Film Festivals, Conferences And Music: A Perfect Mix

Nashville is host to three major film events every year: Film-Com, Nashville Film Festival and Nashville Screenwriters Conference. All three, organized by Nashville’s film and TV movers and shakers, have components of interest to both pro and aspiring recording artists, musicians and songwriters. Intrinsic to all three events is the opportunity for those in the Nashville music community to network with producers, directors and film executives from Hollywood, New York and other cities throughout the US.

2012 Film-Com took place from Apr. 14 through Apr. 20 in various locations in downtown Nashville. The conference has achieved success in a short period of time, being only in it’s third year, mainly because of it’s focused objective, providing a “market place” for filmmakers to pitch and sell their projects through sizzle reels, pilots and completed film clips to film and TV executives.

The kickoff event entitled “Score-Com” was an intensive two-day seminar/workshop for composers in film and TV held at Ocean Wave Studios on Music Row. A roomful of Nashville’s finest music composers learned about the nuts and bolts of scoring major motion pictures from two Hollywood veterans Richard Glasser, Head of Music of The Weinstein Company, and Aaron Zigman, major LA film composer . The event also included viewing of a scene from a major motion picture, track submissions from the attendees of how they would have scored the scene, and a critique of the submissions by the two Hollywood experts. Richard Glasser, commenting on the two-day workshop said, “Usually at these conferences, I am just part of a panel, but Score-Com gives me the opportunity to share my knowledge one on one.”

One of the highlights of Film-Com was “Excerpts of Music in Film,” a live performance at Schermerhorn Symphony Center by a quartet of Nashville Symphony musicians featuring conductor Kelly Corcoran. The flawless execution of each score was accentuated by projecting the actual scene footage in the background.

Just as Film-Com ended, the 2012 Nashville Film Festival (NaFF) started. Founded in 1969, the eight day event is the longest running film festival in the south and took place from Apr. 19 through Apr. 25. In addition to screenings of fictional and documentary feature films and shorts, the festival includes panel discussions, workshops and networking parties.

A popular event with songwriters was the panel of L.A. music supervisors discussing the ins and outs of submitting songs for film and TV. For the fist time, NaFF also offered “Music Supervisors – Advanced Placement,” which only music publishers and industry executives attended, specifically addressing how publishers here in Nashville can be part of the song pitching business in L.A.

Like precious years, a main attraction of the festival was the over 30 music films, many of them documenting the lives of such legends as Rick Springfield, Paul Simon, Andrew Bird, Charlie Louvin and Paul Williams to mention a few. The caviar music feature of the festival was Hank Cochran’s Living For a Song, whose viewing was preceded by a walk down the red carpet by Nashville country stars who had known Hank personally and/or had recorded his songs. Joy Ford, president of Country International Records, commented, “Having known Hank, I totally enjoyed the film and am thrilled to know that his songwriting legacy will be preserved through this excellent documentary.”

Last but not least of the three major Nashville conferences/festivals in 2012 is the 14th annual Nashville Screenwriters Conference from June 1 to June 3 at their new location, the Hutton Hotel on West End Ave.

The cornerstone event of the conference for songwriters and recording artists is, hands down, “Music in the Movies Luncheon & Panel” hosted by Nashville’s own Anastasia Brown and sponsored by Warner Music. The biggest music supervisors from Hollywood and New York have attended this event in the past, and this year is no exception. The 2012 panelists are Frankie Pine, Dawn Soler, Julia Michels, Randy Spendlove, Erin Scully, and Bill Meadows, music supervisors with film credits such as August Rush, Sex and the City, The Blind Side, and Chicago.

This event, in a panel discussion format, presents the unique opportunity to directly pitch songs for major film and TV projects currently being produced. Each music supervisor walks through a clip of their film/TV project and explains the type of song (ballad or up-tempo, pop or rock, new age or rap, etc.) being solicited.

Many songwriters and recording artists in Nashville think only of pitching their music to record labels and publishers for album projects. The road to success in the music business is to take advantage of every opportunity, and these three major film events should not be overlooked.

By Dan Wunsch

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