ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop

ASCAP Television & Film Scoring Workshop Gets Visit From Celebrated Music Director Michael Bearden, Hall of Fame Songwriter Paul Williams, Others


Twelve young composers chosen from candidates from around the world participated in this year’s ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop,  which took place between July 9 and Aug. 2. ASCAP is the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers.

Several years ago, when celebrated music director Michael Bearden was selected, he was no amateur in the music business. He had already scored “Drop Squad” for Spike Lee, toured with Whitney Houston and worked with many more recording stars. Still, Bearden called the comprehensive ASCAP program “invaluable” to his career. 

Today, Bearden’s resume includes performances, recordings or both with Sting, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Lenny Kravitz, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ray Charles, Christina Aguilera, Mary J. Blige, Brandy, Ricky Martin, Patti Austin, Queen, Ashanti, Faith Evans and others. He has also been musical director for Madonna, Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson. In addition, he was musical director, supervisor, composer and associate producer for “This Is It,” the filmed account of Jackson’s final days, as the pop superstar prepared for his then-upcoming concert.

During a break at the ASCAP workshop’s July 30 composing session, held at the Newman Sound Stage on the Fox Pictures lot in Century City, Bearden talked with me of his admiration for the ASCAP program and said a few words about his more famous collaborators.

“Michael Jackson was the sweetest, kindest person you could imagine,” Bearden said. “I was the last one to see him before he died. It’s still heartbreaking.“

As for Madonna, he said, “She was great. Her work is amazing.”  And while he said she lived up to her reputation as a perfectionist, he said her softer side became increasingly evident after her first child, Lourdes, aka Lola, was born.  

Of ASCAP’s workshop, Bearden said, “You can be the best composer, but that doesn’t always matter. You have to go out and secure relationships. I learned that here.” 

He then added one of my favorite sayings. “It’s not who you know – It’s who knows you,” he said.

Zeltia Montes, a composer from Spain, said she learned much about the business side of the music industry during her weeks at the workshop. On the music side, among other things, she and the other composers scored scenes for existing films, such as “The Lovely Bones” and “Ice Age.”

Then, at the composing session, the composers had the opportunity to conduct their original compositions with a full orchestra. As they conducted, a giant screen showed the films.

ASCAP board member Richard Bellis directed the 4-week workshop, which featured discussions of the music business, orchestration techniques, music editing, podium procedure, publishing tips and visits by recording industry VIPs, among them ASCAP board chairman and president Paul Williams, an internationally-acclaimed Hall of Fame songwriter, with multiple Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe awards and nominations to his credit.


Top photo: Composers participating in the workshop conducted their original compositions, written to accompany scenes in films, such as “Ice Age” as shown here, at the ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop

Second photo: From left, ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop director and board member Richard Bellis, ASCAP’s Jennifer Harmon, ASCAP president and chairman Paul Williams, ASCAP’s Mike Todd; and celebrated music director Michael Bearden, a workshop graduate (photo, courtesy of ASCAP)

Third photo: A composer from Spain, workshop participant Zeltia Montes scored a scene in “The Lovely Bones” for the ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop

Fourth photo: Workshop participant Vidjay Beerepoot conducts his original composition at the ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop  (photo, courtesy of ASCAP)



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ASCAP Television and Film Scoring Workshop

Published Aug. 7, 2012 – Ellen Olivier, Society News LA