Mark Snow

Composer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his over three-hour interview, Mark Snow discusses studying composition and oboe at Juilliard before moving to California to pursue composing for television. He describes his first big break, composing for the Spelling-Goldberg show The Rookies, and being nominated for an Emmy for his work on the Spelling produced made-for-TV movie Something About Amelia. Snow details his use of synthesizers in composing and the effect of technology on the music industry. He then discusses his work on The X-Files, including composing the theme song (telling the story behind the tune’s trademark whistle) and score, his work on The X-Files movies, the 2016 reboot of the show, and its spin-offs. He also touches on specific episodes of the show. He discusses his mentor, composer Earle Hagen, and describes his other film and television work, including Smallville, Ghost Whisperer, and Blue Bloods. He concludes with advice to aspiring television composers, career highlights and regrets, and how he would like to be remembered. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interview on March 24, 2016 in Santa Monica, CA.

“Chris Carter would show up on the mixing stage [for ‘The X-Files’] and he would tell the mixers, ‘You know, the dialogue’s good, but I want to hear that music raised.’…I’ve never been on any other show where the music was that prominent. And I think that’s one of the reasons why people noticed it, because they could hear it.”

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing for Smallville
Mark Snow on studying with composer Earle Hagen
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood and early influences; on playing the oboe and attending Juilliard
On how he began composing music; on how he learned to score for television
On composing for Dynasty; on composing for The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
On writing the theme songs for the third season of Starsky and Hutch and for Hart to Hart; on his relationship with other composers
On composing for Hart to Hart; on composing for Something About Amelia; on the difference between composing for TV movies and episodic television
On composing for Falcon Crest and the popularity of synthesizers at the time; on how technology has changed the process of music composition for television

Chapter 2

On being hired to work on The X-Files and composing the show's theme song
On The X-Files theme song being released as a single; on studying with composer Earle Hagen
On composing for The X-Files; on the importance of music to The X-Files
On a typical work week on The X-Files; on themes he wrote for characters on The X-Files
On specific The X-Files episodes; on working with directors on The X-Files, including Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny

Chapter 3

On composing for The X-Files movies and the 2016 reboot of the show
On the legacy of the music of The X-Files; on composing for Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
On composing for Smallville, Ghost Whisperer, and Blue Bloods
On the kind of music he enjoys composing and his style; on the purpose of music in television shows
On advice to aspiring television composers; on his mentors and composers that inspired him; on his proudest career achievements and career regrets
Shows

Boy in the Plastic Bubble, The

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Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble

Dynasty

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Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia, being invited to the set, and the fact that he was nominated for an Emmy for it

Falcon Crest

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Mark Snow on composing for Falcon Crest

Hart to Hart

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Mark Snow on writing the theme song for Hart to Hart
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart

I Love Lucy

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Mark Snow on how his interest in music started because his parents said they would let him watch I Love Lucy if he took piano lessons 

Lone Gunmen, The

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Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen

Rookies, The

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Mark Snow on The Rookies  being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown

Something About Amelia

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Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia, being invited to the set, and the fact that he was nominated for an Emmy for it

Starsky and Hutch

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Mark Snow on writing the theme song for the third season of Starsky and Hutch

X-Files, The

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Mark Snow on being hired to work on The X-Files and composing the show's theme song
Mark Snow on The X-Files theme song being released as a single
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files and the importance of the music to the show
Mark Snow on using music to build emotion and suspense on The X-Files
Mark Snow on a typical work week on The X-Files
Mark Snow on the times he used an orchestra while scoring The X-Files and themes he wrote for characters
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Humbug"
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Home"
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Per Manum," on which he appeared in a cameo
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Post Modern Prometheus"
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Closure" and the use of music other than Snow's in the show
Mark Snow on composing for the finale of the original series of The X-Files
Mark Snow on working with directors on The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files movies and the 2016 reboot of the show
Topics

Advice

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Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Mark Snow on studying with composer Earle Hagen and the fact that The X-Files  theme song was an homage to him
Mark Snow on his mentors and composers that inspired him

Emmy Awards

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Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia, being invited to the set, and the fact that he was nominated for an Emmy for it

Fame & Celebrity

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Mark Snow on dealing with fame and success, especially as he experienced it during the height of The X-Files

First Big Break

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Mark Snow on The Rookies  being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown

Pivotal Career Moments

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Mark Snow on The Rookies  being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown
Mark Snow on his mentors and composers that inspired him

Pop Culture

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Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
Mark Snow on the influence of The X-Files theme and score on television and commercials that have come since
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen

TV Theme Songs

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Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen

Television Industry

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Mark Snow on dealing with fame and success, especially as he experienced it during the height of The X-Files
Mark Snow on how the television industry has changed during his time in the business
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Mark Snow on how he learned to score for television and mistakes he made when he was first starting out
Mark Snow on the process of composing for TV movies versus episodic television
Mark Snow on how synthesizers affected his writing process and the business of music composition
Mark Snow on the rhythm of The X-Files theme
Mark Snow on who owns the rights to The X-Files theme song
Mark Snow on underscoring dialogue on TV shows
Mark Snow on using music to build mood on TV shows, particularly The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
Mark Snow on the "Mark Snow style" of music
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers

Music Professionals

View Profession
Mark Snow on how he learned to score for television and mistakes he made when he was first starting out
Mark Snow on the process of composing for TV movies versus episodic television
Mark Snow on how synthesizers affected his writing process and the business of music composition
Mark Snow on the rhythm of The X-Files theme
Mark Snow on who owns the rights to The X-Files theme song
Mark Snow on underscoring dialogue on TV shows
Mark Snow on using music to build mood on TV shows, particularly The X-Files
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
Mark Snow on the "Mark Snow style" of music
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
Genres

Comedy Series

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Mark Snow on how his interest in music started because his parents said they would let him watch I Love Lucy if he took piano lessons 

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Mark Snow on The Rookies being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown
Mark Snow on writing the theme song for the third season of Starsky and Hutch
Mark Snow on writing the theme song for Hart to Hart
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart
Mark Snow on composing for Blue Bloods

Drama Series

View Genre
Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work
Mark Snow on composing for Falcon Crest
Mark Snow on composing for Smallville

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Mark Snow on being hired to work on The X-Files  and composing the show's theme song
Mark Snow on The X-Files theme song being released as a single
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files
Mark Snow on using music to build emotion and suspense on The X-Files
Mark Snow on a typical work week on The X-Files
Mark Snow on the times he used an orchestra while scoring The X-Files and themes he wrote for characters
Mark Snow on specific The X-Files episodes
Mark Snow on working with directors on The X-Files, including Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files movies and the 2016 reboot of the show
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
Mark Snow on composing for Ghost Whisperer

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia
People

Gillian Anderson

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Mark Snow on working with Gillian Anderson when she directed an episode of The X-Files

Georg Stanford Brown

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Mark Snow on The Rookies being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown, who was married to Snow's sister-in-law, Tyne Daly

Chris Carter

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Mark Snow on being hired to work on The X-Files, composing the show's theme song, and working with show creator Chris Carter 
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files and the importance of the music to the show, which show creator Chris Carter emphasized
Mark Snow on the success of the first X-Files movie and how busy Chris Carter was at that time

Glenn Close

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Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia and being invited to visit the set, and observing Glenn Close as she remained in character during the shooting of the movie

Douglas S. Cramer

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Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work

Tyne Daly

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Mark Snow on The Rookies being the first show he worked on and getting the job through his then-brother-in-law, Georg Stanford Brown, who was married to Snow's sister-in-law, Tyne Daly

David Duchovny

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Mark Snow on working with David Duchovny when he wrote and directed episodes of The X-Files

Leonard Goldberg

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Mark Snow on his first jobs composing music for Spelling-Goldberg produced shows, including The Rookies and Dynasty
Mark Snow on composing for Blue Bloods, produced by Leonard Goldberg

Earle Hagen

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Mark Snow on studying with composer Earle Hagen and the fact that The X-Files theme song was an homage to him

Bernard Herrmann

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Mark Snow on meeting composer Bernard Hermann

Lalo Schifrin

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Mark Snow on his relationship with other composers, including Lalo Schifrin

Aaron Spelling

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Mark Snow on his first jobs composing music for Spelling-Goldberg produced shows, including The Rookies and Dynasty
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, produced by Aaron Spelling

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