Tiffany Vogt

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Fun photos from WonderCon 2012: “Behind The Music”

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Events, * WonderCon on March 20, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Here are some fun candid photos from the press rooms for “Behind the Music”  — featuring composers from some of the hottest shows on television:

Blake Neely, composer of "The Mentalist" and "Pan Am" - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

Mark Isham, composer for "Once Upon A Time"

Nathan Barr, composer for "True Blood" - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

Robert Duncan, composer for "Castle" - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

David Ari Leon, composer for "The Avengers" (Disney XD) - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

Jim Dooley, composer for "Pushing Daisies" and "Wilfred" - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

Ellen Greene, star of "Pushing Daisies" - (c) Jennifer Schadel, 2012

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TOP COMPOSERS FROM TELEVISION’S HOTTEST SHOWS ENTHRALLED FANS AT “BEHIND THE MUSIC: COMPOSING FOR WONDERCON’S FAVORITE PROJECTS”

Award-winning music talents Nathan Barr, Jim Dooley, Robert Duncan, Mark Isham, Danny Jacob, David Ari Leon and Blake Neely
Gave Large Audience Sneak Peaks Into Their Careers, Lives and Projects

Anaheim, CA (March 20, 2012) – In front of an enthusiastic crowd of television and music fans, actress Ellen Greene (“Pushing Daisies”, “Heroes” and Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”) dug into her job as moderator and happily grilled seven of Hollywood’s most esteemed film and television composers on Sunday at the  “Behind the Music: Composing for WonderCon’s Favorite Projects” panel at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The panel was well attended by more than 400 eager Con-goers.

The panel kicked off with a reel of each of the composer’s most memorable recently scored scenes, along with a nice surprise for all the panelists: each of their respective showrunners had recorded a special message of thanks to them each.  The musicians were thrilled to hear from “Missing” Executive Producer Gina Matthews; “Wilfred” Executive Producer David Zuckerman; “Phineas and Ferb” Executive Producers Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh; “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” Executive Producer Eric Rollman; “True Blood” Creator and Executive Producer Alan Ball; and “Once Upon a Time” Creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Kitsis said of composer Mark Isham’s work: If you’re a fan of ‘Once Upon a Time’ then you definitely have to be a fan of Mark because his music is definitely the heart of the show.”

Likewise, Greene showed her admiration for the composers who sat beside her in her introduction: “There are three original artists – the composer, the writer and the painter. They deserve their due, and people like me only interpret. They are the brave ones for nothing will happen until they begin to create.”

Tinged with humor, Greene quickly zeroed in on the composers’ current projects and their day-to-day work schedules, about which Isham quipped: “My wife insists my recording studio be on our property. There are a lot of 2 a.m. days.”

David Ari Leon, composer of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” passionately described that his craft and his abilities to enhance a show through music gives him great pride. “Bringing the triumph of the will of a character is an honor,” he said.

When Greene asked when was the first time the panelists “handled their instruments,” there was a pause and she hastily replied, “Oops, I phrased that wrong” inviting hoots and hollers from the audience. To save the situation, Danny Jacob said he picked up the guitar around the age of 12 and “fell in love with it.” Since then, he’s been on the musical path of live music, and composing, arranging, producing and performing much of the songs from “Phineas and Ferb.” Meanwhile, for “True Blood’s” Nathan Barr, he plays the cello, but also strives to learn new instruments to keep the music fresh. “As a musician, to keep things fresh as a composer, I like picking up different instruments. When I pick up an instrument I don’t know how to play and try to write a melody that’s going to take me down unexpected places.”

During the more serious rounds of questions, panelists went into their creative process when scoring for a scene. Robert Duncan of “Castle” and “Missing,” which premiered last Thursday on ABC, said on his best days, it simply flows. “Composing is like writing poetry.” Blake Neely, of “The Mentalist” noted, “All of us like to find what’s missing in a scene when scoring.” Composer Jim Dooley, who currently scores for “Wilfred” and wrote original music for “Pushing Daisies” added: “There’s two different kinds of days I have, there’s the experimental day where we’re making instruments, collecting things, editing sounds, and trying to find them…And then there’s the actual work day when I have to get stuff done because it’s due in 2 days. I do it really regimentally because that’s the only way I can keep focused.”

Perhaps the most anticipated part of the panel was finding out the composers’ next projects. “True Blood’s” Barr is scoring “The Wedding,” starring Robert De Niro, Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Topher Grace. Dooley of “Wilfred,” said he was excited to be working on “Best Friends Forever” and Bryan Fuller’s “Hannibal,” while Neely announced he is scoring The CW’s “Arrow,” starring Stephen Amell of “Vampire Diaries” fame.

After the successful session, panelists and Greene met with fans.   CW3PR, COSTA COMMUNICATIONS and ASCAP hosted the panel.

(Information provided courtesy of CW3PR.)

Ellen Greene (Photo credit: CW3P4)

 

"Behind the Music" panelists (Photo credit: CW3P4)

WonderCon composers panelists (Photo credit: CW3P4)

WonderCon poster (Photo credit: CW3P4)

The Power of Subliminal Programming: How TV Changes Our Behavior

In * By Tiffany Vogt, * Opinion columns, * TV Addict on November 16, 2010 at 12:43 pm
After a recent episode of BONES, I noticed for the first time how easy it is for television to influence our personal lives. In this particular episode, Dr. Temperance Brennan was chastising Booth for failing to put the toilet seat cover down. After her detailed, if not repulsive rationale, Booth was prompted to buy new toothbrushes for himself and his new girlfriend. Maybe it was only meant to be a funny reminder of how when one enters a relationship, one needs to alter some of their bachelor ways; but it was a vivid reminder of how the rest of us need to be more aware of our environments. I know I immediately tossed my old toothbrush and bought a new one which I now keep in a drawer and not in a container next to the sink. BONES actually got me to rush out and buy something I had not thought to replace. How often can we say that a TV show had such an immediate effect on us?

It was upon further reflection that I began to think back over my buying habits and how they have changed; and for the first time I noticed how subconsciously I had altered my personal behavior in direct response to what I was watching on television. In fact, over the years, many of television shows have had a subtle, subconscious influence on what I buy.
One perfect example is MONK. After years of watching MONK, I now carry both Purell hand sanitizer and handiwipes everywhere I go. While recent concerns over SARS, the bird flu and the H1N1 flu viruses may have reinforced the need for such items, I realized that I had added both items to my basic necessities in my purses long before those scares came along. Thus, it was most likely Adrian Monk and his obsessive-compulsive fear of germs and frequent use of handiwipes after he touches anything that got me into the habit of carrying such things.

Then looking in my refrigerator, I was startled to see that another one of my TV shows had gotten me to start regularly buying yogurt. After 4 years of watching Michael Weston habitually eating yogurt every time he walked into his apartment, it had been ingrained in me that every time I open the refrigerator there should be yogurt awaiting me too. It is now my favorite after work treat and I can only imagine that my deep fondness and craving comes from BURN NOTICE’s direct influence.

The other item I find myself stocking up on in the kitchen is tea. As a devoted fan of THE MENTALIST, I can directly trace my growing tea collection to watching Patrick Jane constantly making cups of tea both for himself and others as a way of relaxing and calming the raging emotions involved in a murder investigation. I have never been a big tea drinker, but ever since I feel under THE MENTALIST’s spell, I find myself craving it whenever the world seems to be spinning out of control. After all, if Patrick Jane thinks it can cure the world’s ills, then it has to be the best cure for mine too.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my buying habits are directly affected by what I see on television. For all the flak that MODERN FAMILY took for its blatant promotion of Apple’s iPad, I still find myself wishing I had one and am constantly checking on line to see if the price has dropped to a reasonable level yet. I am also compulsively entering online contests in hopes of winning one.

Another great example is GOSSIP GIRL’s prevalent use of smartphones to convey the basic message of their show: someone is always watching. It is not just the voyeuristic need to see what is going on in everyone else’s lives that compels us to carry smartphones, but it is the counter-veiling need to report on every little thing we are doing via Twitter, Facebook or other social networking sites. But it was not really until GOSSIP GIRL showed how powerful and useful it was to be so interconnected with those in our social worlds that I broke down and bought one. It seemed ludicrous that all those glamorously attired teenagers depicted would be better informed about the minutiae of daily life than I was. After all, I am involved in the entertainment realm, thus I should be as up to the minute informed as well. So just as GOSSIP GIRL advocated, I made a Smartphone another one of my everyday accessories. I just had to be a part of the world that could transmit photos, tweets and email blasts at any given moment.

Another funny trend I have begun to notice is the frequent reference to pancakes by various characters on TV shows that I watch. Both in HAVEN and WAREHOUSE 13 pancakes were the preferred way to invite a co-worker out for a meal without it being taken as a romantic overture. As a result, I am constantly craving pancakes when I am at work and I could swear that I smell pancakes as I walk down the hallways. It is as if one of my co-workers is teasing me by keeping syrup at their desk which they have found is the perfect way to ensure that I am in a great mood each day. Either way, my subconscious is reminding me that pancakes are the way the world invites us to a wonderful meal.

In addition to toothbrushes, handiwipes, yogurt, tea, smartphones and pancakes, there is a whole array of items that are slowly trickling into my every day life. Good examples are buying more wine after an episode of COUGAR TOWN, ordering mojitos when dining out like Sam Axe in BURN NOTICE, craving Subway sandwiches as result of watching CHUCK, the desire to read more mystery books after watching CASTLE, or the need to wear more white t-shirts after watching TRUE BLOOD. If asked, I would have said I was immune to the influence of what I watch on television to alter my personal behavior and determine what I buy. But careful inspection of what I am buying, wearing and using clearly reflects that I am affected — or have been subliminally programmed.

Who amongst us can truly claim such immunity? Popular products such as Reese Pieces, Ray-Ban, Coca-Cola, FedEx, and Tabasco have all been incorporated into our buying habits as a result of clever product placement in film and television. Think back over your own life and what you are buying. You too may be startled to see how much what you watch is influencing your buying habits too. For the most part, it is not a bad thing. It is just funny that we as viewers and consumers are so easily influenced. What will be the next thing that you find in your refrigerator or on your kitchen pantry? Will you suddenly find that tea and pancakes are items that you too cannot live without? And while you may resist adding yogurt and mojitos, I really have to recommend the new toothbrush. Even if you do not watch BONES, trust me on this — get a new toothbrush!


The CBS hit drama, “The Mentalist” returns for its third season on September 23rd

In * By Tiffany Vogt, The Mentalist on September 23, 2010 at 10:05 am

A favorite amongst Thursday night television viewers, “The Mentalist” has quickly overtaken former cult-favorite “CSI” for the ratings crown. The combination of drama laced with searing wit and using masterful illusions to trick criminals into revealing themselves, “The Mentalist” has captured the imagination of viewers.

The show is premised on the idea that a former professional psychic was recruited by the California Bureau of Investigation in a mutually-beneficial symbiotic relationship: CBI gets the use of Patrick Jane’s (Simon Baker) unique skills and Jane is in turn given free reign to assist in tracking down his wife and daughter’s killer, the infamous Red John. Additionally, at the end of the 2nd season, Red John kidnapped Jane’s latest lady friend, Kristina Frye (Leslie Hope).

Aiding Jane’s quest are the CBI investigative team comprised of agents Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), Kimball Cho (Tim Kang), Wayne Rigsby (Owain Yeoman), and Grace Van Pelt (Amanda Righetti) and their supervisor Madeline Hightower (Aunjanue Ellis).

While a majority of the episodic series features a mystery who-dun-it of the week, the ongoing story of who is Red John and why is he singling out Patrick Jane to torment remains a core mystery of the show. When not haunted by Red John, Jane is a formidable foe for anyone who thinks that they can get away with murder or any other nefarious crime. The Sherlockian storylines are entertaining as viewers are invited to solve the crimes and share in the ruses used to induce a criminal into confessing their sins.

The series alternates between simple stories of lies and deceit, and the darker themes of criminals driven to succumb to their darkest desires. But in the midst of it all, Jane, Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby and Van Pelt sprinkle bits of comedy and heart-warming moments. The end result is a wonderful concoction of mystery and humor that makes Thursday nights a must-watch night of television.

Do not miss “The Mentalist” which returns for its third season on September 23rd. “The Mentalist” airs Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. on CBS.

Related article (SLIDESHOW):  http://www.examiner.com/museum-of-tv-and-radio-in-los-angeles/the-cbs-hit-drama-the-mentalist-returns-for-its-third-season-on-september-23rd

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