Hitting the right notes on a TV pilot can often require composers to pay for their perfectionist ways. After landing the scoring gig for the CW’s DC Comics pilot Arrow, Blake Neely was faced with the daunting task of following in the footsteps of other big-screen superhero themes. However, at the time, The CW was unsure if Arrow was a go on the fall 2012 schedule. And Neely’s using an orchestral score wasn’t even a possibility.
“The best way to prove to them that they needed (an orchestral score) for the series was for them to hear it,” says Neely. So he hired a 30-piece orchestra comprising strings and brass to create a suspenseful, dark-toned sound, recorded in his Sherman Oaks studio. CW suits were wowed, and Neely’s score lived – but only for the first episode. The bulk of the music budget for Arrow was sacrificed for other production elements, which is typical considering most shows get by with synthesizers.