When filmmakers use a piece of
popular music in their movies, it’s referred to
as a needle drop. Phrase originated
the music industry to describe when an album was
transferred from a vinyl record to digital audio. ♪ ♪ And eventually made its way
into film as a slang term. For when a popular song is
placed strategically in a scene. ♪ ♪ While the right song
can do a lot of good. The wrong song at
the wrong moment… can be disastrous. Make sure to subscribe and click the bell icon
to stay in the loop. ♪ ♪ Adding your own needle drops can have an indelible
imprint on the audience. ♪ ♪ The first thing you need to do
is consider the scene’s tone. “- Let’s go do some damage.” You may set out to
create a funny scene. “- What the hell is that? – LRB. Little River Band. – This music makes me feel like I am
going shopping for a training bra.” Or a scene with a
more sinister tone. ♪ ♪ Or even detached irony. “- I can walk!” ♪ ♪ All of these are valid
as long as you’re certain about what you want your
audience to feel at that moment. Let’s look at this scene
from “American Psycho.” “- I just had to kill
a lot of people!” “- You like Huey
Lewis and the News? – Um, they’re okay. – Their early work was a little
too new wave for my taste. But when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their
own, commercially and artistically.” Patrick Bateman has lured
Paul Allen to his apartment with one purpose in mind. Murder. Patrick’s quirky diatribe is in
complete contrast to his actions. “- He’s been compared
to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more
bitter, cynical sense of humor.” The tension mumps. We might expect an
ominous soundtrack but instead,
he starts playing this. “- In ’87, Huey released this… Fore,
their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed
masterpiece is “Hip To Be Square.” The song’s so catchy, most people
probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should because
it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity
and the importance of trends. It’s also a personal statement
about the band itself. Hey, Paul!” ♪ Huey Lewis and The News
– “Hip To Be Square” ♪ “- Try getting a
reservation at Dorsia now, you fuckin’ stupid bastard!” The upbeat song creates a
cognitive dissonance for viewers. The director Mary Harron places us in the gritty murderous
mind of Patrick Bateman. And enhances the thrill with
Huey Lewis celebratory anthem. So when selecting when
to use songs for tone consider how you want
the audience to feel and should your music aligned
with the actions on screen. Or contrast it to create irony. ♪ ♪ To dive deeper into finding copyright
free music for your projects check the description to learn about
how the YouTube music library works. ♪ ♪ Next, you need to look at how the
song connects to the characters. In opera, there is what
is known as a leitmotif. A leitmotif in film is a recurring musical theme… ♪ ♪ that is often associated
with either a character. ♪ ♪ Location. ♪ ♪ Or situation. ♪ ♪ Now, let’s look at a much
different film “Thor: Ragnarok.” “- And now.” ♪ Led Zeppelin –
“Immigrant Song” ♪ Thor is at the top of his game. And there is an appropriately
cool song to go over the sequence. ♪ Led Zeppelin –
“Immigrant Song” ♪ But the song does not appear
again until the end of the film. Why is that? Throughout his journey,
Thor goes through trials and tribulations that make him question
his self-worth. “- This not possible.” It’s not until the
end of the film when Thor regains his confidence
with a newfound wisdom. That he becomes a
true God of Thunder. Thor’s return to glory is a
callback to the opening scene and the song helps us
make that connection. So when selecting what songs
to use for your characters consider what song fits
your character’s personality and whether it could function in
multiple scenes as a thematic cue. For our final case study, you must ask yourself if
the song provides catharsis. Music has a way of
bringing people together. Never overlook
how the right song can alleviate the built-up
anxiety forged by a story. Let’s look at “Almost Famous.” ♪ ♪ Stillwater guitarist
Russell Hammond… “- I am a golden god.” has turned away
everyone in his life. “- Stop fucking looking at me.” His bandmates and friends
are stuck on this bus. Forced into proximity but disconnected
in every other way. ♪ ♪ But then one by one each of his bandmates
starts singing this. ♪ Elton John – “Tiny Dancer” ♪ This scene serves as a
moment of unity and release. So when including music
in a moment of catharsis consider if the track hits the correct
emotional pitch at the apex of tension. “- Where the hell he did come from?
– I don’t know. Who the hell put this on? – It’s on random.
– For fuck’s sake.” Before you put any
song into a scene, you have to remember to
consider the tone of the scene to make sure the song
makes the audience feel how you want them to feel. Make sure this song connects to
the characters and story elements in a meaningful way. Or provides catharsis for an audience
that needs a reprieve from conflict. With these elements, your needle drops
will not only be fun to listen to but will also serve the story. Make sure to subscribe
to our channel and click on the bell
icon for notifications. ♪ ♪

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