My Work at MediaCity: Steve Berman, managing agent of The Composer Works

This is the second in our regular new series of interviews called My Work at MediaCity. This time we speak to Steve Berman, managing agent of The Composer Works.

steveberman1. Describe your typical working day at MediaCityUK.

Well here’s today’s schedule: Walk at 7am to psyche myself up. An absolute daily must. In MCUK at 8:30am. Have a look at the latest green lights, call producers to enquire further. Call more producers until 11am. Meet one of my composers at 12pm to discuss a new commission. Run into Manchester for a recording session at 1pm. Back up to MCUK for 5pm in time for a BBC meeting in relation to an exciting commission.

2. What exactly does The Composer Works do?

It represents 10 composers in the UK and 1 composer in the US. This means procuring score commissions in the field of television and film by liaising with producers and directors.

3. Can you give us a flavour of the kind of work your roster of composers produce?

The roster we have consists of composers who are so different from eachother. That’s our main USP – and together we’re getting well known as the complete music company at MCUK. The kind of commissions last year ranged from CBBC’s All At Sea to ITV’s Release The Hounds. We have some really exciting ones coming up this year.

4. You’re also a commercial lawyer – can you explain how you ended up in the music business?

I’m a jazz piano player and a graduate in film scoring from Berklee in America. When I worked in LA for Fox Family Worldwide as a music editor, I came across lots of commercial lawyers and thought that was the direction in which I wanted to go. So I trained/practiced as a commercial lawyer for just under five years and left the law in 2012, part of a fairly long term plan to set up at MCUK when I heard about it in 2006. So, music is my true passion and it’s what really excites me (although I do frequently utilise the knowledge which practising as a lawyer gave me!).

5. What’s your overall view on the impact that MediaCityUK has had and is having on the North?

It’s a good thing for SMEs like mine. I never set expectations that it’s a right to be given work just because we’re based here, but we’re getting plenty of it so the impact is very positive and I’m thrilled that I set up here.

6. How has MediaCityUK changed since you started there?

More restaurants, more vibrancy and more cohesiveness.

7. What are your favourite aspects about the MediaCityUK site itself?

It’s so easy to work here. So many amenities. Car parking great. Office modern and comfortable.

8. Can you pinpoint any ways in which MediaCityUK needs to improve?

I think more social events would be great with the BBC and ITV. But I think there are lots of social venues such as the DockYard to interact with staff here, so there’s no excuse really!

9. What’s been your favourite or most memorable experience at MediaCityUK so far?

Recording with the BBC Philharmonic for the series Old Jack’s Boat last October. Composer Paul Honey wrote the score.

10. How do you see the future for The Composer Works at MediaCityUK?

I see us having a bigger roster (but not too big), forging relationships with new production companies which move here and probably taking on another couple more helpers!

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