The following is an interview with Chris Piccaro (Hunter’s Prayer, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies), music supervisor for the company, Supe Troop. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Piccaro about the creative mission of Supe Troop, the role of a music supervisor within a film or TV project, his creative process, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: As a Music Supervisor for the music supervision company, Supe Troop, what can you share with our readers about the creative mission of the company and the services that you and your colleagues provide to filmmakers?
Chris Piccaro: At Supe Troop, we pride ourselves on the fact that we do both top-notch creative work and all the details and paperwork that don’t necessarily come standard in the job. The fun part is, of course, helping to achieve the director’s vision of the project with the music we recommend! Where we exceed is our ability to cover the whole process with meticulous attention to the finer points of music supervision: from on-camera songs through to assisting in music delivery to distributors if that’s what the producers need from us.
BD: Your film resume has included major motion pictures, as well as independent films scores. What attracts you to each new project, and do you find a creative fulfillment from being able to work with a wide variety of musical styles?
CP: I’m attracted to new challenges that expand my knowledge and skills. I love getting a request from a director that starts off with “Not sure if we can do this, but …” It’s also great to work on a bigger film that has a more comfortable budget. No two films I’ve worked on have ever followed the same pattern, and I’ve learned something new on all of them.
BD: Can you take us through your creative process of supervising for a particular project? From where do you find inspiration, and with which individuals within the production do you find that you have the most interaction?
CP: The bulk of my work starts with the script, but everything gets really going once I speak with the director. We’ll sit down or have a few phone calls where we determine what the music will sound like, how much score versus source music there will be, and if they have anyone in mind already to score the film or songs they know they want to use. I’ll go out and get ideas for composers and songs, then come back to the director and collaborate on selecting the final choices.
BD: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face when overseeing a new project?
CP: On-camera songs are usually the most urgent challenges, as we need them cleared before shooting. I’m usually under a time crunch, especially because songs can take a while to clear (particularly famous ones).
BD: You are currently music supervising Copwatch, a documentary that will screen at Tribeca Film Festival, as well as the Netflix film, What Happened to Monday? What can you share about your experiences in working on these divergent entertainment mediums?
CP: This is where communication with producers is key. The medium they are aiming to distribute their project through and the distributor’s requirements will affect the clearance parameters. These terms will then affect the prices for songs; for example, a small film premiering at a film festival may only need festival rights, which are relatively inexpensive, but, if it gets bought for worldwide theatrical distribution, it will need full buyout rights, which are much more costly.
BD: Are there any additional projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
CP: I’m working on an independent film that is very music intensive called Kodachrome, starring Jason Sudeikis, Ed Harris, and Elizabeth Olsen. Even before shooting, the script included a lot of songs that were mentioned in dialogue, that affected plot, or that were performed in a live setting. Uniquely for me, I worked with the writer in addition to the director to nail down these songs before the cameras rolled. We are finishing it up now, and I’m really proud of the soundtrack we put together!
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about your work?
CP: Check out our website, supetroop.com.