The 2013 film Begin Again was the passion project of writer/director John Carney who actually conceived the premise years before he wrote the screenplay in 2010. The story was partly inspired by his own experiences as a musician in a band in the 1990's. His impression of the artists and repertoire (A&R) executives of record labels during that time formed the basis of the character of Dan (Played by Mark Ruffalo). Initially, the script was titled Can a Song Save Your Life?, before he, Glen Hansard, and Gregg Alexander began writing the songs and from there decided he wanted "to work the music around the story, instead of the other way around." In fact, the script's style of featuring songs as a natural element of the story was inspired by the 1954 Judy Garland musical film A Star Is Born, something Carney utilized in his earlier film Once (2007).
Ultimately, Carney pitched the film in 2010 to filmmaker Judd Apatow, who produced the film alongside Tobin Armbrust and Anthony Bregman whose production company Exclusive Media financed the film's US$8 million budget. Beyond being well-received, it's appropriate that, with the priority of music in the story, the film would ultimately be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Lost Stars", composed by Alexander and Danielle Brisebois. So the musical priorities paid off! Stay tuned!