The good idea syndrome

I watch a lot of TV series, and I’m sure most of you can say alike. The format has become even more popular in the last decade, and the quality bar keeps being set higher and higher. Many actors are eager to be part of an episodic show because they have a better chance at developing their character, and the viewers love to grow affection towards their weekly heroes. Also there are stories that fit much better in a serialized context.

In my opinion, the latter has always been the case of The Wakefield Variation, and besides being a fan of many shows myself, I always try to sit in front of the screen with a critical perspective: if I’m trying to make my own show, I can’t help analyzing other people’s work.

That’s why yesterday, just while Italy was showing how far behind the civilized world it still is with the controversial-to-say-the-least family day, I decided the give a shot to the highly praised Amazon Prime‘s show Transparent.

The series tells the story of a family who find out their father, played by Jeffrey Tambor, is a transgender. I just recommend you this show and I won’t go through many details, I’ll just focus on the soundtrack here. The characters find some old records at their dad’s house: when they run into Jim Croce’s Operator, they start to sing along. You might remember my Songs in the key of Wakefield category posts, in which I mentioned the lyrics to Time in a Bottle to be pretty pertinent to the story I was trying to tell.

You may think that Operator has a more specific background which wouldn’t suit The Wakefield Variation as flawlessly: but what is Wakefield trying to do, if not trying to reach out to his ex girlfriend? All right, he’s got his way to do it, and he’s definitely beyond pay phones… but it’s undeniable that he has unresolved issues with that relationship. That’s basically the point of the show, as told in the three-parter web pilot.

I always imagined to use covered versions of existing songs in the show, alongside the original soundtrack, and I’ve been thinking that a female voice could be great to sing Jim Croce. It could be diegetic, with Eleanor or some other character (hint: three more female characters have been outlined during these years of undisclosed development) playing/singing on screen, for some reason. When I saw, and heard, Operator played by the two girls at the end of the pilot episode of Transparent, I had an epiphany.

Maybe I won’t be able to feature a song by Jim Croce in my show, maybe I’ll never get to take The Wakefield Variation to the next level. But I got a confirmation that I might have had a good idea, and that’s enough to keep me in the game, for now.

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We got rhythm!

We’re sure lots of people were wondering about the music of The Wakefield Variation: being the score such an important part of of the success of an entertainment product, we didn’t forget it. We just took some time to think about what was on the market 🙂 Well, we’re now happy to announce that Michele Bettali, Stefano Carrara and Fabrizio Castanìa, also known as MSF, will take care of the original score!

Guitar player/composer Michele Bettali and bass player/composer Stefano Carrara met music composer/conductor Fabrizio Castanìa in 2005, giving birth to the Music & Sound Factory (MSF) ensemble.

Since then they have created scores for film and commercials, tv series themes and original music for amusement parks like Gardaland.

Their first project as an artistic ensemble was the score for the animated series “Rat-Man”, based on the well known italian comic book by Leo Ortolani.

Left ro right: Michele Bettali, Stefano Carrara, Fabrizio Castanìa

Left to right: Michele Bettali, Stefano Carrara, Fabrizio Castanìa

Siamo sicuri che molti si sono fatti domande riguardo alla musica di The Wakefield Variation: essendo la colonna sonora una parte così importante per il successo di un prodotto audiovisivo, non l’avevamo dimenticato… ci siamo solo presi del tempo per vagliare tutte le possibilità 🙂 Bene, siamo felici di annunciare che Michele Bettali, Stefano Carrara e Fabrizio Castanìa, noti anche come MSF, si occuperanno della musica originale!

Nel 2005 il chitarrista e compositore Michele Bettali, il bassista e compositore Stefano Carrara e il compositore e direttore d’orchestra Fabrizio Castanìa danno vita ad una collaborazione artistica tuttora attiva che prende il nome di Music & Sound Factory (MSF). In realtà l’acronimo MSF è costituito dalle iniziali dei nomi di ciascun artista, quindi M per Michele, S per Stefano ed F per Fabrizio.

Da questo incontro nascono e si sviluppano, come in un laboratorio condiviso, molteplici progetti musicali che spaziano dalle colonne sonore per serie televisive a canzoni per sigle TV, da musiche originali per parchi divertimento tra i quali Gardaland e Portaventura a brani per spot pubblicitari.

Ognuno dei tre componenti provenendo da esperienze musicali diverse arricchisce con le proprie competenze il lavoro di gruppo, facendo si che il risultato artistico passi attraverso la professionalità e la valutazione collettiva.

Il primo progetto che vede coinvolti tutti e tre i compositori e che da origine alla costituzione di MSF è la serie TV d’animazione Rat-man, ispirata all’omonimo personaggio ideato da Leonardo Ortolani. È proprio grazie a Leo Ortolani che i tre compositori si incontrano ed è lui a volerli coinvolgere tutti nel suo progetto televisivo.

(testo in corsivo da Wikipedia)