Life Unexpected is a program on the CW (Mondays, 8pm) that just so happens to take place in our fair city. In addition to all the teenage drama that unfolds, the show is loaded with references to Portland local music: Red Fang (who embedded the above video), Dirty Mittens, PDX-Pop Now!, and Horse Feathers, have all been mentioned in previous episodes. [Note to the show's producers: If any character wants an internship at a Portland weekly paper—just like in The City—that could be arranged.]
Curious to how the Life Unexpected was associated with Portland music, we contacted Wendy Levy, the show's music supervisor. She was nice enough to answer some quick questions:
How did you come across bands like Dirty Mittens, Red Fang, and the Shaky Hands for Life Unexpected ?
The music reference suggestions come from a wide variety of sources: the writers, producers, and I "pitch" in. When the music is actually played (The Shaky Hands) I make sure that the music is cleared for use and fits our budget.
What sort of research was involved? Did you need to visit Portland in order to see the bands in person? Or is that now all done online?
My research is mostly in reaching out to my contacts in the industry—in this case, the smaller labels and publishers, and asking for music from Portland-based artists. Local artists and managers have also reached out to me and to the production. I also supplement that with some online research.
As a music programmer, how important is it to accurately capture relevant music in a character's life? Are there every objections from the writers/producers, who disagree with your musical choices?
Creatively, everything has to work together. It's a collaborative process beginning with the writers who create the characters and ending with the executive producers reviewing scenes with music and making final decisions. I make suggestions all along the way. There's usually consensus when music is working well.
Other programs have featured live performances as integral parts of the plot, is there any chance Life Unexpected will get their very own Peach Pit After Dark or Bait Shop in order to include more live music performances?
I've heard that there may be some opportunities for live performances in the future.