‘‘As an executive producer, I'm around for the writing and the read-throughs, so I know where the scripts are heading,’’ said Richmond, 52, who has curly, tousled hair, a beard and black-rim glasses, and speaks in eager bursts.
By a typical Monday, ‘‘I'll feel like we mostly have it, and we start laying it in. But then we may find we have some holes, or realize this piece of music isn’t working, so let’s take it out. I start digging around for something, maybe a clarinet part from another piece, and I throw it over a scene to see if it works.’’
If this all sounds a bit helter-skelter, the process is actually painstaking and exacting. A lot of ‘‘one more time’’ is heard.
It is only by Tuesday evening that the finished music joins the dialogue and sound effects, then merges with the finished video.
A little last-minute? ‘‘It happens quickly,’’ Richmond acknowledged, ‘‘but that’s just the way our schedule is, and it’s been that way for a long time.’’
Now the end of ‘‘30 Rock’’ was approaching. What’s next for him? Maybe a collaboration with Fey on a Broadway musical version of her 2004 film ‘‘Mean Girls,’’ he said. Maybe scoring a movie. ‘‘I'm open for anything.’’
As the minutes ticked by last Friday afternoon, Richmond wasn’t freaking out.
‘‘It’s all lining up nicely,’’ he said, exuding confidence as he cued the strings for another take. ‘‘But I'm still not finished writing. I'm still figuring out the last piece of music you'll ever hear in the series. I'll record it over the weekend.’’
Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier