Supervisor Spotlight: Tom Stanford

By The GMS Team

Music supervisors are an elusive breed. They’re some of the busiest people in the business so the chance to get to know them rarely presents itself. Well, that’s what we at the Guild are trying to change. Every now and then we sit down with one of our supervisor members and find out a bit more about them, their role and how they work. This time it was the turn of Tom Stanford of Theodore.

How long have you worked in Sync?

I’ve worked in sync since March 2008 when I joined Stream, which at the time was part of TBWA London. 

What was your background before?

I worked across several facets of the music industry. I’d worked for two different independent record labels (ran my own for a bit too), the Camden Crawl music festival, a management company, a music street team marketing company, DJ’ed, booked bands and ran my own club nights. I knew absolutely nothing about the advertising world before entering the sync world. 

How did you get into it?

The label that I worked for were being squeezed by not having any cash flow as the digital era became more prevalent. Our release schedule was looking bare and knew the writing was on the wall. I always loved the idea of matching music and picture and decided thats what I wanted to do, so I signed up with a music recruitment company and they had a role going (at Stream). They wouldn’t put me forward for it as I didn’t have the right experience. I knew I could do it, so I went and sat in their office reception and said I wouldn’t leave until they put my CV forward. The relented after a while, I got an interview and that was it.   

What is the most interesting project you have worked on?

I love any project that requires you to really think. To get outside the box. To research those deep cuts. So many projects that you work on are predictable (can’t name names!). In terms of slightly odd projects though, I think a project I did a few years ago for Gatwick Express might be up there. We got a classical composer (Philip Sheppard) to write a 30 minute piece that lasted and scored the entire journey from Victoria Station to Gatwick. We had it filmed and he scored the music to that. We then had a band (The Milk) and Benga remix/add music/cut with their music with Philips track. So we had three tracks, we then gave away a choice of one of these to people to download when they bought a Gatwick Express ticket. Customers were supposed to then listen to the track on their journey. We did a launch with all the artists and press etc on the Gatwick Express which was pretty hectic. Turned out as a really fun project to work on.

What is the best use of music in Ads that you have ever seen?

Dunlop Tyres “Tested For The Unexpected” – in that era putting licensed music on a TV advert wasn’t the done thing (excluding Levis). To use The Velvet Underground on such an interesting advert was such a brave choice. Its not exactly a sure fire hit and can imagine the client having kittens before this came out. In fact, it can’t have been an easy sell at any level. Adding the music last though, the conversation must have been “well you’ve gone this far…”

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