Elizabeth Hannan was attending an event in Toronto a couple of years ago when she just happened to meet another woman from Sarnia.
“I just kind of ran into her, and she asked where I was from,” said Hannan, 28, recalling her chance encounter with acclaimed Canadian film and television composer Erica Procunier at a Screen Composers of Canada event. “We realized we both grew up in the same area, and both went to Western. It was really random.”
And it couldn’t have worked out better for Hannan, an up-and-coming composer and Northern graduate.
Procunier, who is from Bright’s Grove and attended St. Christopher Secondary, invited Hannan to work as an assistant on her next project — the soundtrack for the Apple TV+ series, Ghostwriter.
“We became really good friends, so it was just very natural for me to ask her to help me out,” said Procunier, who teaches film scoring at Humber College. “Working on a television show like this is very time consuming and a lot of the deadlines are very short, so it really helps to have a good team of people.”
The pair made it work, despite Hannan’s move back to Sarnia with her husband at the time. “Erica was really great about it; we worked together long distance, from my little home studio,” she said. “It really changed my entire career.”
After scoring the show’s first season, Hannan and Procunier were thrilled to learn Ghostwriter won the Daytime Emmy for Best Children’s or Family Viewing Program in July.
“I was sitting with my son, playing with blocks and scrolling though Instagram when I saw that Ghostwriter had won,” said Hannan. “I called Erica and said, ‘I think we got an Emmy!’
“It was kind of a wild moment.”
The pair has since been collaborating on a number of new media projects together in a field that has a reputation for being dominated by men.
“There has been this new wave of women entering the industry now, which is great,” said Hannan. “I think Erica had to go through that battle a lot more than I did.
“Honestly, any time I need advice, I just reach out and ask her,” she added. “Meeting her was one of those lucky moments that changed my entire career.”
Like Procunier, who has returned to Sarnia to help promote events like SWIFF (South Western International Film Festival), Hannan hopes to help boost her hometown arts scene.
“I want to help give back to the film and music industry, so we can build that up,” she said.