Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:00

Sync Summit Music Supervisor Series Pt 2: Nora Felder

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Sync Summit

We are happy to announce that we’re partnering with the talented folks at Sync Summit to participate in this year’s Sync Summit Hollywood. Sync Summit markets itself as “the world premiere music + media market” and hosts events in several popular locales across the globe focusing on music licensing, clearances, and all things sync related.

Some of this year’s speakers include executives from Warner, Sony, The Hit House, MGM, and many more. The agenda is slam-packed with panel discussions leaving plenty of time for networking breaks.

As such, we’re also partnering with the Summit to bring you exclusive interviews with some of this year’s key speakers.  We started with a great piece by Daryl Berg, and are proud to bring on award-winning music supervisor, Nora Felder, for our second piece.

Nora is the President of Picture Music Company, an organization specializing in all facets of music supervision including creative conceptualization, song placement, budget management and much more.  Felder has worked on both feature film and television including film soundtrack consulting for Disney Touchstone Pictures and Overture Films. She has also worked on the hit Showtime series “Californication,” and USA Network series “Necessary Roughness,” and is currently working on series for both CBS and NBC.

This busy Hollywood Music and Media Award winner and Guild of Music Supervisors nominee made time to chat with us about her favorite sync moments, the licensing biz, Sync Summit and more! See her responses below.


I discovered I wanted to be a music supervisor…

When I decided to make the move to LA from NY, my former employer Phil Ramone said, “you've always been a song girl. There's so many things you can do out there but you should try and do something in the movie business that merges music with picture.” That thought intrigued me, although my plan was to just meet with a bunch of folks I knew and see where it led. When I started hearing about the craft of music supervision, the idea intrigued me, so I decided to explore it.

One of my favorite music supervision moments ever is…

Nora Felder

Classic Film: Harold & Maude, the “Field of Sunflowers” scene montage featuring Cat Stevens’ "Where Do the Children Play.”   I saw this use when I was a little kid and I think that is one of the key moments in which music really became a soundtrack to my life — cliché or as corny as that may sound—it’s VERY true!

One of my favorite moments from a project I worked on is the use of The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ track “Second Life Replay” as a montage end song in “Californication.” When the album came out, the song made a huge impact on me, and I had always liked this wonderful Swedish band and thought their style fit perfectly in the template for the show.  The only thing was that with this particular track, the lyrics were so specific I thought the possibility of the planets aligning for a use were pretty slim, but — as one never knows what will happen — I ingrained it in my head to be on the lookout.

Then, miraculously, the right moment came up in which the lyrics perfectly expressed what was going on in the scene as well as the complicated state of mind of the main character, Hank (David Duchovny), on so many levels (both surface and deep). It also worked from a storytelling and musical standpoint. This truly was as if the song was created specifically for the story and scene and I'm glad the planets aligned for this use. Definitely one of my favs of the show.

The thing about music supervision that will never change is…

There will always be a need for songs to add a significant impact to the message of moving pictures.

The thing about music supervision that’s changing fastest is…

With so many chefs in the kitchen on any given project, and with music being such a subjective art form, the determination of what song will work in what scene can change moment to moment to moment.

One thing I hope I can express to audiences at Sync Summit is...

Go to as many panels as possible in regards to the creative and administrative aspects of getting your music placed and listen/absorb all the knowledge of what the "music buyers" are saying.

There are so many variables that determine the outcome of a placement that have nothing to do with just being a good song. Many [writers] make the same mistakes, which get in the way of chances for succeeding.

The next artist I want to sync up is…

There are so many artists from all over the world that have caught my eye, so I think I'd like to broaden my answer and say I'd love to strive to have presented a good balance of artists from all over the world, as, without sounding cliché, music truly is a universal language.

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Music supervision, or matching music to all the different mediums from films to ring tones, is one of the fastest-growing careers in the music industry, but finding the winning song for a national ad campaign or compiling a platinum movie soundtrack takes more than just good taste. Music supervision today requires serious multi-tasking and the ability to navigate licensing, relationships, and cultural trends with ease. This book guides you through real scenarios and legal landmines you might encounter; it explores sound design and profiles key players with insightful interviews, while providing project form templates that will save time for seasoned music supervisors.

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