In front of an enthusiastic crowd of television and music fans, ASCAP composers Jim Dooley, Robert Duncan, Mark Isham and David Ari Leon shared their wisdom and composing processes on Sunday, March 18th at the ASCAP-sponsored “Behind the Music: Composing for WonderCon’s Favorite Projects” panel at the Anaheim Convention Center. Actress Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies, Heroes and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors) dug into her job as moderator and happily grilled the four esteemed ASCAP film and television composers. 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. Once Upon a Time creator Edward Kitsis said of ASCAP 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.
During the rounds of questions, panelists went into their creative process when scoring for a scene. Robert Duncan of Castle and Missing said on his best days, it simply flows. “Composing is like writing poetry.” Composer Jim Dooley, who currently scores for Wilfred and wrote original music for Pushing Daisies, said scoring is like conducting an orchestra. “Seeing the sum and the smaller parts at the same time is my job.”
Perhaps the most anticipated part of the panel was finding out the composers’ next projects. Dooley said he was excited to be working on Best Friends Forever and Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal.
After the successful session, panelists and Greene met with fans.