Music Supervision for Filmmakers: When Song Meets Scene

An introduction for new filmmakers to the elements of music supervision, the duties of a supervisor, and how to factor music into your budget and production / post schedule.

10–5pm (Classroom 1)

This one-day workshop aims to provide beginner filmmakers with a basic understanding of music supervision. Learn about the rights required to secure songs for your projects, how those rights factor into budget and production workflow, and how to effectively communicate your needs to the music team. Even if you’re working on a microbudget and acting as your own music supervisor, you’ll still need to know the basics – and lots of music supervisors work with microbudgets, too!

This course is taught by Mikaila Simmons, a music supervisor who has worked on shows like Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale S1Altered Carbon, and more.

Discover the elements of licensing, including what rights you’ll require based on your distribution plan, how you can and cannot use a song for promotional purposes, and key terms to look out for in any agreement. What’s the difference between master vs. publishing? Who owns what, how do deal memos work, and what’s a cue sheet? You’ll get a step-by-step overview of song clearance, and from pre-production to final packaging, you’ll learn about a music supervisor’s timeline and creative process.

When learning how to put together a music budget, you’ll need to know about the factors that affect fee negotiation, including territory, term, media, and song usage. You’ll also need to know all about unions, how they work, and what kinds of union fees you’ll need to factor into your budget. Finally, get insights into that ever-important skill: communication. Learn how to effectively make sure you’re getting all the information you need. Mikaila will discuss some common communication breakdowns between supervisors and the production team, and ways to troubleshoot.

What You Will Learn

  •  A step-by-step overview of song clearance, and a music supervisor’s timeline, from pre-production to final packaging.

  • Creative tips and tricks for finding that perfect song, including a demonstration of a music supervisor’s creative pitch.

  • Rough guidelines for music budgeting.

  • Key elements of licensing – including most favored nations, the difference between in-context and out-of-context rights, and the importance of waiving injunctive relief.

  • Unions: what they are, how they work, how to factor union fees into your music budget.

About the instructor

Mikaila Simmons

Mikaila Simmons

Mikaila is a music supervisor at instinct entertainment, a world-renowned supervision company helmed by veteran Michael Perlmutter. She specializes in creative and music licensing for television and film.

She earned a bachelor’s degree through the Ryerson School of Media in Toronto, and began her career pitching and negotiating music clearance within the licensing department at Sony Music Entertainment Canada.

She has had the opportunity to work on projects such as Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale S1, Altered Carbon, Condor, Mary Kills People, Diggstown, The Grizzlies and Seven In Heaven, to name a few. She has overseen on-camera performances, custom song production, and sourced everything from 8th century Belarusian folk music to contemporary Inuit hip hop. She has a true passion for the marriage of song to scene, and a deep respect for the disciplines of both music and film production.

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