Three weeks ago, I had no idea that a television show called Royal Pains existed. It is a dramedy on the USA Network, and it’s one of the highest-rated shows on cable! Shows how much I know. But I got a call from one of the producers, and for the past two weeks I have been engrossed in writing a song for a webisode starring and directed by actor Paulo Costanzo, who plays businessman Evan R. Lawson on the program.
This has been an extremely satisfying television experience. First of all, the producers are smart and effective—not something you can take for granted in any business. Secondly, the cast is amazingly down-to-earth. Many of them sang on this piece, even though none except Paulo and Reshma Shetty (who plays physician’s assistant Divya Katdare) are trained singers. Still, they gave some terrific performances. And it has been great fun collaborating with Paolo, who had a very strong vision for the webisode and the song. I’m used to being a lone wolf when I write, and it was refreshing to try to put myself inside someone else’s head and channel what they were hearing.
The recording sessions all took place at Soundtrack studios in NYC, where the engineers were super sharp and seemed truly hungry to work on music. It turns out that 99% of their work is “production work,” i.e., overdubbing (also called ADR), sound effects, etc. One of the engineers confided to me that the reason he got into audio engineering was to record music. Hmmm? I was under the impression that all audio engineers got into the business for that.
When giving me a tour of Soundtrack, the engineers were quick to point out the spaces that used to be big rooms for recording orchestras. Now they are cut up into small production rooms. Pity. Their “big” room is smaller than Studio A at Cue Recording in Falls Church, the studio where I spend so much time. Still, the recording experience was wonderful. I mixed down the song (with the help of one of my go-to guys at Cue), and they are going into production on their dream-sequence music video for the web. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when they are done!
Another benefit: Now I know about Royal Pains. It is an entertaining, mile-a-minute show. Beautifully shot. Strong acting. Intriguing story lines. I’m hooked.