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Quite the Score

Profiles
Lucy Bright, photographed by Andrew Meredith at Blacks Club in London.

“I’m never happier than when I’m on the movie set and everyone is doing their job really well,” says Lucy Bright, over sips of tea at Blacks, the members club she often takes refuge at. “I love that environment and I love the idea of bringing a story to life.” Bright, though, is no young Turk director or producer. She is a shining example of a relatively new—and increasingly indispensable—part of the film-making machinery: the music supervisor.

It’s a job that requires a particular set of skills; a creative urge, generous pop-cultural curiosity and cross-disciplinary synaesthesia matched with deal-making nous and a forensic eye for detail. “For me it is the perfect balance,” says Bright. “I don’t want just the business side or the artistic side. I love both.”

“Lucy is just brilliant at pulling together all these different elements and keeping things on track. And she has this calm, lovely attitude,” says Pam Abdy, the former President of Production at New Regency who worked with Bright on Assassin’s Creed, a video game franchise turned blockbuster. “She is an artist who can handle the administrative side. And she has impeccable taste—just look at the composers she has worked with.”

Bright, now 39, began her career at Mute Records where she worked while studying for her art history degree at the University College London. After graduating, she got a job in the PR department of Warner Classics which represented Steve Reich “a cranky old New Yorker” and Philip Glass “dreamy and zen.” Bright also worked with György Ligeti whose music Kubrick had used in "2001: A Space Odyssey." It opened her mind to the possibilities of music in film. In 2006, she left Warner to manage the composer Michael Nyman, who had created ground-breaking scores for Peter Greenaway, before joining the music publishing company Music Sales, where she is now director of creative.

In addition to managing the publishing rights of Glass, and other more established composers, Bright has been working closely with the cream of “neo-classical” composers—better known by their band affiliations—including Dustin O’Halloran (A Winged Victory for the Sullen), Adam Wiltzie (AWFTS/Stars of the Lid), Volker Bertelmann (Hauschka), Hildur Guðnadóttir, Anne Nikitin, Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed-Parry (Arcade Fire) and Peter Gregson. All have created music that comes off as imagined soundtracks, and Bright has partly engineered their move into the actual writing of scores. “I’ve been convinced that this was the new sound of cinema for the last 10 years. Now they are working on films and this year feels like a big turning point.”Hollywood seems to agree. O’Halloran and Bertelmann were nominated for this year’s Oscar for best original score for “Lion” while Mica Levi, behind the startling score for “Under the Skin” and who worked with Bright on the upcoming “Marjorie Prime,” was nominated for “Jackie.”

Some of Bright’s composers have moved (or returned) to Los Angeles to be closer to the action. As much as she loves the city, it is a move Bright is resisting, at least in her current role. “I would end up having to do big budget films that my heart wasn’t in.” Instead, she offers, “a sideways move into becoming a producer is more likely.” “I like enabling people to do their best and getting other people to know about it.”

 

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