It is really odd to be watching a movie from which I used temp music for in a show that I am currently editing. I get distracted from the film and recall the scenes in the documentary where I use the music. It is a really odd, and takes away from the viewing experience of the film.

This is really odd when you use temp music in a project, then watch the film at a later date. That is almost TOO distracting. This has happened to me too. I used temp music from a film on a TV movie, then a year later rented the movie to watch with the kids. When the music came up all I could picture were the scenes I used the music for in this movie. Because I worked on the project for a long time, heard the music every day…and up until that point, the TV movie was the only reference to the music I had.

If you are an editor then most likely you’ve used temp music in your projects. TEMP MUSIC is just that, music that you use temporarily in your cut so that invokes the same feeling and pacing that you intend to achieve in the final product. It is mainly to show the producer/director/network your work and how it will be with the proper music in place. They and you are the only people that hear that music…other than the composer who will listen to it to get an idea of what you intended the tempo and pacing of the scenes to be. The composer will compose original music that will eventually replace all of this music.

But not all the time. Often on a show I will work with music from a licensing company…music that you purchase the broadcast rights for. Depending on several factors, it may work out to be as expensive as hiring a composer.

I have also worked on other shows where the temp music was the final music. This temp music was produced by a composer for previous shows…and is normally used as temp music…but one more than one occasion it was just too perfect of a fit and we went with it. Or the delivery date of the show is short so there is no time for the composer to compose original music.

On one show we used popular music and some pre-produced music as temp. Girl bands mainly, it being a teen show where the four main characters were girls. Now, this can be dangerous as the director or producers or even network might fall in love with that music…it fits SO well that they want to use it. Well I had this one scene where the reaction of one of the characters instantly made me think of a song by The Who. So I used it in the scene, and it was VERY funny. So funny that the network wanted to license it. As you may or may not know, licensing popular music isn’t cheap. It can be VERY expensive. This particular song would cost the network $20,000. Not worth it. (Knowing that all three CSI shows use WHO music as their title music, picture the residuals on that. Sure, they most likely cut a deal, but still…) Now, as luck would have it our composer on the show is VERY good at making “sound a-likes,” versions of songs that sound very much like the original. The use of temp music on these shows often gets liked, so the composer is used to it. He did a bag-up job and the music fit very well and got a great laugh. And if you heard it, you’d know right away what WHO song it was based on.

Be aware that as I stated, the popular music and movie soundtracks I use are TEMP music…music that will be replaced later. Even in corporate productions I use pre-produced licensable music or temp music. Never use popular music in your productions…it isn’t worth it. Because if you get caught…oof.