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.”

Highlights
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
06:13
Mark Snow on composing for Smallville
02:19
Mark Snow on studying with composer Earle Hagen
02:25
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart
05:12
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
05:28
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
04:04

Dynasty

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Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work
01:28

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
04:08

Falcon Crest

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Mark Snow on composing for Falcon Crest
05:43

Hart to Hart

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Mark Snow on writing the theme song for Hart to Hart
02:56
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart
05:12

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 
01:41

Lone Gunmen, The

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Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
04:30

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
01:12

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
04:08

Starsky and Hutch

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Mark Snow on writing the theme song for the third season of Starsky and Hutch
03:35

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
14:24
Mark Snow on The X-Files theme song being released as a single
02:57
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files
06:12
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files and the importance of the music to the show
03:40
Mark Snow on using music to build emotion and suspense on The X-Files
03:08
Mark Snow on a typical work week on The X-Files
03:06
Mark Snow on the times he used an orchestra while scoring The X-Files and themes he wrote for characters
03:52
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Humbug"
04:23
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Home"
01:57
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Per Manum," on which he appeared in a cameo
03:25
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Post Modern Prometheus"
01:35
Mark Snow on The X-Files episode, "Closure" and the use of music other than Snow's in the show
01:54
Mark Snow on composing for the finale of the original series of The X-Files
01:12
Mark Snow on working with directors on The X-Files
07:49
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files movies and the 2016 reboot of the show
15:51
Topics

Advice

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Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
05:28

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
03:58
Mark Snow on his mentors and composers that inspired him
04:57

Emmy Awards

View Topic
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
04:08

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
03:20

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
01:12

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
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
01:12
Mark Snow on his mentors and composers that inspired him
04:57

Pop Culture

View Topic
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
06:13
Mark Snow on the influence of The X-Files theme and score on television and commercials that have come since
01:39
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen
00:38

TV Theme Songs

View Topic
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The X-Files
06:13
Mark Snow on composing the theme song to The Lone Gunmen
00:38

Television Industry

View Topic
Mark Snow on dealing with fame and success, especially as he experienced it during the height of The X-Files
03:20
Mark Snow on how the television industry has changed during his time in the business
02:07
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
05:28
Professions

Composer

View Profession
Mark Snow on how he learned to score for television and mistakes he made when he was first starting out
04:26
Mark Snow on the process of composing for TV movies versus episodic television
00:43
Mark Snow on how synthesizers affected his writing process and the business of music composition
05:45
Mark Snow on the rhythm of The X-Files theme
01:11
Mark Snow on who owns the rights to The X-Files theme song
01:10
Mark Snow on underscoring dialogue on TV shows
01:46
Mark Snow on using music to build mood on TV shows, particularly The X-Files
04:22
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
04:30
Mark Snow on the "Mark Snow style" of music
00:47
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
05:28

Music Professionals

View Profession
Mark Snow on how he learned to score for television and mistakes he made when he was first starting out
04:26
Mark Snow on the process of composing for TV movies versus episodic television
00:43
Mark Snow on how synthesizers affected his writing process and the business of music composition
05:45
Mark Snow on the rhythm of The X-Files theme
01:11
Mark Snow on who owns the rights to The X-Files theme song
01:10
Mark Snow on underscoring dialogue on TV shows
01:46
Mark Snow on using music to build mood on TV shows, particularly The X-Files
04:22
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
04:30
Mark Snow on the "Mark Snow style" of music
00:47
Mark Snow on advice to aspiring television composers
05:28
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
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 
01:41

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
01:12
Mark Snow on writing the theme song for the third season of Starsky and Hutch
03:35
Mark Snow on writing the theme song for Hart to Hart
02:56
Mark Snow on composing for Hart to Hart
05:12
Mark Snow on composing for Blue Bloods
05:06

Drama Series

View Genre
Mark Snow on composing for Dynasty and being fired because Douglas S. Cramer didn't like his work
01:27
Mark Snow on composing for Falcon Crest
05:43
Mark Snow on composing for Smallville
02:19

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Mark Snow on being hired to work on The X-Files  and composing the show's theme song
14:24
Mark Snow on The X-Files theme song being released as a single
02:57
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files
06:12
Mark Snow on using music to build emotion and suspense on The X-Files
03:09
Mark Snow on a typical work week on The X-Files
03:06
Mark Snow on the times he used an orchestra while scoring The X-Files and themes he wrote for characters
03:42
Mark Snow on specific The X-Files episodes
15:42
Mark Snow on working with directors on The X-Files, including Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny
07:49
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files movies and the 2016 reboot of the show
15:51
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files spin-offs Millennium and The Lone Gunmen
04:30
Mark Snow on composing for Ghost Whisperer
03:16

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble
04:04
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie Something About Amelia
04:08
People

Gillian Anderson

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Mark Snow on working with Gillian Anderson when she directed an episode of The X-Files
02:06

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
01:12

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 
09:15
Mark Snow on composing for The X-Files and the importance of the music to the show, which show creator Chris Carter emphasized
03:40
Mark Snow on the success of the first X-Files movie and how busy Chris Carter was at that time
02:28

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
01:45

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
01:28

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
01:12

David Duchovny

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Mark Snow on working with David Duchovny when he wrote and directed episodes of The X-Files
03:28

Leonard Goldberg

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Mark Snow on his first jobs composing music for Spelling-Goldberg produced shows, including The Rookies and Dynasty
03:04
Mark Snow on composing for Blue Bloods, produced by Leonard Goldberg
05:06

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
03:58

Bernard Herrmann

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Mark Snow on meeting composer Bernard Hermann
02:32

Lalo Schifrin

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Mark Snow on his relationship with other composers, including Lalo Schifrin
02:11

Aaron Spelling

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Mark Snow on his first jobs composing music for Spelling-Goldberg produced shows, including The Rookies and Dynasty
03:04
Mark Snow on composing for the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, produced by Aaron Spelling
04:04

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