Moderated by BMI Director of Film/TV Relations Anne Cecere and White Bear PR Founder Chandler Poling, the lineup of panelists included composers Tyler Bates [Day of the Dead, Halloween II (@tyler_bates)], Anton Sanko [The Possession, Nurse 3-D (@antonsanko)], Frederik Wiedmann [Mirrors, Hostel III (@freddiewiedmann)], and Dino Meneghin [Teen Wolf (@DM_LA)]. Fans in attendance were first treated to a series of clips from the panelists' most recent films, which highlighted the impact of a score on the intensity of a scene. For many of the panelists, horror and sci-fi classics like Halloween, Stephen King's It, and John Carpenter's The Thing inspired them to pursue careers in music, and the chance for them to now be working on horror films has brought them full circle.
Panelists Anton Sanko and Tyler Bates discussed their processes for composing scores for film, both noting their preference to work with the director and Sound FX supervisors to determine the best direction for the music prior to any writing or recording. In fact, they found it most difficult to work simply from the script, as the vision of the project (and thereby the music) must be molded and guided by the director of the project. Bates often described his dealings with horror filmmaker Rob Zombie, explaining the challenging process of finding the most visceral and primal sounds that best hit with audiences. (While Bates is well known for his work in horror films, geeky fans will better know his talents from the scores of Zack Snyder's 300 and Watchmen, as well as James Gunn's Slither and Super.)
Overall, the panelists shed light on the sounds and music behind the scariest movie and TV images, stressing the importance of the score to the stakes of a scene, even when it may be on an unconscious level.