Thomas Golubic - photo credit: Elis Jolie

Film/TV Out Take: Music Supervisor Thomas Golubic

As the music supervisor behind Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and, more recently, Better Call Saul, Thomas Golubic is responsible for identifying and orchestrating the role music plays in a project: Is a composer needed? Who will it be? How much money is available? Will the music be original or licensed?

While Golubic is a champion of his field, having worked on several highly respected projects, music supervision is one of those industry jobs that doesn’t often get the recognition it deserves, which is why Golubic was one of the professionals behind the push for the recent designation of an Emmy award specifically for music supervisors’ important work. While largely behind-the-scenes, it is a huge and multi-faceted job:

“Knowledge of storytelling is vital and separates quality music supervisors from amateurs. Ability to think like a director or producer is key. You are not an advocate for a specific artist or genre; you’re a consultant for filmmakers,” Golubic says. “If you don’t communicate well, it creates a host of problems, and those problems come into focus often on a short deadline and tight budget. And you have to build a network of alliances with labels, producers, artists, writers, directors.”

As head of the education committee for the Guild of Music Supervisors, Thomas Golubic improves educational opportunities for those in the field and heads the guild’s annual conference. It’s an event geared toward helping other music supervisors make connections and improve their craft, and help others in the business, including film directors, develop a better understanding of the profession.

“I went to film school, and having that background was helpful in learning the storytelling techniques that help you do this job well. But that was in the time of VHS and video stores. Now you have Netflix, and you can learn a lot by just watching a lot of material,” he says. “Plenty of people come into this job from the music industry side but you have to work with people who don’t necessarily know music well; they just want you to find some music that tells their story. That’s your job.”

Photo by Elis Jolie

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