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Topic: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

  1. #1

    OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    Hello all!

    I\'m trying to find some comissions - not necessarily big things. Maybe small films or student animations, or something of that nature. I\'ve been looking, but really, I\'m not quite sure how to go about advertising myself. Of course, a website is necessary for samples of my compositions. However, how do you all go about finding your comissions? Do you post on certain advertising websites or even posters with your name on it (like some composers I know do!).

    Also, I am wondering if there is perhaps a website where students can post \"wanted ads\" for composers. Right now, I\'m extracting movies from video games and scoring them... it\'s getting dull fast but is excellent experience. I\'ve done a few small games and some student animations, but I want more. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Hopefully during my next year of school it could become a source of income (not MAJOR, mind you, just some money)!

    So everybody, any ideas?


    PS: Bruce, if you\'re reading this... those haikus over on the Tascam bulletin board are hilarious!

  2. #2

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    Let me know as well! The independent game company I\'m working for is taking too long and I would like to know where I can find the opportunities as well! My email is right below.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    Step to the back of the line....both of you!

    Actually, if you go here you can pay a monthly fee and access what amounts to mostly student film prjects.

    Unfortunately, for a lot of these guys, geography plays a role, so unless you live in NY or LA, you won\'t have good chances.

    But it\'s a start....aside from that, do what I did when I first started, put ads in your local college\'s film department and see where it leads!

  4. #4

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    Call me crazy, but I doubt any of the money making composers here would tell you how to compete with them , hey I could be wrong though! [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    Y\' know, I never did figure that out. Why would someone be afraid of that? Are, \"big shot,\" composers afraid that a composer out there is better than him? The real reality is is that there are composers out there who I\'m sure are better than Zimmer, Silvestri, (I can\'t say Williams, sorry) and many many others, but just some haven\'t gotten the chance to be heard and never will be heard.

  6. #6

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    I think they are mostly interested in student films and shorts......essentially the type of stuff that I tend to pass on! Somebody\'s gotta do it!

  7. #7

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    oh....and A.Sapp, remember this one very well:

    It\'s not how good you are....it\'s who you know!

    I am sure that some of the guys on this board could blow away the top composers in Hollywood. But guess what? They don\'t get a chance to because it\'s who you know....and I guess they don\'t know!

    Sorry if that sounds cynical, but you should see some of the useless morons that have incredibly high paying jobs out there and that are completely useless were it not for their support staff!

  8. #8

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?


    The expression \"it\'s not what you know...\" is ENTIRELY true, unfortunately.

    I\'ve been a professional composer for about eight years now, and I had no idea I wanted to be a composer until I became one. I was in the right place at the right time.

    Actually I started as a TV producer -- I needed music for certain spots and decided it would just be easier to write it myself. I did it, and my spots didn\'t get nearly as much acclaim as the music. So -- I took the easy road and never looked back.

    (To make you feel better -- it\'s not an easy road -- and I think I\'m running out of hair on my body to pull out on some days.)

    My point? I went to school for medical journalism and advertising. I ended up in TV -- then, somehow, as a gainfully employed composer (having spent my junior high school music career getting kicked out of band EVERY day for fooling around instead of paying attention.)

    Getting a job in music is like getting an audition for an acting role. Some people audition their entire life (and are talented) and never find anything. Others accidentally walk in the wrong roomo\\ while delivering a pizza and get their own sitcom (after the problem acne goes away).

    My advice? Their are more gigs in music than scoring films. There are TV shows. There are industrials (made at post houses or in-house prod. depts in companies). There\'s library music. There are more than 75 commercials on radio and tv made each day. There are independent producers making documentaries. There\'s \"ifilms.com.\" There are cable tv shows with music packages that sound like they were written by those people that have that strange disease that makes their hands look like flippers.

    Yeah, sure, scoring films is the final \"dream gig\" for a lot of people. But, take it from me -- it\'s just not a lot of fun. It\'s not art. it often comes down to political B.S. -- like when the music reminds the director of his eighth wife (whom he still has in the trunk of his car) -- and he wants the cues changed changed before the 8 AM mix session tomorrow into something \"a little bigger but completely different.\"

    I could tell you stories. Every composer can. The short thing is: go and write. Don\'t just aim for the pro gigs. Practice on movie trailers. Go to apple\'s website, download a bunch of quicktime trailers and re-score them, frame accurately. It not only makes great practice, it also provides you with some cool spec stuff to present to people when finished and mixed.

    Mind you -- I\'m not telling anyone to stop looking for jobs. I\'m just saying there\'s SO MUCH MORE THAN SCORING FILMS. There are jobs out there. So all you have to do is be at the right place at the right time -- and just make sure you have a killer reel and real hands -- instead of those flipper things.

    - Stew

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?

    I think it\'s important to understand that \"it\'s who you know,\" is not a bad thing at all.

    Look around your group of friends and peers. Those are the people YOU know, and those people will be moving ahead in life with their careers. You will be the composer that THEY know, and when they have work or opportunity, they\'re going to call you. Especially when you get to college and start specializing more and more, you will meet people that will be more and more instrumental in your future.

    Most of the collaboration between directors and composers is an extension of relationships formed when these people were NOT on top of the industry. That\'s why it seems impossible to \"break in,\" because there\'s really no such thing as breaking in. You stand about as much chance of breaking into the highest levels of the business as you do making a hit record...probably less. BUT, you can come up the ladder with YOUR peers, and have an excellent, maybe even high-profile, career.

    I consider myself fortunate. I work all the time, and I never advertise or look for work. It comes to me. Probably 60% of the work I do is either directly or indirectly generated by my colleagues from school. The other 40% is from relationships I built working in the theater and film community in Dallas. I\'m not rich, but I do all right for myself. I don\'t lack for too much, and I\'m certainly not poor, but I have been PLENTY poor before. I\'m not famous, pretty much nobody has heard of me. But I\'ve been a sideman in some high-profile acts, and have actually had the totally surreal experience of being behind a line of bodyguards pushing thousands of screaming teenage girls aside with barricades so that we could get to our buses. Not bad...a moment to remember, for sure. If you live in a market that shows Austin City Limits, you\'ll see reruns now and then where I\'m playing with Sara Hickman. I\'ve played ratty roadhouses in all 48 contiguous states, touring in everything from nice airconditioned buses to a stinky van with shag carpet we called The Brown Turd. All in all, I have a pretty nice, low to medium-profile career--BUT, none of it came suddenly. I never broke in, it just started as kind of a trickle and things built on themselves.

    I think if you ask anyone who is working, they\'ll say the same thing, more or less. And I think they\'d say that they were thinking just about the same way you are thinking now when they were your age. Your career is something that just sort of happens to you--usually just about the time you think you\'re not going to make it, there it is...you have one.

    Start cultivating the relationships with your peers. You are young and talented, and the LAST thing you should do right now is worry about having a career. Sitting behind a computer all day is work for old men like me, not young bucks like you!! Worry about going to school and learning everything you can. Get involved with theater, do some sound design, find people your age who are doing indie films, play in pit orchestras...don\'t worry about the money. Make relationships.

    These are the building blocks that ensure that when you\'re in your 30s and 40s, the work will come to your door.

    I\'d suggest playing in rock or pop bands. Become an expert at playing at least one instrument that is in the standard rock/pop rhythm section, and get your name and face in the paper. Go to art openings and meet everybody in the room. Find out who the movers and shakers are in your community, and start moving in those circles. Don\'t ask for anything, don\'t troll for work or gigs, just put yourself out there and press the flesh. Always take more beer to parties than you\'ll drink, and leave it there when you go. Wear shirts that button. Make sure any chick you\'re shagging comes at least ten times before you\'re spent. These things get you remembered.

    Always try to give more than you promise. If something doesn\'t work out, and you have a chance to make it right later, make it DOUBLE right. These things get you trusted.

    This is how you get work without asking for it. Talent has something to do with it, but talent is a given. Talent is the lowest common denominator in this biz...you don\'t even get through the door without it. But the reason people work with one talented person over another is simple: They like hanging out with that person. In the final analysis, that is what gets you jobs.

    It\'s who you know. And that is not a bad thing. When it\'s your turn, you\'ll be very happy that\'s the way it works.

  10. #10

    Re: OT: How do YOU find comissions?


    Thank you for the very insightful response! It seems to me then, I am going about things correctly. I do wear button down shirts and probably take more beer than I can drink at parties, haha! I am a composition major, in my second year, I haven\'t really learned much yet that I haven\'t already taught myself before I even got to college, but that\'s always how it goes.

    As I figure it, a great place to start looking for prospects in the future if you WANT to try to turn it into a career is to look for the up-and-coming game designers, or film makers, or whathaveyou. I have a friend with an absolutely beautiful singing voice, and I guarantee she\'ll need a songwriter later on. I have a friend who has brilliant ideas for video games, and is beginning to produce them - and they look VERY professional, too. I have a friend who is an immensely talented composer, who works with composer Michael Giacchino. In fact, I spent 10 days of the summer with them out in California! And except for my friend with the beautiful singing voice, these are alliances I have made on the Internet - which I think is just so cool. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] He even gave me all the Medal of Honor scores all signed and everything.

    But you are all right - I don\'t want to set my goals on film, although it is what I want and I do plan to (somehow) make my money through composition. But it seems that for any composer, it\'s absolutely not just talent, but also who you know. So what you all are saying, BASICALLY is, you want to make as many connections as you can.

    This letter has no real purpose, it is just a brief review and summary of the thread so far. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    Thanks everybody.

    So then - what kinds of projects do you all actually get? Do you have any stories about projects you acquired and \"who you knew\" to get them? I love \"right-place-right-time\" stories!


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