Composing for the Budget, Film Score Session Singing, and a Musical Marriage | with Christopher and Elyse Willis - Progressions: Success in the Music Industry

Episode 79

Published on:

9th Nov 2022

Composing for the Budget, Film Score Session Singing, and a Musical Marriage | with Christopher and Elyse Willis

Today we’re joined by Emmy nominated film and TV composer Christopher Willis and vocal contractor and session singer Elyse Willis. Chris is best known for his work on HBO’s hit comedy Veep, as well as his score for Armando Iannucci’s film “The Death of Stalin.” One of his most recent projects is “Schmigdoon!” which just started streaming on Apple TV+. Elyse has sung on dozen’s of projects as a session singer including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Lost City, Lightyear, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. She’s also a vocal contractor for several television shows, and is in her fourteenth season singing with the prestigious Los Angeles Master Chorale. We have a great chat about how to get repeat gigs as a composer or singer, composing budgets, union recording sessions, and the importance of knowing when to move on in your career.

In this episode we'll dig in on...

  • How to get repeat gigs as a vocalist
  • The overworking and micromanaging mentality of the music industry
  • Breaking into composition and film scoring in 2023
  • Musicology
  • Conquering the blank page
  • Learning to write for the budget
  • The importance of being dependable
  • Working at Hans Zimmer's Remote Control facility
  • Singing in the LA Master Chorale
  • Working on projects for streaming services like Netflix and Disney+
  • Growing up obsessed with Classical music
  • The rules of union recording sessions
  • Package & All-In Deals
  • Sight reading
  • Composing music for a Disney Parks ride
  • Composition opportunities for video games

Mentioned in the Episode:

Travis' Intro: Give Your Self Permission

Learn More About Christopher & Elyse...

Chris' Website:

Elyse's Website:

Chris' Twitter:

Elyse's Twitter:

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Guest: Christopher and Elyse Willis

Host: Travis Ference

Editor: Stephen Boyd

Theme Music: inter.ference

Show artwork for Progressions: Success in the Music Industry

About the Podcast

Progressions: Success in the Music Industry
Host Travis Ference chats with music producers, engineers, mixers, artists, musicians, and songwriters about the tips, tricks, mindsets, and ideas that helped them define their careers.
Conversations exploring creativity, productivity, and career growth in the music industry. Join in each week as Travis sits down with some of the industry’s best and brightest to discuss the mindsets and strategies that they use in their careers every day.
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About your host

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Travis Ference

Travis Ference is a Grammy nominated mixer, producer, and recording engineer based out of Los Angeles, CA. With over a decade of experience in the music business he has worked on multiple #1 albums, several top 10's, numerous RIAA platinum and gold certified records, as well as hit TV shows and blockbuster films. His work can be heard on more than 15 million albums sold and billions streams worldwide.

The inspiration for his podcast came from his journey over the last 5 years to redefine what success is for him, to take control of his time, and to ultimately live the life he wants while making the records he loves.