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Topic: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

  1. #1

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

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    It\'s a bit of catch 22 situation really. As far as I know, the projects I have/I am working on are un-profit related. I know it\'s probably an oft discussed question, but how should I go about getting paid work? Should I get more experiance with unpaid jobs or is there another way?

  2. #2

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    If there\'s a commercial potential for the work, then you should arrange a \"like\" payment scheme so if they get paid - you get a cut.

    Also, be sure that you register your work with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI) so that if it goes on TV (short films played on Bravo and other cable channels) then you can submit a cue sheet and receive royalty credit there.

  3. #3

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?


    In an ideal world you should make it your business to KNOW if anyone is making any profit from a project! Has anything you\'ve done been broadcast or been used in any public performance?

  4. #4

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    The two short films I have scored have been shown at a festival, the other three are going to be portfolio pieces for all involved. All of these have been through \"Shooting People\". My original plan was to get 5 short films in my resume then try to get an agent - does this sound realistic?

  5. #5

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    I don\'t see why not. Nothing ventured... !!!!

  6. #6

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    Thanks for your help guys. Also, thsnks for the advice on the ASCAP/BMI thing Houston - I\'ll definately look into this. Cheers, Doug.

  7. #7

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    Well, there\'s a long standing tradition of people playing music for nothing or almost nothing in the hopes of getting recognized. (The Grateful Dead used to play for free in San Francisco parks when they were getting started, as did Jefferson Airplane. And of course The Dead has always let people record their concerts, and bootlegs are widely available, even at Borders. The most profitable rock and roll band, according to Time magazine a few years back? The Dead.)

    On the other hand, I worry that film is a more commercial endeavor, largely because it\'s so expensive a medium--you may not hope to make a lot of money, but just breaking even means you need as many people or festival judges to see it as possible. Of course this may be changing, with digital camcorders getting better and less expensive. When every film student can carry around a good video camera and then go home to his or her dorm to \"view the rushes,\" a lot of scores are going to be needed, and there may be more and more requests for musicians who can do it for little or nothing at first.

    Yes, yes, be sure there\'s an agreement that if they make money, you receive a share. Film festivals offer awards, as I\'m sure you know, and you should ask for a percentage of any awards before agreeing to sign on. Music is very important to the film.

    Be sure you receive a big credit on screen--as in several seconds of just your name on the screen as the composer for the score. And any promotional material for the film should list you as the composer and credit you for whatever else you did. Did you write and perform the music? If others were involved, be sure to list the band and who played what instruments, at the least. (You\'ll end up writing this yourself and giving it to them to include.)

    You could also ask that any promotional material for the film list any CD\'s you\'ve recorded, and include your website URL. Many younger film makers (I write fiction but have studied with film makers)will show up at viewings of their own films with nothing to give the audience--they just sit and watch from the front row--but I\'ve seen a few who bring in fliers listing credits and telling the story of the film. It seems like a good idea to me--if done in the right spirit,without seeming pushy or desperate, it gives the audience information and helps them retain the name of the film and the people working on it.

    If you have a CD out or create one, you can also cross-reference the films on any CD covers or inserts, and include material from the films on the CD, which may lead people to see them. Hell, now you can include the films.

    The good side of all this is not just what goes on the resume--I hope you\'ll go to the festivals and showings and invite people you know. You\'ll meet other composers and film makers there, and I\'d imagine that you\'ll learn a lot, and get your name around. Best of luck to you. Don\'t do it for free too long.

  8. #8

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    I once read that David Arnold scored (I cant remember the exact number but it was over 10) films before he got his first paid one. I think the most important thing is to be passionate about the actual scoring craft and not to focus upon the wealth that it could or could not bring (although, as said, there comes a point when one should put a value upon his/her art).

  9. #9

    Re: Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    Actually I have heard the same story but the way I heard it was that Dave lost money on each project. He got paid but would go to the trouble of calling in live players, even on low budget projects.

    His statement; \"You should never, ever apologise for your music\" has stuck with me, make it perfect (as possible) and go the extra mile. - I can certainly relate to that! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Unpaid jobs - good or not so good?

    Can anyone offer any experiance of unpaid work? I myself am trying to get into the industry as a working composer and have over the last 4 months written the music for 2 short films and am currently working on 3 more - all of which are unpaid. Whenever anyone asks me (who works in an office or something un-music related) how much I am getting paid I tell them it is to \"gain experience\" or to \"get contacts\". Their response is normally derogatory, they can\'t believe I\'m not getting paid for working. Does anyone else have to battle this, and also, am I doing the right thing? Thanks, Doug.

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