The melding of music, movies

Warren admits obsession with work; Zwick, Howard discuss 'Defiance'

Day 2 of The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference was highlighted by a Q&A with songwriter Diane Warren and a keynote by Edward Zwick and James Newton Howard.

Warren, who has been at the vanguard of film and TV music for the past 25 years, was honored Friday at the Sofitel hotel in Los Angeles with the inaugural Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film and TV Music Career Achievement Award.

The San Fernando Valley native has been nominated for six Oscars, had 31 songs hit the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 — including nine No. 1s — and remains the industry's go-to songwriter for ballads and love songs.

During a Q&A with Billboard senior editor Ann Donahue, Warren said her songwriting process is fairly simple. "I show up. I go to work every day, and I can just hope for the best," she said. "I just sit there and write. It's not boring, but my process probably is."

The process of creating music, however, never gets dull. "I'm still obsessed with songwriting," she said. "It was this or nothing. I literally can't do anything else." When asked about the difference between writing music and lyrics, Warren said: "Lyrics are longer. I want everything to be perfect … I'm really OCD, and I get obsessed." And at times, writing "two lines can take two days," she added. "It has its own journey, and you're just along with it."

Donahue also moderated a Q&A with Zwick and Howard. Both men spoke about how dear the story of Zwick's upcoming film "Defiance" — which chronicles Jewish freedom fighters during the Holocaust — was to their ethnic history and what it means to be a professional.

"I would say that we were looking at one-fourth of our budget (while filming 'Defiance,' so) all of us decided to take much less," Zwick said. "It was delicious because everyone knew why we were there. It was so recognizable. It's like writing a script: You have to believe in it and believe it's the best thing you've ever written."

Panel topics on the event's final day included video game music, movie trailers and music for commercials.

Hillary Crosley and Mitchell Peters are Billboard correspondents.
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