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It was a family tradition within a family affair for award-winning composer Randy Newman, who was interviewed at the Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Conference in Hollywood by his son, Amos, the head of music for visual media at WME.
The father-son team joked gently as they ran through decades of credits and accolades, which the senior Newman learned early on, watching three of his uncles score films in the the mid-20th century.
“It was a difficult job, but I saw people doing it,” says Newman of following his elders. “I saw my uncle Alfred work, but he was always worried and nervous.”
These days, Newman carries much more confidence than his familiar predecessors, having scored The Natural, Ragtime, and Avalon, as well as a slew of Pixar animated features including the Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story franchises.
“The best times [for me] are working with the orchestra,” he added, explaining how there’s a certain pragmatism that comes with scoring, where you can never get too precious about the music. “You have to subordinate your ego,” he said while giving credit to the likes of Danny Elfman and Trent Reznor. “You don’t want the music to stick out. It has to help the picture.”
The Billboard/Hollywood Reporter Film And TV Music Conference continues on Oct. 30. A full schedule of panels can be viewed here.
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