Solutions

Music is Their Passion

Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music

Every day, millions of viewers follow the comings and goings, the doings and done&–to's in the small New England town of Harmony — the setting for 'Passions,' a popular new daytime serial from NBC–TV. And every day, behind the scenes, a dedicated crew works to pull together each of the elements that goes into a successful soap opera — elements as subtle as the distinctive music that underscores the drama. That music is the responsibility of Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music of Los Angeles — a firm specializing in the creation of unique music for television. And helping Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music keep up with the fast–paced production schedule, you'll find FileMaker Pro — the award–winning database software application from FileMaker, Inc.

Overview

  • Every scene of 'Passions', NBC–TV's popular daytime drama, requires the right music to set the right mood. Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music organizes that music using Cue Manager, a FileMaker Pro–based solution. Cue Manager stores over 5,000 musical "cues", which can be easily selected for each scene.

Industry

  • Creative Services
  • Entertainment

Business Challenge

'Passions' is something new for NBC. Unlike NBC's other soaps, which are produced by outside program packagers, the network itself produces 'Passions,' taping each daily episode in Studio City, California. Each episode is taped, edited, posted and finished about two to three weeks ahead of broadcast. The 'Passions' production unit was created from scratch, and one key element to be addressed before the show was launched was the music. Stock production music wouldn't do — the network turned to John Henry, Ed O'Donnell, and Wes Boatman for original compositions with a fresh, exciting, young sound.

'Music plays an important part in the program,' notes music producer Ed O'Donnell. 'There's the main title theme music, plus thematic scores or original songs for particular characters and story lines, plus thousands of different music cues that are used to underscore the mood or the emotion of certain scenes. On top of all this, there are pop songs, which are used to give the show a popular, contemporary sound. Each hour–long episode of the series may contain twenty to thirty minutes worth of music. All this music has to first be composed and then carefully chosen and placed by the music supervisor to match the scene in which it's used.'

Matching music to visuals calls for a keen eye, a well–tuned ear, and an instinctive feel for what works and what doesn't in bringing out the emotional punch of each scene. It's often a process of trial and error — numerous recorded musical 'cues' may be tried, and the most appropriate is then selected. And with so many shows do, the system's got to be fast and reliable. That's where FileMaker Pro comes in.

Successful Solution

After it's composed and delivered to the show, every individual piece of music in the 'Passions' library is digitally stored and indexed by a single custom–designed FileMaker Pro database. Over five thousand cues are classified by mood, by instrumental mix, by timing, and by various other categories. 'What we love about FileMaker Pro is that it's a complete system. It allows our music supervisor to audition and select the music used in each episode, to generate edit–decision lists that our editors use to insert the music in each show, and to create cue sheets showing all music used in the final cut of each episode. FileMaker helps with every step of the music supervisor's job.'

The database — called 'Cue Manager' — was developed especially for Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music by Dave Knight of d–Werks in Los Angeles. 'We had no background in database design when we started,' recalls Ed, 'so we asked around to see who did. That led us straight to Dave — and coincidentally, he's located just a short distance from the studio where 'Passions' is taped!'

What we love about FileMaker Pro is that it's a complete system. It allows our music supervisor to audition and select the music used in each episode, to generate edit–decision lists that our editors use to insert the music in each show, and to create cue sheets showing all music used in the final cut of each episode. FileMaker helps with every step of the music supervisor's job.

— Ed O'Donnell, CEO/Executive Producer, O'Donnell–Boatman Music

Customer Benefits

The 'Cue Manager' database keeps growing as new compositions and new mixes are added to the 'Passions' library, and Ed and his colleagues are confident that the system will be up to the constant challenge.

And every day, the people of Harmony will live their lives, experience their 'Passions' — to the tune of melodies created by Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music and organized by FileMaker Pro.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music:

Ed O'Donnell
CEO/Executive Producer
Henry O'Donnell–Boatman Music
818-613-0814
eromusic@earthlink.net

For d-Werks (tm):

David A. Knight
FileMaker Developer
d-Werks (tm)
800-794-9445
dave@d-werks.com