Composer Sherri Chung Used Typewriter, Unusual Instruments For Her ‘Based On A True Story’ Score – Sound & Screen TV

Composer Sherri Chung Used Typewriter, Unusual Instruments For Her ‘Based On A True Story’ Score – Sound & Screen TV

Based on a True Story composer Sherri Chung brought a typewriter to the orchestra to perform her score during Deadline’s Sound & Screen live-music event. The typewriter was just one of the unusual instruments she included in the music for the Peacock comedy mystery.

“I just wanted find something that was fun and cool to use that I’d never been able to use before,” Chung said. “It was definitely a little bit more modern noir, which a typewriter’s not that. The show is the modern part.”

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In the Peacock/Universal Cable Productions series, Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina play a married couple who start a true crime podcast that attracts the attention of the killer himself (Tom Bateman). The podcasters find themselves caught between reporting on the killer and becoming his accomplice.

As the killer, Bateman can be violent and charming. Chung said the series’ creator and showrunner Craig Rosenberg gave her cryptic instructions to find the tone of the score.

“It’s a brutal scene, he’s stabbing, he’s totally a serial killer,” Chung said in describing one scene. “Then immediately it cuts to a Bellamy Brothers song, just chilling — he’s driving in his car, he’s on PCH, his windows are down, he’s singing. It’s incredibly charming.”

Chung said Rosenberg told her, “The tone of the show lies just between those two cuts.”

“I think really what it meant, at least for me, was there really is a lot of nuance in this,” Chung said. “Our discovering the tone and the vibe was really those controlled moments of tension and controlled moments of comedy. There are very polarizing moments in the show where it’s obviously one or the other, but I think the nuance and subtlety is really important.”

Chung expressed those extremes with instruments like the typewriter.

“It goes along with other instrumentation that I tried to use that I thought would really be effective, things that are angular and cutting, cutting through,” Chung said.

Like Masters of the Air composer Blake Neely, Chung also paid tribute to the late Michael Kamen. Chung said Kamen’s score for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves inspired her to get into music.

“Another Michael Kamen fan,” Chung said.

Check out the panel video above.

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