There are many things that a TV show or movie needs to make it stand out. One of those things that often is overlooked is the good ole theme song. Theme songs are an integral piece of the puzzle for media as they function both as good openings to show off the cast and give viewers an idea of what they are in for or most importantly they can function as an easy way to distinguish your favorite shows and films just from a few notes. I have made quite a few friends just from hearing those telling sounds that let me know somebody else loves that show as much as me. So what exactly makes for a good theme song? After sitting through countless TV show openings, dissecting franchise tunes and a lot of binge watching I have come up with these 5 tips for making an epic theme song.
1. Keep It Simple
Going over the top with a theme is a great way to lose potential fans. It needs to be something that is simple enough to be easily hummed or sang as this will encourage people to more easily associate the song with the show/film and develop a personal connection to the tune. Songs that have too much going on in them can also easily be confused with other background noises or just lose the listeners interest. The best themes typically have a few instruments in them playing a relatively basic tune that can easily be caught at any point and immediately interpreted as "that theme."
2. Keep It Short
Another common trait of good themes is that they be relatively short. For TV shows this is simple; just use the theme as an intro to show off cast members or set up the shows premise easily, a task that usually only require a few seconds anyway. No theme should be longer than 2 minutes for a show as anything longer would by that point be cutting into the shows time and negate the point of an intro. It also would make the chance of fans losing interest go way up. For movies, the idea is similar but for different reasons. Movie themes should not be longer than 3-4 minutes and should be used for scenes that effectively represent the movie, hence why they do not need to be too long.
3. Make Sure It Is Unique
Possibly the most important rule is for the theme song to be unique and distinguished. Themes need to be so easily recognizable that it can be picked out from among other sounds. Fans need something they can be able to feel is truly theirs and just theirs and theme songs are no exception. The Star Wars fans want to be able to immediately imagine their text crawling on the screen the second that classic theme starts and Game of Thrones lovers want to be able to immediately envision the sun over Westeros when that beat plays.
4. Set The Stage
The ideal point of the theme song is that it is able to effectively capture the atmosphere of the show or film. It should be the ultimate stage setter, the great opening that lets everyone know what they are in for. It should rile up die-hard fans who can not wait to get more of what they love and send chills down the backs of first-timers who are getting their first taste of greatness. If the theme cannot pull through on this, it honestly has lost most of its purpose.
5. Make It Catchy
The final tip for creating the theme is to make it something that can get stuck in people's heads. An express point of the theme is to garnish attention, the best way to get that attention is by having a contagious theme. It doesn't even have to be catchy in a positive manner, it just needs to be that certain sound that people keep hearing or thinking about that eventually gets them to look and see what it is.