Music editor Adam Smalley talks about how he works with directors and composers to incorporate and enhance sound into films.
Key Insights
  • Music is a character in any film and should also support the emotional trajectory of the characters.
  • A music editor develops the temp track that outlines the role music will play in the film, as well as factors in costs such a licensing songs and the size of the orchestra.
  • As the film is being edited, the music editor conforms the music to picture
  • A music editor is a conduit between the film world and the music world - their job is often to interpret and help with communication, as well as problem solve.
  • Don’t put a hat on a hat - music shouldn’t comment on something already in the scene. Look for moments that require a musical complement that can enhance the scene and overall film.
  • Music should be used to support a film's emotional trajectory, but shouldn’t overtly manipulate an audience. 
  • Determine the role of music in each scene; the music should evolve just as a character evolves. 
  • Sound integration is key - when possible, look for opportunities to combine the elements of sound design with score to deliver a robust soundscape for the film.
Music Editor
Adam Smalley, a native Californian, has produced, supervised and edited the music on over 100 films, including The Lion King, Gladiator, Mission Impossible, How to Train your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, and the Twilight Saga. Adam has partnered with composers Hans Zimmer, Carter Burwell, Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Mychael Danna and many more. Adam's upcoming projects are Missing Link, and animated film with Carter Burwell and The Meg, with Harry Gregson-Williams. more...

Join the Discussion