SyFy showcased six of their talented composers at Comic-Con on Friday with the panel “Behind the Music: SyFy Chills & Thrills.” Tahmoh Penikett (aka Battlestar Galactica’s Captain Helo) moderated, with guests Bill Brown (composer of Dominion), Jason Gallagher (Z Nation), Reinhold Heil (Helix), FM Le Sieur (Being Human), Shawn Pierce (Haven), and Chris Ridenhour (the peerless Sharknado 1-3).
The conversation turned to the collaborative process of creating a score to serve the needs of the other creative minds on a production. Shawn Pierce described it as a humbling relationship: “Wanting to be a composer, it’s realizing it’s not about the music; it’s about the show.” He described conversations with egotistical composers who, as a matter of pride, boast that they don’t watch television. His response? “What are you doing?!” Music for him, beyond being a passion and means to a paycheck, he admitted, is “a great excuse to watch a lot of TV and movies.”
FM Le Sieur elaborated on the value of actively keeping abreast of pop culture and media. “It’s an extremely collaborative process… The more different influences you have, the more you absorb.” He described the role of a plugged-in composer as that of a discoverer, seeking out and happening upon new ideas and sounds. To that affect, Ridenhour quoted John Lennon’s post-mortem of The Beatles: “We stopped being a band when we stopped going into record stores and stopped trying to improve on our favorite singles.” The same rule, we learn, holds true for sharknadoes.