I'm a classical/jazz trained composer with some experience scoring for film and multimedia. Never really sought out these types of gigs, mostly got them through friend-of-a-friend means.
Now I'm trying to put together a demo to advertise my services as a composer (locally). Not looking to make a fortune, just to work on some exciting projects, though a little extra income would be nice.
I'm doing the "demo montage" thing to show my range--from classical to jazz to "filmscore orchestral" to electronic to hip hop, etc. About 30 seconds of each style, crossfading from one to another.
I'm also including 2 or 3 full-length cues from films I've scored to show how my music can develop over time.
My main question: do I include bits of these full-length cues in the montage too? I don't want to make it look like I'm doubling up to "pad" my demo, but at the same time I'd like to include my strongest work in the montage, since I know some producers will never listen to the full-length clips.
Any other tips for putting together a demo? Right now I'm mainly looking to work with local filmmakers, although I'm interested in video games as well.
I really don't think there's any reason to do a montage type thing, in these days of CD's. I think it's just better to put the full tracks, each as a seperate track on the CD. I think the montage was more effective in the days of cassettes, when people couldn't easily fast forward to the next track. And I think an important thing to try and do is show that you can be melodic as much as possible. In these days of Garage Band and loops, showing you can do a 30 second hip hop, electronic, orchestral, etc. cue doesn't really show too much, but if you can be hooky or melodic in the genre, then you really show what you can bring to the table. Just my opinion of course.
I think your first sentence nailed the essence of demos though - you get most of your work through word of mouth and referrals. I think generally that's the way 95% of the work will continue to come, demo or no demo. Sure we have to go through the motions of sending them out, but most times the calls come from people who drop your name in some way or another.....
Part of the reason I'm doing the montage thing is to show the range of my capabilities.
-The full-length tracks are to demonstrate my "niche" -- the styles I'm especially good at creating.
-The montage is to show "what-else-I-can-do-if-you-need-it" (ability-wise and gear-wise). I haven't yet worked on a film which required an extensive hip-hop score, and I don't want to waste my time writing long, involved hip-hop track just to pad my demo--but I have written some short tracks and beats, and I'd like a producer to at least know that I *can* make that sound if he needs it. This is partly out of insecurity--when producers hear that I studied at a conservatory, I think they often assume I'm only comfortable writing for violins!
Am I thinking about this wrong?
You're right, I expect that most of my gigs will continue to come through word-of-mouth, but when that friend-of-a-friend comes to me and says "hey, can you do this?" I'd like to be able to say "sure, check this out," instead of "I probably can, give me a day or two to throw something together."
Incidentally, I don't plan to send my demo out en-masse. I want to put it on my website and keep a few copies on hand for when I meet someone. I need to get a few more small-time gigs under my belt before I invest in producing a high-end demo for serious self-promotion.