Communicating With A Film Composer

so now specifically for you film directors out there if you're unsure of how to approach a film composer a music composer on what sort of what do you offer them how do you approach them what sort of deals do you make in terms of budget all of that very suave would be depending on the composer that you're working with if you have a very low budget you need to keep that in mind as you approach a composer and you should probably find a composer that doesn't have much of a resume behind them more often than not those sort of composers are willing to work for free because the exchange for exposure can be very worth it to them I have kind of my own personal set price of what I like but if I'm working up in terms of quality like if I'm reaching out and going wow I've never done this sort of project before or worked with this prestigious producer or whatever I'm willing to negotiate the the price point because I know I'm getting more than just the monetary of the money side of things never assumed the film composer will work for free because that can be really insulting it's always good to start and say if I have this much money or you are you willing to work with that and the film composer will say sure or no I might need to do some more or whatever so that's always a good way to start is just say here's my budget what can I get for this and the film composer will let you know if it's worth their time or not a good place to look for film composers is on youtube on soundcloud and other like maybe facebook type groups film composer groups there's a wide variety of folders out there so you do need to do your research just like anybody else and I tell composers this all the time make sure you have a website a resume of sources something compiled where you can listen so that's what you'd want to listen for and look for in a film composer is what have they done and what do they sound like if you find a film composer that every single piece they do is completely different and you you won't really get a good idea of what you want or what you're getting if you hire that sort of thunk composer once you establish the connection it's a very very important thing to remember is that you don't want to waste the composer's time unless the composer is incredibly accommodating and it's obvious they don't have a lot going on then you know feel free to kind of use the resources available there but the best time to start getting music from a composers after you've locked a cut if you say this scene is finished you know or this ten minutes of film is finished and I'm not gonna be changing the time codes on the scenes that's when to start sending the footage to the composer you don't have to worry about color grading you don't even really have to worry about sound effects and everything just make sure the the length of the of the scenes and the frames are set even with technology it's easier for composers to move things around inside their project files but it can be a big headache and it can take almost as long as it took the composer to compose a film as it would be to re-edit a piece if you suddenly start changing all the time code so really don't be making big edits almost absolutely necessary to the final product other than giving them finished footage or finished footage eno another good time to start getting music from them might be when you're cutting your trailers get an idea of what sort of themes you're gonna be using the sort of motifs the sort of general sound another thing to do is just request say hey like can you give me an idea of a theme unless you're paying them for that music don't expect a lot like don't ask never please never ask a composer like give me a finished theme so I know what I'm getting generally speaking it's easier for composers to compose for film when they're working with film so if you just say hey I'm running a movie about this here's the script to write some music so I can get an idea it's not gonna be as effective don't be afraid to ask but just understand that you might not get a finished perfect product and it might just be a piano sketch it might just be it like 30 seconds of an idea just be aware that you need to use your imagination in talking through with a composer also be willing to listen to the composer's input because they have a very different eye for the film so I've noticed a lot of directors enjoy film music and they listen to a lot of film music but that doesn't mean they're experts in film music they might know what they like especially if they work with temp music but oftentimes film directors are kind of tied up in what works currently in film or whatever film style they happen to be very interested in composers can offer a nice kind of other angle saying well what if we don't go the very obvious route what if we kind of avoid these cliches so yeah just be very open and honest in dialogue with your composer and I think you have a great product

2 thoughts on “Communicating With A Film Composer

  1. I been working with a composer and this are some great tips … thanks a lot King Film School big fan!!! Cheers 

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