Music Supervisor: Tracy McKnight

Music Supervisor: Tracy McKnight (photo)

Posted by on

Tracy McKnight was not aware of the job of music supervisor when she set out to find her way in the world. She thought she’d eventually work in fashion or cosmetics, perhaps something she dreamed of at 30,000 feet while working as flight attendant. Instead, she landed a job at a NY recording studio as the night manager during college and it set her on a career path in the music industry. The thrill is still evident in her voice when she talks about it.

(Left: Lisa P. first struts on screen to the Rolling Stones in “Adventureland,” Miramax films)

Then in ’91 she saw “The Commitments,” and realized there was a person responsible for selecting and licensing music for films; the music supervisor. It all clicked. So with determination, a move to LA, and some friendly mentors along the way, she became one. Now 11 years in she has a roster of over 80 films and is responsible for the impeccable “Adventureland” soundtrack.

Some directors call the shots with a soundtrack and “Adventureland” writer/director Greg Mottola is certainly one of them. But regardless of who drives the creative choices, putting it all together is a colossal job. What astounded me most upon seeing the film was, given what must have been a very modest budget, how Mottola and McKnight pulled off all those musical gems. I found out they created a special category, internally speaking, for the songs that were integral to Mottola’s script called “Tracy walks on glass.” Songs like “Tops” by the Stones, the VU songs “Satellite of Love” and “Pale Blue Eyes” were on the list. Yeah, Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” too. So by any means necessary, McKnight got them. They weren’t all easy sells and some were at first declined. I won’t attempt to detail the means with which she ultimately obtained them, but I’m so happy she did. No animals were hurt in the process.

Clearing songs, convincing bands, making big things happen on small budgets along with all the different pieces brought to the table by composers, directors, producers – McKnight adorably describes it all “like a puzzle,” that she has to put together.

Some of her favorite work, or at least what she could rattle off on the spot, includes, The Ramones documentary “End of the Century” and the Wilco doc “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.” An early turning point for her was the 1998 film “High Art,” the first time she had a band (“Shudder To Think”) compose the score and write original songs for a film. It wouldn’t be the last time. 2007’s “Dedication” featured a soundtrack by indefinable indie favorites Deerhoof, merged with a score by composer Ed Shearmur (“Charlie’s Angel’s”), a strange pairing to say the least. She said it exemplified that “road of discovery, creating something that is truly unique” experience, something that clearly spins her records.

McKnight now works for Lionsgate, as their VP of film music. She isn’t just very passionate about being at the crossroads of music and film; it’s like a revelation for her. She’s an adviser to the Sundance Composers Lab and the producers conference helping filmmakers “think about and budget for music” in films. She also programs a night at Sundance, called Music Meets Film, going on 8 years now. It highlights and celebrates the music in the films that are playing that year with live bands. “Mos Def covering Fats Waller songs with Michel Gondry” on drums, included. So she knows how to throw a party too.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

Posted by on

Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

Posted by on
Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.


Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giffy

In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.


Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.


Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!



Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.


Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.


If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.