Karen Warner on Sonic Branding for Television Productions - Melodie
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Karen Warner on Sonic Branding for Television Productions

Melodie’s Craig Hodges takes a moment to chat with Beyond’s Karen Warner about sonic branding for television productions. Karen is currently Showrunner/EP for Foxtel’s Love It or List It Australia. The Real Estate/Lifestyle program which took out the 2019 AACTA for Best Lifestyle Television Program.

Love It or List It is just one part of Beyond’s impressive, critically acclaimed slate, boasting international formats such as Mythbusters, Deadly Women and Selling Houses Australia.

Karen’s expansive career in Australian television production has seen her working as a Showrunner and EP across a number of major TV formats. Some of these include MasterChef Australia, The Farmer Wants A Wife and The Apprentice Australia.

She was kind enough to share some of her expertise and knowledge on successful sonic branding for a television production.

Thanks for your time Karen! What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently the Showrunner on Foxtel’s Love it or List it Australia , Season 4.

How did you get started in television production?

My first job in TV was when I was 18 years old. I was in the first year of my BA (Communications) degree and worked part time for Grundy’s as a Production Assistant on TEN’s hit dating show ‘Perfect Match’.

What are the key factors to consider when building a brand for a television production?

The key factors I look for when building a brand for a new production is the overall production design, style of shooting, the graphics and the tone of the show both editorially and musically.

How important is the sonic brand to a format/production?

The sonic branding is key – it needs to reflect the tone of the editorial themes as well as compliment the shooting and editing style.

How do you go about developing a sonic brand for a television production?

I usually give composers a briefing with our editorial objectives, flavour and tone of what we intend to shoot and how we intend to edit. I usually offer some existing musical suggestions to give us all a place to kick off the collaboration.

Musically, what are a few key things you look for when developing a sonic brand or searching for music?

I firstly think about the genres of music and what might suit the program as well as what instruments we should use. If I am making a reality show, we might need a larger range of emotions and instruments. A series that is more rural in nature might suit more guitars and strings.

You’ve worked on a number of different high-profile formats, how would you say the sonic brands of the formats you’ve worked on have differed?

Lifestyle programs tends to require more whimsy and light-hearted music. Reality formats which involve competition elements might need a larger range of music and a whole lot more gravitas to help the drama unfold on screen.

You recently used Melodie’s unique briefing model for the latest season of Love It Or List It. Can you describe your experience with model and the music created for it?

We have used an existing library for the past three seasons and have used sonic cues for individual scenes. Melodie were able to look at our existing usage of music in each of these beats and provide alternatives and some fresh tracks for a more updated feel. The editors are loving them. My experience from briefing to delivery was incredibly smooth and the output of our new tracks are terrific.

Thanks for your time Karen! Looking forward to seeing the new season of Love It or List It Australia.

Thank you, Team Melodie!

Love It or List It Australia is a Beyond International Production for Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel.

Craig Hodges
[email protected]

Craig's a musical all-rounder with more than seven years working in record labels & music publishing. He brings a discerning ear to Melodie's A&R team.