I’ve been meaning to upload more clips from “Kingpin,” the 2003 TV show I created for NBC. In particular, I’d like to illustrate how music can enhance visual storytelling.
Late in the process of writing the pilot script, I latched onto the idea of using a lot of songs... the way “Miami Vice” used to do. I figured that could be a hook, a distinguishing characteristic of the series. Something an audience might come to look forward to.
Indeed, I was delighted when the Los Angeles Times wrote an article about the use of Spanish-language tunes in “Kingpin.”
David Simon, for “The Corner” and “The Wire,” made the choice not to use much music. Any songs you heard were likely coming from some character’s radio. (Except for those season-ending montages in “The Wire.”)
Simon’s choice fit the tone of those shows – stark, dry, naturalistic, anti-cinematic. The tone of “Kingpin” was different – highly stylized, melodramatic, grandiose, with dream sequences and any other filmic device that seemed appropriate.
Rather than hire a music supervisor, I selected every song myself. (Surprised?) It was a thrill to get in the editing room and lay sound over picture and make it work.
The final 10 minutes of the “Kingpin” pilot are below. Notice how the tracks by Lila Downs and Grace Jones are put to use.
Allen Coulter, best known for his work on “The Sopranos,” directed the hell out of this. Film editor Anthony Redman cut it superbly.