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Topic: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

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  1. #1

    Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Ok, so Im 18 and just getting started. I also live in the Uk. What sort of work is out there for film, tv, game work? What could I expect to get work doing at first? How did you start?

    Actually any information really would be helpful.
    Ed

  2. #2

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Hi!

    I lived in the UK for 3 years doing gamemusic (I\'m now back in Amsterdam), but I have to say the climate has changed a bit since then. There are fewer companies looking for in-house composers, but maybe you wouldn\'t want to work in-house anyway.
    Your best bet is to get some industry mags such as \'The Edge\', or get in touch with agencies that license music.
    With regards to music for television, the competition is even more fierce in that area. I never did this while in the UK, but I expect it to be the same as here, which means either getting in touch with music composer services or ad agencies.
    But the most important thing is to get yourself a good democd first, and make sure you can compose in a variety of styles. Diversity is the name of the game here (you wouldn\'t believe how many cd\'s I\'ve had from people wanting a job at the company I work at for composing game music that feature one techno mix after the other).
    Make sure the CD looks and sounds professional and any additional material is concise and to the point. (spelling errors make a bad, bad impression! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] )
    Also, don\'t shun the smaller jobs at the start of your career; they\'re an excellent way to build experience without too much risk, and it\'s a good way to build up a catalogue of work....

    Just my two cents,

    Joris

  3. #3

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    spelling errors.. Haha

    Man, I\'d never get work in the UK!!! [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

  4. #4

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    well you jsut managed to post a reply without any!

  5. #5

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Joris, thanks for replying!! I enjoyed reading your responce and I will check out that magazine your suggested.

    Cheers!
    Ed

  6. #6

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Originally posted by Ed:
    Joris, thanks for replying!! I enjoyed reading your responce and I will check out that magazine your suggested.

    Cheers!
    Ed
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">My pleasure!

    Cheerio!

    Joris

  7. #7

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Hi Ed,

    Well, James\' experience is typical of this business. I decided, at a relatively old age, 28, (I\'m 40 now, s..t!) and with an engineering background (M.Sc. in Automotive Engineering) to try and make a living out of a passion. Maybe I should have listened to my dad!? I sent out loads of CDs and video showreels and never got a reply, even after I spoke to the right person in the production company.

    Anyway, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a top BBC producer/director who fortunately liked the music my Ex-partner and I had composed. He sent us the script for his new series, and we started coming up with ideas for the theme. We were up against some very established composers also pitching for the gig, but on our 4th attempt, we gave them what they wanted. We were then in at the deep end, scoring all the incidental music for 13 episodes. It went very well, the series (Mulberry - Geraldine McEwan & Karl Howman) was very successful, regularly getting 10 Million viewers.

    Well, we thought we were set, BUT for the next 2 years the work was very thin. A few commercials, corporate videos etc. Then the same producer/director called us to come up with ideas for his new series. Again, we were not the only composers pitching, but again we came up with the goods. I think I was actually happier this time around, because we proved that the first series wasn\'t a fluke!

    The series starred Richard Briers, a big name in comedy, and we thought \'This is it!\'. Well the ratings started at around 9 Million and dropped to about 5 after 7 episodes. The show was axed, the director retired from the BBC and that was the end of the BBC work!!

    I stupidly didn\'t push very hard to get new contacts in the BBC. That\'s what it\'s all about, CONTACTS!

    I am now working for a small record company producing some new artists, but the same people used to manage TV/Film composers including Simon May (Eastenders etc). They took me on their roster but were struggling to get work for any of their composers and so they turned their attention to pop music, and started the label.

    Now, do you want to hear a great stroke of luck? Through an advert for a SCSI hard disk case, of all things, I met Charlie Mole, who had just scored Othello with Lawrence Fishburne! I built his first Logic PC for him and having helped on some arrangements for his next film \'An ideal Husband\', he asked for my help on his latest movie \'The Importance of Being Earnest\' which opens next week in the UK!

    To cut a long story short, I\'ve composed 2 themes for the film which each appear 4 times with differing arrangements. I never thought I\'d get to write for a Hollywood film or hear my music performed with a real orchestra, but it happened because of an advert for a hard disk case!!

    If I was young and starting out, I would go to some film schools and offer to score some films for these young directors. Many film composers have reached the big time this way. The director makes it and takes his composer with him.

    In fact, that\'s how Charlie did it. He scored all of Oli Parker\'s short films, and when Oli got the budget to make Othello he pushed very hard to use Charlie. I believe the studio wanted to use a more established composer, but fortunately for Charlie, Oli got him the gig. Charlie is now doing OK!

    I hope my story has been of help. Good luck. It\'s tough out there!

    Chris

  8. #8

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Originally posted by Ed:
    Ok, so Im 18 and just getting started. I also live in the Uk. What sort of work is out there for film, tv, game work? What could I expect to get work doing at first? How did you start?

    Actually any information really would be helpful.
    Ed
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Well, I haven\'t got where I want to be yet, but I\'ve just started my very first paying gig. Its not film/game scoring, but what the hell.
    I\'ll tell you about my experiences so far (i\'m in the UK, and 21 years old...)

    About 2 years ago I decide I want to become a composer (as you do) so loaned some money, and purchased gigastudio and a couple of libraries.
    I had to learn all about the technology as well as develop my writing skills as I went, no formal training...but thats ok. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    My experience with sending demo cd\'s to game companies usually falls into the following, the most likely at the top...

    1. They don\'t answer your e-mails/calls when you ask them if you can send a demo CD.

    2. They get your CD, then never listen to it. (prefering to use them as coffee coasters no doubt) [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    The problem is that they get so many demo CD\'s, most of them are crap, that they really don\'t bother listening to any of them (Thats what the guy at codemasters told me. I myself have been sent 1 or 2 demo CD\'s, and they were terrible!).
    The double edge to the modern technology sword is that everyone and thier grandmother can get a cheap setup and make demo cd\'s, and lots of people want to make money composing music.

    My first break came when a company starting up a freelance composer service heard some of my music and took me on, the other composers on thier books are all experienced game composers, so I was taken on soley on credit of my demo...which I guess can be a hard sell to games companies...who like experience very much! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] One consolation (in a sense) is that the other composers haven\'t got any work from the freelance composer service themselves, which means that if industry veteran composers couldn\'t, I probably had no chance, so no need to get down about it, eh? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] .

    The way I got my first paying music writing gig was by letting my old college tutor (who writes for TV) listen to my demo... he was very impressed and gave me a number of a producer to phone (the old \"So-and-so gave me your number\" routine)...It took him a few months to finally listen to my cd, but he phoned up as soon as he got around to it, then it took another couple of months to get a project to work on.

    I still haven\'t got to the point where I ccan actually make a living out of composing tho, I\'m starting work as a postman next week... [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Its a tough old business to get into, be realistic, but keep trying, you know this is a business where a getting the job can sometimes be more down to who you know that WHAT you can do.
    My agent told me about a response from a games company that sums it up...
    \"Well, the demo cd\'s of your composers sound great...but...we have a guy who\'s a mate of the owner, he\'s been doing our stuff for 12 years...we\'re not particulary happy with him...but...er.. he\'s a friend of the owner\"

    I\'ve heard demo\'s of loads of people on this forum that would blow away a lot of existing game music... I hope they all get somewhere in the industry too.

    James

  9. #9

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    hey thanks guys, it was really interesting reading your replies!! Chris, is your name in the credits of \'The Importance of Being Earnest\' ?

    I wish there was more film music in UK TV dramas, but there seems so little of it and a lot of it seems quite bland most of the time, occasionally you get this really good score though. Look at shows like Casualty, that has no music at all apart from the main titles!! maybe its because they cant afford it, or do they just not care about it? Do you know what Im talking about anyone?

    Ed

  10. #10

    Re: Question for Film, TV, Video game composers in the UK

    Hi Ed,

    I know exactly what you\'re talking about with regards to British productions lacking incidental music. American producers seem to realise the importance of music to help \'draw\' the viewer into the story. Budget seems secondary to them.

    I was fortunate that the BBC producer trusted us and gave us free reign to do what we wanted. We put music wherever we felt it was suitable, and he used 95% of what we did.

    Yes, I do get a credit for \'The Importance of Being Earnest\'. On the CD I get a credit for additional material & arrangement. Unfortunately, due to the delicate nature of me being involved in the composition, the Director was not told that I had done anything more than arrangement until both he and Miramax were happy with the score.

    The film credits had already been \'done\', and I should have had a credit under \'additional arrangement\'. However, somebody messed up and I get a credit under \'programming\'! Hey, at least they sorted it out for the CD.

    Regards,

    Chris

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