December 12 2007
Dear SyCo TV
I’m writing to apply to become the person who does the music on ‘The X-Factor’ (not the singing, the incidental stuff).
I’ve been watching the programme over the last couple of years, and think I’ve pretty much got the gist of how it works – plus (and this is the most important thing) I also own copies of all Craig Armstrong’s film scores, Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, and Rod Dougan’s ‘Furious Angels’, so apart from the theme tune (a CD of which I assume would be supplied on day one as part of the new starters package), I think we both know that’s the whole series covered.
I’m sure you probably get lots of letters asking to get involved with this programme, though, so by way of an audition, I thought I’d give you some examples of the music I’d play in the various situations that arise in the series.
For the bits where Simon and the other judges turn up in some city looking for talent, we want to go big, don’t we? So it’s obviously the opening bit of Carmina Burana.
But as the audition goes on, and Kate/Dermot/TBC says that things look grim for the judges and the mood is dipping, we want something tense and nervy, but also with a hint that a change could be round the corner, so we go to the old ‘is that morse code?’ beepy-starting bit from Craig Armstrong’s track ‘Ruthless Gravity’.
And of course, The X-Factor is nothing without tales of personal tragedy, so as a small child waits to hear about whether they’ve got through, or someone tells Kate/Dermot/TBC the tale of how they overcome a life-threatening disease or were constantly supported by a now-dead loved one, it’s time to play that slow bit of music from Love Actually, ‘Mark’s Video’ also written by Craig Armstrong (don’t worry, I know this CD’s very rare, but I promise you I have a copy – another example of how perfect I am for this job).
Oh, and I have the ‘Psycho’ theme on CD too, so we can play that over the footage of contestants who refuse to take no for an answer. I’ve also got the theme to ‘Halloween’ available, but let’s hope they never get that scary.
For that shouty bit at the start when the bloke who sounds like Patrick ‘Four Minute Warning’ Allen (no, I know he isn’t the same chap) tells us it’s time to ‘face the music’, you’ve been using ‘O Verona’ from the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack, once again by Craig Armstrong; I think changing it when I take over the job would be fixing something that isn’t broken, so I’ll leave it as it is. Mind you, I am aware of the challenge this presents – after the opening twenty seconds or so, you have to be careful to stop the track or merge it with something else, or you get the voice of Pete Postlethwaite coming in with the opening lines of the Shakespeare stuff, but don’t worry, I can stop the CD in time.
And then, for the filmed bit with the contestants standing on a stage looking all mean and moody, I’ve got that Rod Dougan CD with ‘Clubbed to Death’ on it (you know, the one from The Matrix), and that sounds kick-ass. Or we could use it for the bit where the judges stand in front of big air-conditioning fans, looking a bit miffed (presumably as they’ve somehow got lost and wound up in a warehouse somewhere). I’m a team player, you let me know what you want.
Oh, and as we do the little filmed backstory bit with the contestants where they say how they all want this more than anything and that they would be gutted if they had to go home this week, I think we should go with another sad bit of music from Craig Armstrong – probably from Love Actually again, but maybe a slightly more rousing bit, like ‘Restaurant’.
I hope the above gives a flavour of how easily I could fit into your existing setup. As I say, I have all the above on CD, but I could easily put the tracks onto MiniDisc or convert them to .mp3 or .wma files or whatever, and I’d be more than happy to bring my own copies into work. Or, if you wanted me to work from home, I could just post you a compilation of the above tracks and you can send me a cheque.
I don’t know who currently does the music for you (mainly because ITV insist on shrinking the credits on the show while they show pictures from whatever’s coming next, so I can’t make out the small text) but with their imaginative and varied approach to scoring the show I’m sure that they’ll soon be moving on to bigger and better things, so I hope you’ll bear me in mind when a vacancy comes up.
Thanks for considering me for this position, hope to hear from you soon.
Lots of Love
PS – Alternatively, I’d be willing to read out the new T&Cs relating to people phoning in to vote for their favourite act: Kate/Dermot/TBC does a terrific job, but I think I could say it more quickly – that way, we can get past the tiresome legal necessities and back to the meat of the show as soon as possible.
(I’ll let you know if I hear back from them, of course…)