19 Jun 5 Minutes with Tanya Carswell, Executive Producer for Music & Advertising
Working in media and production requires a certain personality type – someone driven, ambitious and hardworking, whilst also being outgoing and warm. Stellar is very lucky to have found all of this and more in our Executive Producer for Music & Advertising, Tanya Carswell. Despite her small stature, it’s impossible to miss Tanya when she is in the room. With boundless energy and enthusiasm, Tanya (and her New Zealand accent) makes an impression from the get-go. With her background in radio, agencies and studios, Tanya brings a wealth of knowledge and connections to Stellar Studios. We sat down with her to learn more about her impressive career history, her role at Stellar Studios today and some exciting plans for the studio’s future.
What does your role as Executive Producer for Music & Advertising involve?
A major part of my role is sourcing new clients and bringing in work for our in-house composer, and then overseeing the projects from start to finish. It is up to me to manage client expectations, budgets and timelines in a way that delivers results. The advertising industry is fast moving and ever changing, so it’s essential that I keep on top of what is happening at all times. Every day, I scour all industry online magazines to see the movings and shakings of advertising execs, as well as keeping on eye on who has been working on what campaigns. I also attend outside networking events and award nights so that Stellar Studios continues to have a visible presence.
When you oversee a project, what does that look like?
The early stage includes quoting and negotiating, as well as getting a full brief from the client to make sure we are all on the same page. From there, I cast any talent that may be needed or instruments that need to be recorded. I don’t get in the way of the creative process, but am there as a support for the composer if needed. Once the initial work is done, I send off music demos to the clients and take briefs on any revisions needed. Sometimes, a client can completely change their mind on what they want, so the process can take anywhere from a day through to several months. In the end, we need to make sure the client is happy!
Tell us about your career background; what brought you into the world of Production?
I emigrated to Australia in the early 90s and was fortunate to get a job at the Number 1 Radio station at the time, Radio2DayFM. I produced the HOT 30 countdown with Ugly Phil and Jackie O. It was an action-packed nightly music show, with huge listener numbers across the country. During this time, I got to meet some incredible celebrities, from Janet Jackson, The Spice Girls, and Will Smith to the late Robin Williams. I attended some of the biggest concerts and events in Sydney, it was a very social time.
From there, I became a voiceover agent for an acting agency and set up the agency’s Melbourne office. It was only a small market back then and a lot of the actors I looked after are still working on the campaigns that I got for them. The market is now so saturated; every working actor wants a piece of the VO pie!
I took a year off and travelled overseas, mainly in Asia and throughout Europe. It was a great year. On my return to Sydney, I got a phone call from a top recording studio asking if I could come work for them, casting voices for campaigns and managing their three audio post-production studios. While there, I was fortunate to work with the likes of Cate Blanchett on a Google campaign. I also worked with Coldplay when they came to Sydney and recorded the video for their hit song “A Sky Full of Stars” in the streets of Newtown. They finished the production side of things in our studio, which was pretty cool.
Any celebrity stories you can share?
When Robin Williams came to the studio I offered him a cup of tea, which he refused, but he insisted on making one for me instead! What a gentleman. I also gave Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters and Nirvana) his first vegemite sandwich for his hangover.
How did you start working at Stellar Studios?
My mother fell ill with cancer, so I had moved back to New Zealand to care for her and help my Dad. Shortly after she passed away I was pondering what my next career move should be, when out of the blue I received an email from Luke Mason (Stellar’s in-house composer). He wanted to know if I would be interested in growing the music arm of Stellar Studios. I came in for an appointment and just loved the set-up, so had to say yes!
Any studio updates you can give us?
We have almost finished an extensive renovation of the facilities, which now gives us a very slick-looking space that will be able to record large amounts of talent while also having room for up to 12 agency people/clients if need be. It’s an exciting time at Stellar Studios, I can’t wait to get out there and spread the word.
Tell us a little bit about your life outside of Stellar.
I love the outdoors and often spend my weekend’s bushwalking and kayaking. I love live music and am lucky to have many friends working in the industry so there is always something to attend. I’m also a pet/house sitter. One of my regular customers has leaf insects she gets to me to look after in her absence. I feed them gum leaves and spray them with water every day, they are really interesting creatures.