Chicago Composer Robert ‘Diggy’ Morrison Soars in BET Series ‘The Family Business’
Robert “Diggy” Morrison has been scoring films in Chicago for over thirty years. His latest endeavor has led him to the highly popular original series for BET, The Family Business, starring Ernie Hudson, Valarie Pettiford and Armand Assante. The show recently wrapped up its fourth season, and Robert generously took time out of his busy schedule to stop by SCREEN and tell us all about his work on the show, his approach to composing, and his advice for young filmmakers that you will want to write down and read out loud again and again.
First things first, here’s a preview of Robert’s latest project, Carl Weber’s The Family Business, currently streaming on BET. The series follows the Duncans, an upstanding family that owns and operates an exotic car dealership in New York…
SCREEN: What would you like to share about what goes into composing for a TV show and or film? The floor is yours!
ROB: Composing is a very unique art form all its own, rather it be film or television.
The process is tedious having to study different characters and to create themes around them, making it even more exciting. As a composer I am responsible for all the other music in the film. A good film score should have a point of view, like a painter with his pallet of colors, having dynamic range is a plus to draw the viewer in the same way through music.
It should stand on its own two feet, and still serve the film or tv show. Transcending, not to outdo, but in a very complimentary way, which I like to call, “The Sixth Man”. A great score is all about communicating with the audience, I have to be the thing the director is not. A score evokes a certain feeling, it can pull at your heart strings, or have you biting your nails.
SCREEN: What led you to your latest collaboration on the BET series The Family Business?
ROB: I was chosen by Trey Haley of Tri Destined Studios, who found me on Instagram, a great conversation took place, and things were rolling. The project took three months to complete, having two episodes a week to score. The process was grueling at times, because of tight deadlines, but I was able to handle it like the professional I am. Communication played a big part in scoring this project. Trey and I worked well together, and his vision is unmatched as a director. His favorite phrase was “Finesse the Scene.”
Here is the very first episode of The Family Business. Enjoy the full episode here, then binge all four seasons on BET…
SCREEN: What sparked your love of music growing up?
ROBERT: Well, I am born and raised in Chicago, I had the best time growing up being a kid. I attended Jacob Beidler Elementary School, and as a young student was very active early in the student council committee, basketball team, and even winning the local district science fair. I was always a good student and leader growing up. At fourteen I was given my first guitar, a Gibson SG by my Uncle Carl, who taught me how to play, and to develop a work ethic and patience with the instrument. He would even tap my fingers when I played a wrong note. I auditioned for the school jazz band as a budding guitarist, but was told by my band teacher, “You will never play in my band.” Of course, I was floored and disappointed. I attended John Marshall High School, there I joined the beginner’s band as a trombone player and I also participated in the jazz band as a guitar player under the direction of Delano O’Banion.
SCREEN: If you could give one piece of advice to a young composer just getting started and trying to find their way to successful career, what would that advice be?
ROBERT: I would suggest to that person, to study the greats, read on your craft, and master your equipment. It is important in this fast-paced world to also use social media to their advantage. Message film makers and producers even if you its a not at this time, or no response at all. It’s okay, try the next one. Post your songs on sites like Apple Music and Soundcloud so people can hear your scores or soundtracks. Be relentless and pray for that blessing. Join social media film groups and director’s groups. And lastly, your sound is your brand you have to brand daily. Your arsenal of sound is very important, you must invest and spend almost your last dime to have that type of sound you desire.
Nobody will hire you if you are using stock sounds from the manufacturer… well, maybe.
Write letters to companies that sell music software or plugins, suggest to them that you are a composer and you would like to use their sounds in your upcoming film, they just may go for it. Fly out to some music conventions like The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), or film festivals, where you can meet tons of film directors, actors, and producers. Some of my professional contacts to date are from film festivals.
You cannot be afraid to sell yourself, be your own walking billboard, let people know you are hotter than fish grease.
What’s Next for Robert
Not surprisingly, it’s shaping up to be a busy 2023 for Rob Diggy. He is collaborating on a suspense thriller called Lipstick, directed by Kimberly Connor. Robert is also bringing his expertise to the dramedy I Got Problemz, directed by Chicago filmmaker Christopher Nolen, and the Lakefront Pictures project The Unseen. Finally, Robert expects to have a few new projects for the BET Networks, and he will have updates on those later this year.
As for The Family Business, the American crime family drama created by Carl Weber is awaiting an order for its fifth season from BET.
Thank you to Robert for stopping by SCREEN and you can click here to connect with Robert on instagram. To reach out to Rob’s PR Consultant Desirae Benson, click here.
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