A lot of independent composers face highly frustrating problems when trying to make a mark in the film or TV industry.
Personally I went freelance as a composer in 2007 after 4 years working as a composer’s assistant. This forced me to get my music to a professional level really fast but also become business savvy and understand communication, marketing and my rights as a composer. Two years later, with a lot of hard work, my income was through composing music. To date I have scored 20 feature films (7 of them with full live orchestra), 6 TV docs and series, around 25 commercial spots, 10 movie trailers, many short films and hundreds of placements from production music work. I am already booked until February 2016 with four feature films, all with live orchestra. I’ve learned (most times the hard way) the highs and lows, the pitfalls to avoid, and the right way to make filmmakers trust you and your music in order to keep coming back for more.
I feel there are big question marks from a lot of colleagues on how to build or even re-build their careers, particularly during a period of many films with little or no budget for music. I am concerned as up and coming composers come up with extreme and sometimes desperate ways to establish relationships with filmmakers. At the same time older generation composers have become frustrated because of the “decline” of budgets and both these circumstances subliminally de-value our reputation, especially in the independent film market. Just go to craigslist and see the ratio of composers advertising their services VS filmmakers looking for a composer. The ratio would be 50-1 at least.
Of course there isn’t a magic recipe for success. As each composer has a different writing style, geographical location and goals I am providing occasional one on one consultancy to give objective advice and the motivation to build a better career. I can point a few things out that might help composers to improve their ‘game’.
– We schedule a convenient time for a 2 hour consultancy via skype, FaceTime or phone.
– A day before you upload your showreel and all your general questions so I can prepare what you would like to discuss during the session.
– During consultation we’ll initially discuss your background and your current situation and your targets. Right after we will listen to your current showreel together (your best 5 tracks/cues).
Then we will go through your questions and various aspects like: