First look at Pennyworth, from Warner Bros. TV, to be aired on the Epix channel. A Batman prequel, it stars Jack Bannon and Paloma Faith. The premiere will be in June 2019.

Classical Vision musicians will be appearing in this series! 

Stradfest 2019

Classical Vision had such a fantastic time at Stradfest on Sunday. It was our first opportunity as a brand partner for such a prestigious event, and I really feel that we made the most of it. Particularly when it came to meeting so many young musicians, and acquiring lots of new sign-ups to the Classical Vision database! We really hope to be able to place as many of you as possible on upcoming jobs. 

We were fortunate to be able to exhibit at the event, and Sarah Zaoui, our casting assistant valiantly manned the stand for most of the day so that I could pop out to various talks and panel discussions. 

A highlight was noted journalist Charlotte Gardner chairing a panel discussion with industry leaders Patrick Lemanski (Warner Music UK), Dr. Alexander Buhr (Decca Classics) and Christian Girardin (Harmonia Mundi). An interesting point from Christian Girardin was to consider asking yourself, on approaching potential labels, “What can a record company do for me?”. Do they seem like the correct fit? This will of course inform how you approach them. 

Patrick Lemanski discussed the importance of being open to recording contemporary or previously unrecorded works, particularly as a new artist. And of course, having a strong ‘brand’ identity, as well as an interesting programme idea is going to help new artists stand out. 

Esther Abrami, violinist and social media star, gave a talk on The Importance of Social Media. She expanded on her success in this field; how she has gained her huge following through consistent timing of posts, and keeping her feed compelling by alternating the style of imagery she presents. What I found thought-provoking was that Esther has managed to create opportunities for herself through this medium, without any agent or mediator being involved, ensuring she is in control. More power to her. 

I was delighted to take part in a panel discussion on Alternative Careers in The Music Industry. ,The attendees were fortunate to have input from a knowledgable panel, chaired by Tara Persaud of Solea Management; Segun Akinola (composer), Charlotte Gardner (journalist), and Brian Jackson (BBC Radio 3 producer). In brief, useful points from Segun Akinola about the value of having a mentor, and networking even whilst you are a student (and not necessarily calling yourself a ‘student’!). I wanted to impart that one doesn’t necessarily realise which skills are going to be useful to you in the future, even those of a part-time job, and the difference between mutually-understood collaboration, and exploitation. Great to see Keith Ames (Musicians Union) at the talk, as I was able to direct any concerned musicians to him!

Many thanks to The Strad for the opportunity to attend this event. A good day for Classical Vision, and hopefully lots of on-camera opportunities to come for our new sign-ups!


Maleficent: Mistress of Evil!

First look at Angelina Jolie in Disney’s second outing for Maleficent.

Classical Vision provided lots of on-camera musicians for this production. Kathleen also came in to coach extras that were required to mime unusual historical instruments.

We can’t wait to see the results!

A Note on Supporting Artists

Last week I received a call from a frazzled extras agent. They needed advice regarding an artist that was demanding Musicians’ Union rates after they had already been paid. Of course, I will generally sympathise with the performer, but in this case, they hadn’t been upfront about their union membership and expectations. With this in mind, I hope that the overview below of background musician rates, proves helpful.

Yes, casting musicians for background roles is a pretty niche area. But, ask a member of a production team, and they may not be aware that there is actually a dedicated union agreement for musicians that are miming.

The Musicians’ Union has an agreement with PACT (for those of you not in the know, PACT is the trade association for the independent production sector), which provides a guide to suitable minimum rates for this kind of work.

Through my experience in this field, I believe that, in the majority of cases, productions pleading ignorance are genuinely unaware of these proposed rates (the MU might beg to differ).

Why? It’s mainly down to confusion caused by the PACT agreement with BECTU, which has terms relating to the work of supporting artists.

The Film Artistes Association (FAA) is a division of BECTU, and is part of this larger union body which looks after background artistes. It’s safe to say that these rates are used in almost every major film and TV production. Add-on rates can then be used for special categories of performance, such as body doubling, driving or specialised dancing. However, although an add-on rate is often used, there is not a provision within this document for musicians.

At Classical Vision, I make every effort to raise awareness of the Musicians’ Union/PACT agreement. There are real benefits of being informed about these terms, and how they can impact a musician’s approach to the shoot day. I’ve seen production teams caught out when musicians turn up on a shoot day, and understandably, want to stick to these terms.

Production teams might ask why they would want a specialist musician, when they can source an extra from a pool of thousands in the UK? Firstly; attention to detail. The sight of an inexperienced performer feels completely incongruous to the high standards you expect of other aspects of your project.

Secondly, reliability. A 2nd AD needs reassurance that the performer they have booked can actually deliver as promised. It’s reassuring not to have to rely on the word of a supporting artist that, from prior experience, may have an unrealistic idea of their abilities on the violin.

Lastly, booking a group of professionals just makes sense. Particularly if you’re considering booking a mixture of abilities- it’s not worth it on the shoot day, when time constraints are always a factor.

The Musicians’ Union offers advice regarding their various agreements. However, it can be useful to have specific guidance related to your production. For consultations and guidance on any of the above issues, please get in touch, and I’d be happy to walk you through it.

Video Shoot for new Decca release

Classical Vision provided musicians for a video shoot to promote the new Bryn Terfel disc ‘Dreams and Songs’. Release date is 18th October 2018, but you can view some of the content here:

Thanks to:

Will Harvey- violin, Claudia Norz- violin, Oakki Lau- viola, Alexandra Marshall- cello, Cat Wright- piano