I was asked to give salary/payment requirements for providing the theme music and scoring for a new animated show being produced out of the country. I have absolutely no idea what the standard, low, high and peanuts rates are for that. I want to come in somewhere between low and standard, considering my experience is limited. My wife is thinking that $1,200 or so per episode is probably a reasonable starting point, but I really have no idea, and I'm not sure if the theme itself might have its own license structure apart from the individual episode scoring.
I'm waiting to hear back as far as what their specific episode commitment is, but in the meantime can anyone give me some basic guidelines from your experiences? If you don't want to share what you may have made publically, then please PM me or e-mail to eric(at)butter-dog.com
Continue to check around. I suggest you contact some 'legal' source for a few of some of the basics. Packages can be created ( and carved up ) an infinite number of ways.
A lot depends on who gets the publishing rights. If you are a part of this pool, than much of your income can come from residuals/re-runs over the years, and you can keep the initial costs on the low side. If you have to give up the publishing on the theme, at least get as much of the underscore publishing as possible ( joint or split or co publishing )
Exclusively owning the publishing rights = VERY highly unlikely
Splitting the publishing rights = a negotaiting talking point ( probably not )
Giving up your publishing rights ( while retaining your composer rights ) = more likely and common
Are you offering the producer a package ? ( one price takes care of it all ).
Is the show 30 min or 60 min ? ( an important factor )
$1,200 seems absolutely too low ( if you are offering composer only services ), and completly out of range if you are offering a package deal unless you are already independently wealthy ).
The ongoing residuals and royalties are more important than the immediate fees for initially composing and recording. That is where your focus needs to be.
Thanks for the advice, atonal. The $1,200 was per episode. Does that still seem absolutely too low? I know John Keane doing an episode of C.S.I. or Alf Clausen scoring an episode of The Simpsons is probably an extra zero, at least, but this is Shazbot doing an as yet unknown animated series, so... ??
This is by no means a done deal, but they liked my sample demos (I'll see if I can post them at some point) and apparently I'm on the short list of people they're interested in.
There is a lot of room between $1,200 and $ 12,000
Animated segments are loaded with music ( lots of busy notes ), so a 30 min animated segment is probably just as demanding to write as a 60 min segment of live/film TV ( 20 minnutes of underscore music is still 20 minutes of underscore music, irregardless if it is poured into 30 minutes or 60 minutes of air-time. ). At the end of a week, you are just as exhausted doing either.
Research the production company ( and or the producer ).
Find out what this production company has done in the past, and check the ASCAP or BMI catalogue for the production company activity.
I realize this is your first time out of the gate; however, have at least a working idea or game plan in mind as to how you intend to fullfill ( and deliver ) this assignment. When and if you finally talk to these people, you'll want it to be a negotiation, not a consession or submission. Remember, there is 'music, and there is 'the music business'. Try to keep them seperate and each in its own focus. Explaining how you wrote the bridge using just suspended 4th chords will probably get you no more leverage ( or admiration )than playing a violin underwater.
Good luck !! It's a great career, once you make it past the first 80 years.