Film & TV Music confab runs the gamut

Composition, breaking into the industry among topics

Day 1 of The Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference on Thursday covered a wide range of topics including composition and breaking into the industry.

For adults, creating and scoring a realistic television show about teenagers isn't easy. But Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, co-executive producers of "Gossip Girl," already had been successful at milking pubescent drama with their initial hit, "The O.C." Now, with "Gossip," the pair have pulled the show's musical backdrop from Chop Shop president and music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas and the Transcenders, a trio of skilled musicians with a surprising history.

"We all got started as musicians in the Black Eyed Peas, then we made our way into composing," said Mike Fratantuno of the Transcenders. "Each episode (of 'Gossip') has a lot of different things going, so as the scenes gets juicier, so does the music. Also, each character has subconscious music to accompany them, so certain sounds begin to sound like certain characters, like Blair."

As for big-screen composition, composer Clint Mansell, who works closely with "Requiem for a Dream" director Darren Aronofsky, says he's inspired by mistakes.

"People never want you to make mistakes, but I find it much better to get it wrong," said Mansell, who added that he doesn't work with a template. "You immediately define what you want and what you're lacking."

Aronofsky admitted that he commandeered Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" for his upcoming film "The Wrestler," starring Mickey Rourke -- but no thanks to himself.

"Mickey's character was a big wrestling star in the late 1980s, so he's a big hair metal fan, and the greatest of those is Guns N' Roses," Aronofsky said. "Mickey is friends with Axl Rose and Slash, so we got 'Sweet Child o' Mine' for close to nothing only because of his relationship. Bruce Springsteen is also a friend of Mickey's, so he wrote an original song called 'The Wrestler.' "

The economy also had people talking. While many big studio composers and music supervisors are feeling the downturn's pinch, independents see the climate as business as usual.

"It's always been financially tough," said Allison Anders, director of "Mi Vida Loca." "It's really up to the filmmakers to insist that the producers put aside enough for music. Before, I just don't think we knew how much music was out there; now with MySpace, it's really opened it up. Filmmakers have so much more choice."

The conference wraps Friday at the Sofitel hotel in Los Angeles.