Women is...: Lisa Brown Leopold, Music Supervisor

Lisa Brown Leopold, Music Supervisor

profession: Music supervisor for Ocean Cities Entertainment in West Hollywood, Calif.

education: Several years at UCLA as a political science major.

musical background: Childhood piano lessons.

the way up: While in school, landed a summer internship at Capitol Records. Her interviewer turned out to be the head of A&R, and the internship -- unbeknownst to Brown -- was a much sought-after stepping stone into the music world. "It was a fluke that pretty much spun my head around," she recalls. Her next internship came from Interscope Records. Her first job in the industry was at Hit and Run Music, a publishing company co-owned by Phil Collins.
the scoop: "I deal with all aspects of music in the film -- music coming out of a car radio, background music and on-camera performances."

choosing music: "It's most important to carry out a director's visions. You're always asking, 'What does the director want the audience to feel?' When I hear music, I can visualize story lines and themes. I'm really conscious of how it makes me feel. Music is really subtle, the way it can change your mood."

average number of CDs screened per week: 50 to 100

getting the music: "I'm on the phone with music publishers, record label reps, managers, record producers, artists and songwriters, trying to find that perfect song for each scene."
the bottom line: Commissions for music supervisors -- independent contractors on films, much like set designers, actors and actresses -- range from $30,000 to $200,000 per film.

projects Brown supervised or coordinated: "My Best Friend's Wedding" (Summer, 1997), "Chasing Amy" (Spring, 1997), "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (Fall, 1996), "Kazaam" (Summer, 1996), "Bed of Roses" (Spring, 1996), "Flirting with Disaster" (Spring, 1996), "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" (Spring, 1996), "Dead Presidents" (Fall, 1995) and "Captive" (Spring, 1995)

perks: Free CDs, concert tickets and movie premieres.

breaking into the biz: "It's a small, competitive field. Paying dues is part of the process." But it's 80% to 95% women-dominated, and it's expanding: "Movies are always being made. The studios are beginning to recognize the importance of music supervision, and are even beginning to hire in-house supervisors."
on her name: Married in April 1997, Brown is undecided on whether to use "Leopold" professionally. "I feel that I have a handful of credits and people are just starting to recognize my maiden name. I want to keep that momentum going. But in the big picture, I don't know if adding on another name will make that much of a difference."

favorite movie moments: Janet Lee humming "Que Sera Sera" in the shower scene of "Psycho"; Robert DeNiro cruising into a Little Italy bar to the sounds of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" in "Mean Streets"; Michael Madsen -- as Mr. Blonde -- carving himself a piece of ear to "Stealers Wheel" in "Reservoir Dogs."

tech savviness: Brown regularly consults the Billboard Phonolog Music Reference Library on CD-ROM. She also visits the web sites of ASCAP and BMI, performing rights organizations that help her find the owners of particular songs.