The editor's responsibilities begins with a "spotting session."
The producer, composer and music editor view the show to determine
places for music, either compositional (a composer is hired
to write for the show) or source (songs licensed from various
composers for a one-time use). The editor then details those
notes in a list appropriately called "spotting notes," which
contain the information for each musical "cue": SMPTE start
and finish times, type of cue and a brief description of the
some cases, instead of spotting a show, an editor will "temp"
music for the producer (which is usually not affordable like
Sting or Luther) into the show in order to determine where
they might or might not want music.
the editor starts to place actual music in the show. For all
source cues the editor usually gives the producer three choices
to choose from. The Main Title and end credits can be placed
at this time if they are pre-existing. During this time the
editor will also be responsible for attending score dates,
running "streamers" (which identify start points for the conductor)
and will be required to be on stage for filming any "visual
performances" to make sure their "lip-syncs" are not disastrous
and can be edited in.
Music is edited as is needed to provide starts, fades, stops,
to improve lip sync, and to cut on/off stage pieces, ie: music
"split" between two stereo pairs when the camera goes inside
and outside a club or bedroom etc. Usually the composer's
music comes last and is really a "no-brainer" since you've
been working with the composer all along.
editor attends the "dub" ("mix" in the music world) and is
responsible for all music at this point. After the show is
mixed, the editor produces a "performing rights" sheet. This
contains all of the cues length, their composers and the appropriate
ASCAP/BMI affiliation information.
Editors Look For:
If a song creates a mood, stays out of the way of the scene,
and is easily edited, then its a strong contender for TV/Film
music. Melody is important as well. The drone of "I Am the
Walrus" would be much less distracting than the melodic craft
of "When I'm Sixty Four".
tip is songs with interesting bass lines work well because
sometimes the bass is the only recognizable tonality at low
should be noted however that if a song is chosen to stand
out in a scene and is placed up front in the mix, the above
It's a vague guideline, but with technology the bar is constantly
being raised. Be professional about the basics, vocal pitch,
instrument tuning etc.
find that format is an increasingly important part of your
odds these days. Dats are best for staying in the digital
domain. CD's however are very quick and becoming the new standard.
Sure there's lots of money, well... and little money. Always
get something for your work. I would avoid buy outs if possible.
The master & sync fees paid to you can be anywhere between
Always get a "performing rights" sheet from the production
office, as well as an air date and the network on which your
song will air. The production company should handle this,
however ASCAP & BMI will tell you that it is ultimately your
responsibility to get them this information. So get them a
copy, also keep a copy for your records. Know this!!! Errors
frequently happen in this process and not at the fault of
the performing rights companies either. There is only a nine
month period to contest this afterwardsno contest.
is a great way to make money in this wacky business. Music
for TV & Film pays well, and if placed on a prime time network
showIt pays really well. TAXI's got some great leads and
they are working with those who are getting the cuts. Best
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