You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Better Call Saul’ Music Team Changes Tune as Series Slowly Takes ‘Bad’ Turn

For composer Dave Porter and music supervisor Thomas Golubic, the challenge in reteaming with Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould on “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul” has grown each season as Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) continues his transformation into sleazy lawyer Saul Goodman, and other characters in “Saul” get closer to connecting up with their “Bad” personas.

Throughout seasons two and three of the AMC show — a perennial Emmy contender — Porter and Golubic have emphasized these shifts. Porter, for instance, has introduced classic rock guitar, Rhodes piano, vibraphone and stronger percussion into the mix, allowing the score to become slightly heavier. Season two found Golubic contributing more world music as well as synth-heavy selections to give darker shadings to Jimmy and Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks).

The music team recognized early on that the characters in “Saul” would constantly evolve from one episode to the next. Porter avoided recurring themes or motifs. To distinguish the story’s smaller, more personal scale, he initially veered from the synth sounds of “Bad” and chose more organic instrumentation. Golubic found that, unlike the source music in the “Bad” world of chaos and comedy, he could exercise a degree of stylistic curiosity in his “Saul” selections. Musical diversity that leaps from patriotic songs to salsa rhythms emphasizes the characters’ simmering changes. While the genres are broad and abstract, they’re tied to each character’s behavior and personality, highlighting the deeply internal, human struggles that “Saul” examines.

Porter and Golubic manage their partnership as composer-music supervisor by sharing their ideas for each section and mutually deciding which selection best moves the story forward. Because Gilligan works without temp music, each segment can be approached as a clean slate.

“Vince and Peter can look at the broader picture, Dave experiences the vulnerability of the moment and I have to look ahead and rethink,” says Golubic. Adds Porter, “It’s a balancing of viewpoints.”

Porter and Golubic play through different interpretations of a scene before selecting which music fits best. Even if their decisions don’t resonate with the two creators, they’ve still provided a unique perspective that’s valuable to the storytelling process.

“Music is the last of the creative choices,” Porter says. “Sometimes we’re able to bring in something they haven’t thought of yet.”

More Artisans

  • Camerimage includes 'Joker' in Main Competition.

    Camerimage Main Competition includes ‘Ford v Ferrari,’ ‘Joker’ and ‘The Irishman’

    Several awards season contenders — including “Ford v Ferrari” (pictured), “Joker” and “the Irishman” — will screen in the main competition at Camerimage, the cinematography-oriented film festival that will take place in Torun, Poland, on Nov. 9-16. In alphabetical order, the selected films are: “Amundsen” (Norway); director: by Espen Sandberg: cinematographer: Pål Ulvik Rokseth “Bolden” [...]

  • First still from the set of

    How the 'Jojo Rabbit' Production Team Created a Child's View of Nazi Germany

    When picturing Nazi Germany during World War II, most people think of black-and-white or sepia-toned images of drab cities. For the cinematographer and production designer of “Jojo Rabbit,” a film set squarely in that time and place, it became clear that the color palette of the era was far more varied than they could have [...]

  • National Theatre Live Midsummer's Night Dream

    National Theatre Live Marks Decade of Stage-to-Screen With Immersive ‘Midsummer’

    National Theatre Live has filmed nearly eight dozen theatrical productions over the last decade, bringing theater to the cinema using top technologies and talents in the videography space. This month, on the eve of its 10th anniversary, its production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is challenging the technical producers and crew with an immersive stage [...]

  • 180423_A24_Day_03B_0897.jpg

    How Bright Bulbs Enabled 'The Lighthouse's' Tough Black-and-White Shoot

    Early in development on “The Lighthouse,” writer-director Robert Eggers asked cinematographer Jarin Blaschke if he thought they could capture the look they were going for digitally. Blaschke answered no: Digital wouldn’t let them achieve the texture they had in mind — “what we photography nerds would call ‘micro-contrast.’ [The look] was never going to be [...]

  • Advanced Imaging Society Honors 10 Women

    AIS Honors 10 Women in Tech

    Celebrating 10 years of achievement in entertainment technology, the Advanced Imaging Society today named 10 female industry innovators who will receive the organization’s 2019 Distinguished Leadership Awards at the its 10th annual Entertainment Technology Awards ceremony on October 28 in Beverly Hills. The individuals were selected by an awards committee for being significant “entertainment industry [...]

  • Will Smith Gemini Man Special Effects

    How the 'Gemini Man' VFX Team Digitally Created a Younger Version of Will Smith

    More human than human — yes, that’s a “Blade Runner” reference — yet it sounds like an unattainable standard when it comes to creating believable, photorealistic, digital human characters. But the visual effects team on Ang Lee’s “Gemini Man” set its sights on something even more difficult: creating a digital version of young Will Smith [...]

  • Jest to Impress Cartoon Network Virtual

    New In-House VR Program Helps Cartoon Network Artists Add a Virtual Dimension

    Teams of animators and artists from across Cartoon Network’s numerous properties are getting the chance to expand into virtual reality storytelling via the company’s pilot program, Journeys VR. The work of the first three teams — including experiences based on action, nature and comedy — was unveiled to global audiences Oct. 1 on Steam and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content