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Backstage: Why Music Supervisors Want to Make You Cry (and What That Means for Actors)

"As any actor knows, music can make or break an on-camera performance. That means the fate of that performance sometimes rests in the hands of music supervisors like John Bissell, who here chats with Backstage about his work on NBC’s “The Blacklist.”

How did you get into music supervision for on-camera projects?

I’ve always been really passionate about music, and I’m a horrible musician. So after going to film school, I just started moving more toward music, and at that point—it was quite some time ago—music supervisors didn’t really exist too much. I got in when I was super young. I started with TV, then I did film for a long time.

What is special about “The Blacklist” from a musical standpoint?

I think what makes it unique is the fact that there’s absolutely no set direction musically except for how to fit music into the “Blacklist” theme. So much of the show takes place in different locations, and it’s fun because I get to research a lot. There have been a lot of shows I’ve worked on where you don’t really have that much of a wide array [of material] to be able to delve into."

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