Composer Sherri Chung is currently an Emmy contender for her Based On A True Story score. The artist brought audible glee to the Peacock show. To Immersive, she described herself as a “happy maximalist,” and if there’s one show she worked on that called for going beyond big, it’s Riverdale.

Chung co-scored The CW series from beginning until the end with Blake Neely. A total of 114 episodes, based on the Archie comics. During all that airtime, Riverdale went to some weird places, man, to put it mildly.

During a conversation with Immersive’s editor-at-large, Jack Giroux, he asked what she learned as a composer from scoring that much television. Chung’s detailed response:

I think when you do anything for a while, or at least when you do something repetitively, you learn it, and it becomes rote. So, when that happens, the work is in learning it. Once you’ve learned it, which isn’t to say you don’t have anything else to learn, it gives you a chance to explore. That, to me, is when things become really fun. When you have that sound and you’ve discovered that thing, you don’t have to use all your brain energy on, “Oh my gosh, I have to make this deadline,” or “Oh my gosh, how do I read that scene?” or “Oh my gosh, what sound should I create for this character?”

When you’ve been at it for a bit of time, or even a long time, you get to start to play. You can say, “Okay, I don’t have to spend my brain energy on asking or answering those questions. I’ve already done that. I know how long it’s going to take me. I know how long I have. I already have my themes. I’ve got my sandbox, my parameters. Now I can just play within those parameters and have fun.” I feel like that’s the cool thing about episodic work in general. Once you nail that tone and have that sound, the rest of it becomes expanding on it, developing it, and playing within the parameters you’ve already set up. That, to me, is the most fun part, and that’s probably what I’ve learned the most.

Also, what’s great about Riverdale is that there’s this term called “Jump the Shark.” It refers to these massive, angular turns where it’s like, “Whoa, that just went way off the rails.” The hallmark of Riverdale was jumping the shark in every episode, certainly in every season. I think that’s what makes something fun. If you’re lucky enough to have a longstanding show like that, which I am very lucky to have had, and several others like it too, it changes. The storylines change, they add new characters, and they say, “This season we’re going to go in a wildly different direction with a character or a storyline.” That makes it really interesting. It ensures you don’t get bored, things don’t get old, and you’re constantly being asked to do something a little bit different each time. That’s a really cool thing.

Riverdale is available to stream on Netflix.

Miles Kelley

Miles Kelly is a part-time writer, full-time worrier. He has years of copywriting experience in the entertainment industry under his belt. Miles thanks you for reading his news posts and occasional features.