Since he was a kid growing up in Stockbridge, Christian Magby had a passion for music.
“Everybody in my family has always loved to listen to oldies growing up in church,” Magby said. “But nobody in my family sings. No one in my family plays any instruments. It’s just me.”
That budding infatuation is what led him to join a theater company when he was 12 years old. Unbeknownst to him at the time, music would end up sprouting into his career.
Since then, he graduated with a performing arts degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design’s (SCAD) Atlanta campus in 2016, and he’s been working on “Pitch Perfect 3,” which recently filmed in Atlanta, as its music production assistant. The “Pitch Perfect” movie franchise concerns the adventures of an all-female a cappella group, the Barden Bellas. The third movie in the series is slated to reach theaters this December.
But what does a music production assistant do? Simple put, Magby’s job is to make sure the production and producing offices are on the same page. He also helps the two executive music producers with whatever they need done, which has led to some of Magby’s favorite moments so far on the job.
“We were in a rush, so to speak, and they needed somebody to score or chart down sheet music for the girls to read,” Magby said, “so that was the type of responsibility they entrusted me with.”
As an active composer, charting sheet music is right in Magby’s wheelhouse. In fact, while at SCAD, one of his arrangements ended up being heard by the entire school.
“The alma mater song that’s used at graduation (in 2016), ‘Unique United,’ is my arrangement,” Magby said.
Magby also has been pursuing and participating in multiple other types of projects.
He has a prominent role in a play called “Ravished,” which is finishing its run at the Theater Emory. The show is a nightmarish twist on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“This year, I told myself I really want to try to get immersed into plays as well as film and TV,” Magby said. “Music is embedded in me, so I knew that plays were something that would help me develop different characteristics as an actor.”
His most ambitious current venture is co-creating and composing his own musical titled “Mother of God,” which he said was just accepted into theAtlanta Musical Theatre Festival taking place this summer. The show is expected to premiere at the end of July.
When Magby first arrived at SCAD, most of his experience was in theater and music production, not film. According to Andra Reeve-Rabb, dean of the School of Entertainment Arts and director of casting at SCAD, one of Magby’s first ventures into film was through her class on audition techniques for film and television.
In the class, Reeve-Rabb had Magby audition for a “Grey’s Anatomy” type theme, and even though his performance was overblown at first, she said his determination stood out.
“I said, ‘Christian, that was incredible if you were doing it at Carnegie Hall. You’re going to have to bring it down in a realistic way,’” Reeve-Rabb said. “What I love about Christian is he rehearsed that so much until it became second nature to him.”
Something Magby picked up while at SCAD was the importance of audition training within the performing arts industry. Reeve-Rabb said that rigorous auditioning training is something every SCAD student goes through.
“Freshman year all the way to your senior year, you are in constant auditioning classes because you can’t get a job in this world without being really good at auditioning,” Reeve-Rabb said. “You may be a wonderful actor, but if you can’t audition, you won’t get the job.”
For Magby, it seems like that training has paid off quickly in his career.