Nashville Skyline

Aug 1, 2003 12:00 PM, By Rick Clark


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

One day, while I was digging through my library for source music candidates for a film project, an event in Nashville was brought to my attention by Andrea Pizzano, the person who keeps all of the project craziness running smoothly in this office. It was the 5th Annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference. I knew that Andrea was seriously working on a TV show treatment and I wondered why she thought that I might want to check it out. Then I spotted a few music-related panels. The one of greatest interest was simply titled “Music and the Movies,” assembled by music supervisor Anastasia Brown. It was held at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The panelists included music and film industry impresario Miles Copeland (The Copeland Group, Firstars Management); music supervisor/consultant P.J. Bloom (HBO Films, and projects with John Frankenheimer, Mike Nichols, Norman Jewison, Ridley Scott, etc.); screenwriter/musician Les Bohem (Steven Spielberg-produced SciFi Channel series, Taken); music supervisor/artist manager Ed Gerrard (projects with Wes Craven, Steve Miner, et al; his Impact Artist Management clients include Dr. John, Angelique Kidjo, Olu Dara, Gipsy Kings); composer/musician Terence Blanchard (film music credits include Do the Right Thing, Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, etc., and a jazz artist on Blue Note Records); and music attorney Don Welty (senior counsel for Music for Buena Vista Motion Picture Group). Brown — whose music supervision/consulting credits have included Charlie's War, Taken and the feature documentary The Dance — moderated. Brown also previously managed country artists Keith Urban and John Berry, and functioned as A&R for Ark21, signing Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell.

The high turn-out clearly demonstrated that there are many people in Nashville who are deep into working with music for film, either placing songs or scoring compositions.

“Les [Bohem] really had the vision to do this panel, because there are so many great songs written in Nashville, and Les sees them like they are mini-screenplays,” says Brown. “He felt that many of these songwriters in Nashville have the talent to be great screenwriters and they don't even know it.”

Bohem, who once played bass in the band Sparks, feels that Nashville is ripe with talent for film. “I think people in Nashville forget how good everything is there. There are so many great songwriters and musicians, and people get immune to it because you see it all of the time,” says Bohem, who started the conference five years ago with business manager Gary Haber and film producer Karen Murphy (whose credits include This Is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, Best In Show and A Mighty Wind).

One of the points that emerged in the conversations concerned the amount of film-related work already happening in town, like Charlie's War, which is directed by David Abbott for Tenaissance Productions Inc. and stars Olympia Dukakis, Lynn Redgrave, Isabella Steele, and Nashville native Vernon Winfrey, father of Oprah Winfrey and a local barbershop owner. Another film where the music was created and produced in Nashville is The Dance, a documentary about Louisiana boxer Billy Roth and his years as a volunteer boxing coach, referee and mentor in the infamous state penitentiary at Angola, La. The film was produced by Eric A. Geadelmann of Haynes/Geadelmann Pictures with producer/director John Darling Haynes. Award-winning local composer/arranger/producer and musician Scott Brasher handled the music supervision. The music in The Dance ranges from raw, acoustic, Delta-style blues and black gospel to that of local hip hop artist Baby Low Ki. Country singer Trace Adkins narrated The Dance and his track was cut at Paragon Recording, located south of Nashville. The bulk of the music tracking was done at IV Music, with Dan Rudin engineering and additional engineering handled by Daniel Noga.

The IV sessions were done through Digidesign Pro Control and Pro Tools 5.2 MIXPlus/24-bit Apogee converters. Rudin monitored through his Blue Sky System One 2.1 system. “I used KEF C55s for 15 years, which I love, but I was wanting to have a little more accuracy down low and in the very top stuff. I didn't want anything harsh,” says Rudin. “I could never find a modern loudspeaker that was anything like that, until I found the Blue Skies.

“We wanted everything to be real roots-y, acoustic, front porch-y-sounding,” Rudin continues. “We miked everything real loose and let them play it all live. Even the background vocalists sang live. We did choir stuff there and some foot stomping and harmonica things just to kind of create the mood of a real southern Louisiana thing. Scott [Brasher] came in with the cues mapped out and we recorded them. Some of it was improv. It was actually a very good creative process for the music. Scott took a lot of this back to his home studio and did some music editing there.”

Brasher edited on Logic. “I did a chain-gang version of that old song ‘John Henry’ and recorded that at home, pretty much just recording myself yelling into a microphone about 10 times,” Brasher says with a laugh. “I added a bunch of noise in the background, pulling up samples that sounded like hammers hitting spikes. Phil Keaggy did a lot of stuff for me, and then the rest of it was all done at IV.”

IV owner Chris Parker looks forward to more film-oriented projects, particularly with Haynes/Geadelmann. “It was a really neat situation, being introduced to Eric [Geadelmann] and being involved in the project, because The Dance is a very inspiring film. It's a great story. We're beginning to get involved more and more in the film community locally, and that is something I am very committed to. We had an L.A. presence for a few years and it was difficult. But for The Dance, all of the music and the audio were done in Nashville. There are not a whole lot of films out there floating around that you can say that for. I know that Eric is committed to staying here in Nashville and making it work, and we're excited to be a part of that down the road with him and see where it leads to.”

Brown is equally excited about the emergence of Haynes/Geadelmann Pictures as a serious film industry player to stimulate the local community. “Eric is setting up a really amazing entertainment company,” she says. “It is good for our city that he is here. Eric has optioned some amazing properties to do feature films; people like Ron Meyer are knocking on his door.” Haynes/Geadelmann Pictures is currently working on another documentary called Kiss the Soldiers: The Mauthausen Liberation. Brasher has begun creating the music for this project.

Finally, when I asked Abbott, the director/producer for Charlie's War, about his sense of Nashville as a place to do music for film, he says, “There are quite a few composers that have great credentials who reside in Nashville. Most of the record labels and publishers here are great to work with, and you can imagine, with all of the studios and world-class music producers and musicians that live here, there is no reason why filmmakers can't benefit from all of the resources here.”

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