How do you get involved with projects?
I usually get the gig right when the composer gets hired. I work for the composer and the composer works for the director/production company. It is usually during post-production when we are gearing up for either live scoring and/or mix sessions.

Do you see differences in lead times based on the projects?
It depends on what the gig is. Commercials are usually a couple days notice, sound design or final dubbing projects are a few weeks and film score mixing usually has a month or two lead time.

It's a little strange how different parts of the industry work. For commercials, music production companies don't usually know they really have the job until the project is basically done. They only get a few days to compose and put the music together. For final dubbing, or sound problem fixes, I get a lot of last minute calls saying they need some extra hands. It usually goes something like me asking when the gig starts and them replying "Right now!" For film scoring you get a good amount of lead time. Doing something like recording an orchestra can take a couple of months to plan and execute.

It sounds like you're always switching gears and working differently when it comes to sound. Do you have a "typical day"?
Every day is different and that is what I enjoy about my work. A typical mix day would be to start mixing in my studio from 10:00AM until the afternoon and have my clients come over for playbacks at 4:00PM. Then we do fixes and tweaks and wrap it up by 10:00PM. On a live scoring session day, I would get to the stage a couple hours before downbeat to check mics, Pro Tools, prerecords, video, then record live musicians all day, backup to hard drives and be done 7:00 – 8:00PM. There is nothing better than recording an orchestra. It keeps you on a high for days. I love the interaction of the musicians. I love that many of them have studied their whole lives to do what they do.


CD Promo founders Damon, left, and Denny Tedesco of Woodland Hills produce musical compilations on compact disc for use as corporate freebies.     [photo: Charlotte Schmid-Maybach]
ens. Mugs. Flimsy ball caps. Compact discs -- one of these things does not belong. But it does.
    The first three have long been a staple of corporate giveaways. While compact discs don't seem like they'd keep company with the traditional freebies, they will if the Tedesco brothers get their way.
    Rather than a logo pen that gets used once and lost, or a fruit basket that gets eaten and forgotten, the brothers, owners of Woodland Hills-based CD Promo, sought to create a product that companies could use as a long-lasting marketing tool. Born into a music family, Damon and Denny Tedesco saw custom CDs as the perfect way to do it, so they created samples and shopped them to companies nationwide.
    While the brothers handled the music selections, they let the firms pick all the artwork and information to go on the inside booklet.


Inside Scoop: Scoring Mixer Damon Tedesco

Today's Inside Scoop profile subject is an example of someone who knew from a young age (17!) what he wanted to do. And though it took a long time and a lot of hard work to get where he is today, you can tell by the way he talks about the journey and about his current life and work that the passion for his job exists to this day.

Current position: Independent music scoring mixer for film and television.

College & degree: Loyola Marymount University, BA in Communication Arts

Internship(s): None

First job in the entertainment industry: I worked at a recording studio called Evergreen in Burbank in the late 1980's. I started when I was a junior in college and hung in there to land a full time job when I graduated. The studio specialized in recording live music for films and tv shows. It was a great studio with incredible staff engineers, clients, contractors and musicians. It was hard work being at the bottom but I really learned from the best. There was a sense of being in a type of boot camp together – many of us who grew up in that studio are all still great friends.

Big break: When I got a call from a scoring mixer Bobby Fernandez, who was a staff engineer at Warner Bros. Scoring. They were looking for a full-time union stage manager position for the scoring stage. This job entails running mic cables, setting mics, music stands, chairs, and setup and operation during live orchestra sessions. It is a dream job that only a small handful of people get the opportunity to do! Bobby and I knew each other from working at Evergreen and he trusted that I would do a good job and he stuck his neck out for me.

Eureka moment: When I was about 17 years old, I went to a scoring session at Warner Bros. with my father Tommy Tedesco, who was a studio guitarist. The session was for “Benson” (the TV show) and it looked like the players were having such a great time (and getting paid for it besides!) I was introduced to Shawn Murphy, who was the engineer for that date, and I became fascinated with the technology. I already loved music and I thought, “I could do that!” Nobody told me it would take 20-plus years.

Career path: After a seven year run at Warner Bros Scoring, I was hired at the 20th Century Fox scoring stage as an assistant and had another great seven years. In 2002, I was starting to become busier as an independent engineer doing commercials and films. This was getting hectic because of my full-time assistant job. One day, percussionist Bob Zimmitti came up to me and said, “What are you still doing here?” – with a smile. That is when I had to make a move. I threw caution to the wind and built a 5.1 mix studio at my home and pursued my goal of becoming an independent scoring mixer. So far so good.

Describe a typical work day in your current position: Hmmm… A perfect typical day would be to wake up, run at the beach, go into my studio and mix for a few hours, eat lunch in the backyard with the family, go back in the studio and mix some more, realize my hair is growing back and I've gotten a few inches taller, then get a call from the clients to tell me to just post the mixes because they trust me.

Worst job (or day) in entertainment industry: Working for 50 hours straight on a set at $4.25 per hour and learning that in the California labor laws the “clock” resets itself after 24 hours. The big double time rate of $8.50 goes back to $4.25 on the 25th hour. That hurts.

Best job (or day) in entertainment industry: I have to say that my favorite client is from Sega Videogames in Japan. They come to Los Angeles to record about twice a year. They are incredible composers and orchestrators and very well organized. They like the “Hollywood sound” that we get here in Los Angeles all with live orchestras. They have always been so appreciative and gracious of my talent of recording and mixing.

Best thing about your current job: I enjoy working on different projects each and every week, so it keeps it interesting. I have been doing lots of re-recording mixing and sound design of short films and documentaries which has been fun. It gives me the flexibility to mix from home and spend time with my wife and two daughters.

Worst thing about your current job: The competition is pretty fierce and it seems to be getting tougher as budgets for live players and composers shrink. Everyone seems to be scrapping and clawing for the good gigs.

Brush with greatness: I was very fortunate to assist on sessions and watch great composers such as Michael Kamen, John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, and Jerry Goldsmith craft a score with live orchestras. I was also able to learn from incredible scoring mixers such as Armin Steiner, Dan Wallin, Bobby Fernandez, Al Schmitt, Dennis Sands and Shawn Murphy.

Secret of your success/advice to the newbie: It all comes down to having a strong work ethic. Your clients need to know you have their back. Even if it is a low budget gig, treat it like it is a high budget gig with your attitude. People choose who they want to spend time to work with. Make it fun and don't be a kill-joy. When starting out do not lie about your credits. It is a small industry and people can find out if you are bullshitting them or not. Try hard to learn something on each and every gig; a new technique, shortcut or keystroke. Do your best to learn your gear and become an expert at it.

Next move (or next five moves): Well it's all about getting the next big gig. That comes from your clients getting better work and wanting you to come for the ride. I have a personalized license plate that says “Get ‘D Gig” and that keeps me grounded and motivated.

Goin' Mobile with the Tedesco's
An interview with Damon, Denny and Dale Tedesco of Mobile Disc & DAT. MD&D features mobile recording, digital editing, video production, CD mastering and manufacturing.

WEAVER: First off, I'm sure you get this all the time, any relation to Tommy Tedesco the studio guitarist?
DAMON: Yes, he is pops.
WEAVER: Did any of you go on studio calls with him?
DENNY: We all went with him, but it was in different eras. Dale went during the times of the 60s. I went during the 70s and Damon was with him during the 80s.
WEAVER: Did you work in the studio with him?
DAMON: I got to work with him at Evergreen a few times. We worked on Godfather III together. I had to keep getting him water and coffee and stuff....It was pretty funny.
WEAVER: Damon, how did you get involved in live recording?
DAMON: Well, I worked at Evergreen and Warner Bros. music scoring with all of the crew for a bunch of years.


The Sons Also Rise
by Richard Simon

A larger-than-life portrait of Tommy Tedesco presides over a large room in his former home in Northridge. He's pictured playing a classical guitar with an expression of authority tempered by tenderness. From his vantage point, he can survey a portion of his vast recorded legacy: Hundreds of LPs line shelves and boxes from floor to ceiling, a music library that could stock a classic rock radio station. They stand in silent tribute to this prodigious musician, whose playing career helped shape the musical tastes of a generation, and who inspired his three sons to make music a central focus of their lives as well.

Drawing from the dedication and experience of their famous father, Tommy's sons --Damon, Denny and Dale -- have learned how take music from conception to recording to dissemination--each without touching an instrument.


Scoring Sessions Links

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Austin Wintory scores first Jordanian film to record in Los Angeles, Sundance Film Fest selection Captain Abu Raed

Masamichi Amano records Mushiking in Los Angeles

Nathan Lanier scores Lucifer at Fox with large orchestra, choir