Archive for Thursday, February 18, 1999


February 18, 1999


A Lawrence native heads her own Hollywood music supervisory company.

Sharon Boyle was working for a major record label when she saw an opportunity to help shape and revitalize the movie soundtrack industry.

Fifteen years and scores of films later, Boyle is considered an industry leader and is the co-owner and senior vice president of Soundtrack Music Associates.

And it all started in Lawrence.

"I was around the (Lawrence) music scene," Boyle said during a phone interview from her Los Angeles-based office. "And that kind of continued when I went out to California."

While attending Kansas University, the Lawrence native focused on studies in biology and education. But after a short stint teaching in California, she found herself being approached by an A&M; Records executive.

Her career trajectory included stops at RCA, 20th Century, Island Records and Elliot Robert's Lookout Management, a company whose clients included Neil Young, The Cars, Devo, Tom Petty and Yes.

Along the way she also picked up television and film experience. She worked briefly for Spelling/Goldberg Productions and was associated with legendary B-movie producer Roger Corman.

"In 1972 Roger Corman offered me a job as a producer, but I said no," Boyle recalled. "At the time I was still thinking I could only do what I knew how to do, which was music."

Her exposure to both industries helped her see that music soundtrack development was underutilized, so she started Sharon Boyle & Associates, an independent music supervisor company, in 1986.

Her first projects included the films "Something Wild" and "Colors." Both films had No. 1 college soundtracks; "Colors" was noted for being the first major film to utilize rap music.

She worked as Polygram's music consultant in the early 1990s before forming Soundtrack Music Associates with partner Tony Smith, who is also business manager for musician-actor Phil Collins.

Her work has included such films as "Married to the Mob," "Groundhog Day," "Reversal of Fortune," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Mr. Holland's Opus." Boyle's current projects include "Disturbing Behavior," "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer" and the upcoming Meryl Streep picture, "Fifty Violins."

Despite rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood establishment, Boyle is quick to point out that the work is far from glamorous.

"We work very unpredictable hours," she said. "Sometimes we work from 7:30 a.m. to midnight. It can be erratic."

For "Fifty Violins," Boyle's company oversaw production of prerecorded music and endured marathon shooting schedules.

"When we went to the concert hall on the last day we shot from 8:30 one morning until 5:30 the next morning. Meryl (Streep) was there the whole time ... and she truly made us all look very good."

As an independent music supervisor, Boyle works at various stages of a film's preproduction alongside the director, composer and music editors.

"It varies," she said. "Some directors don't know what they want. Some direct all the way and know what they want, and others know just enough to get into trouble."

Boyle also seeks out specific songs and negotiates price ranges. She oversees the prerecording of music that is needed in order to shoot to it on camera.

For "Fifty Violins," which tells the true story of an inner-city music teacher, the music had to be prerecorded twice. When the original actress dropped out, the music was re-recorded to match the tempo Streep had learned.

"She learned to play not just good, but very well," Boyle said about Streep's performance. "She even timed her dialogue to the tempo of the music."

Despite the on-the-job rigors, Boyle still gets jazzed up for her projects.

"I love it. It's challenging, stimulating and I never get bored," she said.

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