TOP TEN MYTHS ABOUT BEING A FILM COMPOSER- #9
Jul 23, 2018
“ All I have to do is write wonderful music and I will be a success”
I think it would safe to say that if you are reading this you have a passion for music. More than likely I wouldn’t be surprised if you spent large amounts of time pursuing your passion. Some might describe it as an addiction, a compulsion, or worse. They are most likely correct in their assumption. Not to worry- to achieve your goals all of these attributes are needed and more.
You might be prone to sitting at the piano, composing or improvising-- envisioning your music being heard in a darkened room with hundreds of people sitting in rapt attention. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Undoubtedly there are some of you who have a healthy ego and believe that your musical skills are well suited to the task. You’ve studied Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, Strauss, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky and more. You’ve also are fanatic about the latest scores from James Horner, John Williams, James Newton Howard etc etc.
You’ve also done your homework regarding popular music. You understand pop, rock, rap, rave, electronica. I imagine you are a programming whiz...highly adept at making samples and sequences rock.
All of what I’ve described above are pre-requisites for a career in film music.
But, and this is a big but, most of this really doesn’t matter to a film director.
Did you hear me? …it doesn’t matter.
They may appreciate your expertise but at the end of the day all they will truly care about is whether or not you can deliver a score that will help their movie be successful.
Directors, in my experience, are single-minded people.
From the moment they begin a project they are, and have to be, consumed with their movie. Directors not only have to answer to studios, investors etc.,hey constantly have to manage everyone who is involved in the process. Can you imagine being asked questions from everyone you see 24/7? I can’t imagine being in that position…it has to be exhausting.
Why is all of this relevant to the statement above?
Music is only one part of the process of making movies. In a sense you are part of a hierarchy that includes, actors, production designers, cinematographers, writers, producers, lighting designers, costumers, editors, dubbing mixers, adr engineers, gaffers, best boys, etc.
Important points to remember:
Understand your place
Be prepared (know the story, the cut, each character, their back story if possible)
Learn how to communicate effectively (more on that in subsequent posts)
Above all- don’t waste your director’s time. Time is their most important asset.
Being talented enough to be able to write wonderful music is a given. It may even get you a meeting.
Being talented will only take you so far.
Acknowledgement and understanding of what I’ve said above will be needed if you want to create a career as a film composer.
Coming next: #8- "I'm the composer- I'll write what I think is best"
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