Music-rights organization SESAC has committed $1 million to help promote women and people of color within the film-scoring community, with composer Christophe Beck (“Frozen,” “Ant-Man”) taking the helm as adviser and coordinator, it was announced Wednesday night at its annual Film & Television Composer Awards in Santa Monica.
“SESAC Scores: The Beck Diversity Project” will be a five-year mentorship program to support under-represented composers, Erin Collins, vice president of Film, Television and Developing Media told the gathering of about 250 composers, songwriters and music executives.
SESAC chairman and CEO John Josephson (pictured, left, above with Beck, center, and Collins) said his organization was “thrilled to embrace a program that helps foster diversity in the audio-visual creative community, and which empowers creators to pursue their passion. Working with Chris to help execute his vision to provide the needed resources to under-represented composers is an important way that we can demonstrate our commitment to the music community.”
Educational programming, composer workshops, and financial support for films utilizing women and minorities in music positions are expected to be included, SESAC executives indicated.
An initial workshop is slated for July at SESAC’s Santa Monica office, with Beck and his team offering “a creative environment and educational support during a hands-on composing workshop,” Collins said. There will also be a national application process for grants to support films already in production “to enhance and deliver a better score,” with the fund to support composers “from a wide range of musical backgrounds.”
Beck told Variety that this is the result of his concern that “the list of people who have experience doing blockbusters is basically white dudes. We’re trying to give a little leg up to some of those composers who have already decided to brave this male-dominated world.”
For example, he said, grants could be awarded for scoring low-budget films orchestrally, or providing composers with more experienced mixing or music-editing services. “It would be on a case-by-case basis, and I would be very much involved with talking to the composers and figuring out the best way to spend $20,000 or $30,000 per movie, for four or five movies a year,” Beck said.
“We’re working through all the details, but I’m confident that we’ll figure it out. Our hearts are in the right place,” Beck said. Formal applications and the review process for the grant program will be announced shortly, SESAC executives said.
A number of awards to composers whose work has appeared in high-rated network, cable, streaming and local-TV programs were also announced. Among them: Danny Lux (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Gabriel Mann (“Modern Family”), Jon Ehrlich (“APB”), Dennis Brown (“Mike & Molly”), John Swihart (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Paul Buckley (“2 Broke Girls”).