- Mar. 20, 2012 - WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. --
In front of an enthusiastic crowd of television and music fans, actress Ellen Greene (“Pushing Daisies”, "Heroes" and Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”) dug into her job as moderator and happily grilled seven of Hollywood’s most esteemed film and television composers on Sunday at the “Behind the Music: Composing for WonderCon’s Favorite Projects” panel at the Anaheim Convention Center. The panel was well attended by more than 400 eager Con-goers.
The panel kicked off with a reel of each of the composer's most memorable recently scored scenes, along with a nice surprise for all the panelists: each of their respective showrunners had recorded a special message of thanks to them each. The musicians were thrilled to hear from “Missing” Executive Producer Gina Matthews; “Wilfred” Executive Producer David Zuckerman; “Phineas and Ferb” Executive Producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh; “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” Executive Producer Eric Rollman; “True Blood” Creator and Executive Producer Alan Ball; and “Once Upon a Time” Creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Kitsis said of composer Mark Isham’s work: If you’re a fan of ‘Once Upon a Time’ then you definitely have to be a fan of Mark because his music is definitely the heart of the show.”
Likewise, Greene showed her admiration for the composers who sat beside her in her introduction:
“There are three original artists – the composer, the writer and the painter. They deserve their due, and people like me only interpret. They are the brave ones for nothing will happen until they begin to create.”
Tinged with humor, Greene quickly zeroed in on the composers' current projects and their day-to-day work schedules, about which Isham quipped: “My wife insists my recording studio be on our property. There are a lot of 2 a.m. days.”
David Ari Leon, composer of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” passionately described that his craft and his abilities to enhance a show through music gives him great pride. “Bringing the triumph of the will of a character is an honor,” he said.
When Greene asked when was the first time the panelists "handled their instruments,"
there was a pause and she hastily replied, “Oops, I phrased that wrong” inviting hoots and hollers from the audience. To save the situation, Danny Jacob said he picked up the guitar around the age of 12 and “fell in love with it.” Since then, he’s been on the musical path of live music, and composing, arranging, producing and performing much of the songs from “Phineas and Ferb.” Meanwhile, for “True Blood’s” Nathan Barr, he plays the cello, but also strives to learn new instruments to keep the music fresh. “As a musician, to keep things fresh as a composer, I like picking up different instruments. When I pick up an instrument I don’t know how to play and try to write a melody that’s going to take me down unexpected places.”
During the more serious rounds of questions, panelists went into their creative process when scoring for a scene. Robert Duncan of “Castle” and “Missing,”
which premiered last Thursday on ABC, said on his best days, it simply flows. “Composing is like writing poetry.” Blake Neely, of “The Mentalist” noted, “All of us like to find what’s missing in a scene when scoring.” Composer Jim Dooley, who currently scores for “Wilfred” and wrote original music for “Pushing Daisies” added: "There's two different kinds of days I have, there's the experimental day where we're making instruments, collecting things, editing sounds, and trying to find them...And then there's the actual work day when I have to get stuff done because it's due in 2 days. I do it really regimentally because that's the only way I can keep focused.”
Perhaps the most anticipated part of the panel was finding out the composers’ next projects. “True Blood’s” Barr is scoring “The Wedding,” starring Robert De Niro, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Topher Grace. Dooley of “Wilfred,”
said he was excited to be working on “Best Friends Forever” and Bryan Fuller’s “Hannibal,”
while Neely announced he is scoring The CW’s “Arrow,” starring Stephen Amell of “Vampire Diaries” fame.
After the successful session, panelists and Greene met with fans. CW3PR, COSTA COMMUNICATIONS and ASCAP hosted the panel.Photo: