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Topic: Long Distance Scoring Work?

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  1. #1

    Long Distance Scoring Work?

    It seems as thought there are quite a few working composers on this forum, which is awesome. I'm wondering how difficult it is to do scoring long distance - meaning not in LA. I'm sure that most of the big-time work is all going on there and most composers are there, but what about the rest of us? Are directors willing to work with composers that aren't there in person? What about indie films and TV work, are many people getting work and FTP'ing or FedEx'ing your files to the director? Or is it few and far between if you're not in LA, or maybe NYC?

    Thanks!

    buzz

  2. #2

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    Definitely possible. Though I live and work in L.A., I've done several TV shows that were produced (including post production) out of town. It's not that big a deal as far as the mechanics go. I'm even considering moving out of town in a few years.

    But the hard part is the schmooze factor. Getting a gig with an out of town client means someone already knows you or else you got some roundabout referral. Definitely possible to get gigs, but in L.A., there are more opportunities. My first gig, for instance, was a Hot Wheels commercial I got because the director was one of the regulars in our weekly poker game.

    That's the big advantage to L.A. Next week for example, I'm going to a premeire party for a TV show I did for Showtime. I'm going because I can schmooze with my existing clients, plus hopefully meet new clients.

    - Mike Greene

  3. #3

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    I'm currently working on two huge game scores for a UK company, while living in Denmark. Its entirely possible for game work. Possible, but slightly harder for filmwork. You and the director really need to be on the same page

  4. #4

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    It's possible. I just finished a film for a director in town, but we never met in person until I delivered the final tracks. I got the gig through networking. It definitely takes extra effort when communicating to ensure clarity form both sides. There may be difficulty in becoming established from a distance.

    I've heard some director horror stories about long distance composers. Some are reluctant to try it again once they are burned.

    Best of luck to you.

  5. #5

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    One situation where long distance (especially online) works poorly is if your contact is a flake. For all you know, they canned the project, but forgot to tell you about it.

    I had a hobby situation where I was going to score an animated short for a student in Toronto - a friend of a friend. He put his project off until the last minute, then the hard drive ate his homework.

    Fortunately, I only spent a couple of evenings working out quick cues to find out what mood he was looking for. I made it clear that I wouldn't do any more scoring until I got the final video. We kept in touch for a couple of weeks, then I never heard from him again. The common friend told me that a week from the deadline his hard drive failed, and he lost all his work. Whatever.

    I'm just glad that I was firm about doing no more than a few test cues (which were good practice anyway). Had I done a lot of work, or if this was to be a paying gig that would lead to me to turn down other gigs, I'd not be happy.

    And I guess it goes without saying that it's no good if the composer is flakey either. Being hyper responsive, up front and responsible helps keep online relationships healthy. (This is from the experience of managing long distance, international technical development projects.)

    -JF

  6. #6

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    Most of my gigs are in the game industry these days, but my three biggest clients are in New York, California and New Zealand. - Im in Australia.

    I think trust is trust and building a relationship with your client is relevant wherever you are. Your work and your ability to stick to deadlines will speak of you in a professional capacity.

    Mike is right though in that it can be harder finding and landing the clients initially. My suggestion would be to travel to film festivals and strike up relationships there.
    ---------------------------
    - SCA - Sound Studios -
    www.sca-soundstudios.com
    ---------------------------

  7. #7

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    [QUOTE=Scott Cairns] I think trust is trust and building a relationship with your client is relevant wherever you are. Your work and your ability to stick to deadlines will speak of you in a professional capacity.
    What Scott said. I'm in NYC but have clients in Boston and the UK. I have great ongoing relationships with some people I've never met in person.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    [QUOTE=rob morsberger]
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Cairns
    I think trust is trust and building a relationship with your client is relevant wherever you are. Your work and your ability to stick to deadlines will speak of you in a professional capacity.
    What Scott said. I'm in NYC but have clients in Boston and the UK. I have great ongoing relationships with some people I've never met in person.
    Rob,

    how did you start relationships with the distance clients you work for? What industry are they in?

    Thanks,

    Christiaan

    By the way, this is a very interesting thread for me! Thanks for starting it buzz and thanks everyone for answering.

  9. #9

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    Hi Christaan,
    the Boston work is documentary film scoring. I got lucky years ago sending out a pretty terrible reel to lots of producers I didn't know. One reputable guy hired me and used me for all his projects. That opened the door to other film projects but it took a long time.
    The English stuff is actually songwriting work. Again a lucky thing where I just emailed the company blind and ended up getting hired. It helped that I had lots of experience and credits already in that particular field, educational textbooks (!).
    In both cases, I ftp all my work and no one thinks twice about it.

    Good luck,
    Rob

  10. #10

    Re: Long Distance Scoring Work?

    ...but actually, I think Mike already mentioned the key essential factor:
    poker.

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