PLAYLISTS: A Film & TV Songwriter’s Secret Weapon!

When I asked successful music supervisors how they manage to find just the song they’re looking for among the thousands of song links, mp3s, and CDs they collect every year, they all told me they keep “playlists.”

If you use iTunes, you’re familiar with playlists. And, in fact, the iTunes playlists are the very ones that many music supervisors use. When you open the iTunes window, you’ll find “PLAYLISTS” in the left hand column. You can add playlists of your own and name them according to artist, genre, mood, or anything else you want. Here’s how they can be helpful if you’re writing songs for film & TV.


Let’s say you have an opportunity to pitch a song to an ad agency looking for  “quirky, playful, upbeat songs about falling in love.” (TAXI has run many listings like this!) What does that kind of song sound like? Do you have a song that sounds like that? You could take a guess. You could spend hours searching for ideas.  Or you could go to a playlist of “Love Songs” that you’ve created and search for those you’ve tagged as “quirky” “happy” and “upbeat.” Maybe you’ve even put one of your own songs onto the playlist.  Continue reading “PLAYLISTS: A Film & TV Songwriter’s Secret Weapon!”

Writing Songs for Film & TV

Movie SlateThousands of songs are used in TV shows, films, and commercials each year. For every song that’s placed, many are auditioned – often hundreds – but only one is chosen. And you want that song to be yours.

The song that will get the job is the one that enhances the emotion and memorability of the scene for the viewers. Is a character discovering real love for the first time? The song needs to evoke that feeling of innocence, yearning, and wonder for the audience. Is the film set in a small town in the 1950s? The song needs to make us feel that we’ve traveled back to another time and place.  And the right song can bring the whole thing to life!

With that in mind, it may seem a little strange that most of the songs that are placed in film and TV are written and recorded first, then pitched to these projects. Many of these songs are part of a CD released by an independent artist or band – that’s right, they’re not signed to mainstream record labels and publishers.

While these songs were being written and recorded, there was no way to know how they might eventually be used in a film or TV show. So, if you don’t know how your song will be used, how can you craft it to increase your chances of a placement?  Well, let’s just say that some songs work better than others. Here are a few tips that will help you write a song that will work for dozens of scenes. Continue reading “Writing Songs for Film & TV”