The melding of music, movies

Diane Warren, Edward Zwick among guests at confab

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 100 -- including nine No. 1s -- and remains the industry's go-to songwriter for ballads and love songs across all genres.

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 noted. "It was this or nothing. I literally can't do anything else." When asked about the different 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 the 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. That's when you discover that your capacity to come up with that next thing is abundant.

"There are some people that I work with that come from nothing that fight to the death for one idea," he added, "but what I appreciate about James is his experience. He feels like he can always do more. It's like love: There's always more. And that's the person I want to work with; that's what a professional is to me."

Panel topics on the final day of the two-day event included video game music, movie trailers and music for commercials.