [Laughs] It's a wide -- it runs a wide -- I'm just going to give you general terms but not tied to anything specifically that --

>> Yeah.

>> Wende Crowley: Things could be cleared as low as $500. Things could cost as much as over $1 million depending on what it is, depending who the artist is. Is it a big commercial? Is it a big trailer? Is it a huge end title? Is it, you know, a huge iconic artist? It varies. So it goes from one end to the other. But over $1 million is --

>> Llyr Heller: Do independent musicians ever come to you and say, "Oh, you can use it for free"?

>> Wende Crowley: Yes, yes.

>> Llyr Heller: And it works out?

>> Wende Crowley: Yes, yes. And yeah -- you know, nobody's going to work for free. And for songwriters, I feel like this is their likelihood. And if -- I think they should get paid.

>> Llyr Heller: That's excellent. We have about ten-ish, nine-ish minutes. Any other questions? Yes?

>> What was the name of the female you said who leads or, like, you look up to as a music supervisor?

>> Wende Crowley: Alexandra Patsavas.

>> How long has she been in the business?

>> Wende Crowley: I met her in the -- I think supervision-wise, like, early '90s? Yeah.

>> Well, I think that's good, like, you said it's not, like, a wide range of females in the business but, like, you actually have opportunity to look up to a female that's in the business.

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah. And, you know, that's a really good point. I want to clarify something that I said. In my specific corporate world, it's definitely more male-dominated. But in the music supervisor landscape, it's actually a lot of women. There's a lot of women. Which is interesting. I always think, you know, you got to multitask. It's a multitasking kind of job [Laughs]. But there are a lot of women music supervisors, which is great. It's really great.

>> Llyr Heller: Would you like to share what you're working on upcoming on currently?

>> Wende Crowley: Yeah, upcoming I'm going to be working on Peter Rabbit 2 that's slated to come out I want to say 20 -- either 2019 or 2020. So that's going to be coming up soon. And then there's another independent film that we haven't quite announced yet. But I think that will come after Peter Rabbit.

>> Llyr Heller: Do we have more questions? I thought I saw some hand. Yes, question?

>> Do you have one, like, favorite horror story or just favorite moment with a celebrity, some, you know, I don't know, funny anecdotal story that you could share [Laughs]?

>> Wende Crowley: I have two. One is a licensing horror story, and one is like, "Oh my God, I can't believe this is my job" story. So the one fun is when we were working on an Adam Sandler movie, I think it was Big Daddy. We had done a lot of private screenings for a lot of artists that we wanted to come in and see the movie. And Axle Rose came through. And the Red Hot Chili Peppers came through. And Ryan Adams came in. And it's -- if you've ever been into a small screening room on a studio lot, it's small. Like, it's maybe this big. So kind of being in that, like, oh my God. Like, if you had told me this when I was a teenager, I would never have believed it. So you have those moments and you got to keep cool. You got to act like you're fine, but inside you're freaking out. So that was really exciting. And then when I was working on Cold Case, Cold Case was very intense because there was a lot of music and it moved really fast. And I had to get this one song cleared. It was an old song from the '40s. And songs can be split up. You know, the three of us could write a song and we could have our publishing with different companies. But if somebody wanted to clear it, they have to get my permission, your permission, and your permission. Well, there was this one song and there was a piece of the publishing that was missing. And I had the person's name. I couldn't get any information. I called 4-1-1 and got a phone number to somebody in Florida. And I was like, "All right, here goes nothing." I called and I got a voice message that was like, "This is Gladys, leave a message." And I was like, "Oh, I am so dead. I'm never going to get this cleared." And I left the message. And within a half hour, I got a phone call. And it was this young woman who said, "I got your message. My aunt recently passed. I'm at her house clearing out everything and I was listening to her answering machine messages. Yes, my uncle wrote that song. I guess I'm going to be handling this stuff now. I have no idea. What do you need me to do?" And I said, "I'm going to fax you a piece of paper. And it's going to explain to you how I want to use this song. I'm going to write $15,000 there. You're going to write okay, date it, sign your name, and fax it back to me. And in 90 days you'll get a check." She was like, "Okay." And just like -- oh my God. Like, it was just the timing of that was crazy. Because that could have been one of those where you're scrambling and you have two days to find another song that works to picture, get it cleared, and make the deadline. And I always love that because she was just like "What do I do?" Yes, that one worked out.

>> Llyr Heller: Any others?

>> [Inaudible] Oscars?

>> Wende Crowley: You know what's really exciting? So there was just an event last night that I went to. Music supervisors now can qualify for Emmy awards. So it's super exciting. Last year a woman named Sue Jacobs won. And she's fantastic. Like, if you ever looked up her credits, she work on awesome films. She did Big Little Lies. She just works on the David O'Russell movies. So she won the first Emmy for the music supervision award. There is a Guild of Music Supervisors now, which is also a wonderful organization. And they had an event last night honoring the upcoming -- the nominees for the upcoming awards. So yeah -- so we're getting there. Hopefully Oscars will be next. Awesome [Laughs].

>> Llyr Heller: Do you have some favorite TV or film recommendations for all of us where you think the music is superb?

>> Wende Crowley: Yes. Well, Dazed and Confused. Go back and watch that. It's great. Let's see, I loved the music in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which was on Amazon this past year. I thought it was really great. Again, Mindhunter, I thought that was really wonderful. I love scenes where they -- they use music kind of as counterpoint where maybe you'll have something -- it was The Leftovers promo from a couple years ago. And they used an ABBA song, which was so up and fun, but, like, you know the show is so dark. I love kind of that counterpoint. So I thought that was really great, too.

>> Llyr Heller: Cool, thank you. All right. Well, we are out of time. So thank you so much for joining us. Let's all give her a round of applause.

>> Wende Crowley: Thank you.

>> Llyr Heller: Thank you so much.


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