SAE Industry Insight: Walt Disney Music Supervisor, Brian Vickers

16 Oct 2019

SAE Industry Insight is a brand new initiative that we are launching, to help SAE students understand more about the range of creative media careers available to them post-graduation. If you would like to share your advice about your career, please fill in our survey

Brian Vickers is a Music Supervisor at The Walt Disney Company. 

He started out as an intern for the record label, Hidden Beach Recordings, a position followed by music supervisor roles with Bunim/Murray Productions (The Real World, Bad Girls Club, Keeping Up With The Kardashians). He worked at one of Hollywood’s most respected trailer houses, Trailer Park, before landing an Assistant Music Supervisor role at The Walt Disney Studios that led to him acquiring his current role. 

What does a Music Supervisor do? 

Brian’s role involves finding music that is a good fit for theatrical marketing campaigns, which ranges from film trailers to creative content pieces (behind-the-scenes pieces & featurettes). He said: “I work on two amazing sides of the entertainment industry, simultaneously - music and film.” 

How did Brian get to where he is today? 

Brian said that he acquired his current position because of prior work experience and his willingness to do whatever was needed to push the department forward and help their spots finish. 

We asked Brian what his greatest professional accomplishment to date would be. He said: “I was able to finish the teaser for the upcoming Disney+ film The Lady and the Tramp — with my wife singing a trailerized version of the classic song ‘Bella Notte’.” 

His long term ambition is to music supervise a feature film.

How can you forge a successful career as a Music Supervisor? 

If being a Music Supervisor sounds like your dream job, then listen closely, because Brian has some advice for you. He said that you should continue to learn as much as you can about as many styles of music as possible, and don’t limit what you can do with your musical background/knowledge. 

He said: “It’d be a good idea to get as strong of an understanding of licensing and the licensing process. The creative part is subjective, but the business portion is pretty standard. So that’s what is key for a greater understanding of music supervision.” 

One of the biggest challenges that a music supervisor may face is having their ideas rejected. Brian said: “We’re subject to clients and people who determine if they wish to move forward with our ideas or not, so the key is to not take it personally and to keep professionalism in doing the best that you can.” 

Being professional and not taking things to heart is definitely good advice, and we’d like to thank Brian for taking the time to chat to us about his role from the other side of the pond.

Note: SAE Industry Insight is an interview feature where we talk to people working within the creative industries about their roles and how they got there, with the intention of providing SAE students with career advice. The people we interview are not necessarily affiliated with SAE in any way.