Composer, music supervisor, music editor, sound designer, musician and producer: Brian Reitzell’s contributions to films exceed standard definitions. “I got into this whole racket by being a musician and being in bands,” he explains. “Sofia Coppola asked me to work on the film ‘The Virgin Suicides’ as a music supervisor, but neither of us knew what that was. She needed some ’70s music and I was unemployed. I had quit the band I’d been in for eight years and I wanted to play weird instrumental music. What better place to do it than in films?”
Reitzell has since brought his talents to an acclaimed list of features, and at this juncture has completed four-and-a-half years of overlapping projects, including CQ, Lost in Translation, Thumbsucker, Friday Night Lights, Stranger Than Fiction and Marie Antoinette.
It all begins when Reitzell creates a mix CD. “I’m a music geek. I may start talking about Kraut rock, or using musical terms a director may not understand. The best thing to do is give him a CD and say, ‘This is what I think your movie sounds like’.”
Reitzell dislikes the term “temp track,” since, he says, most of what he envisions ends up in the completed film. “Fifty percent of the mix CD for Stranger Than Fiction and 80 percent of Lost in Translation,” he confirms.
Reitzell appreciates being part of a creative team. “I like to collaborate,” he avows. “I can bring someone in for each project depending on what the movie needs. Whether I do it or someone else does it, if there’s anything musical that needs to happen in a film, I’m the boss.”