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Film Scoring 101

Film scoring is a very serious career and one not for the faint at heart. You need to be a strong person who takes rejection well! But actually as an artist in any area of the entertainment industry this holds true. There are literally thousands upon thousands of film composers out there now, and film scoring has become incredibly competitive over the last several years. For some strange reason, people tend to think that this field is easy to break into, possibly easier than getting a record deal… au contraire!
Overview
Film scoring is a challenging and highly complex music career -- it's not a career to spontaneously jump into. In most cases, you'll need to dedicate yourself to film scoring as your main career. It's not a career for the occasional composer, not for the "Hey, this sounds like a fun thing to do next week" composer, and certainly not for the couch potato crowd. And it's also not for the person who thinks that one song they wrote last week would be perfect for a soundtrack. It's very, very, very hard and demanding work, and can sometimes command 16-20 hour days. By now you should be getting the message that this is a career for someone who wants to score films, needs to score films, has always wanted to score films, and would die if he or she could not score films. I always ask young composers at our first meeting if this is their first career choice. "Would you die if you could not score films for a living?" If they look baffled or annoyed with the question, I know they aren't that dedicated. If they say yes without hesitation, I know they will probably go somewhere. (Obviously I cannot say where, since the odds of making it to the top of the game are very, very challenging). You may think my feelings are discouraging -- they're not, but they are realistic, and it's important for anyone considering this career to understand the obstacles. The best analogy for film composing is that it's sort of like being in a band - you will have to interact with a variety of diverse personalities. The director is like the lead singer; it's his product that you are collaborating on, and you are very much part of his/her team and vision. The producers are somewhat like road managers or personal managers in that they oversee what the director and composer are doing together.
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