Work for free until you're valuable enough to someone that you get paid.
Originally Posted by The Zas
I know all of the run of the mill stuff, "make lots of contacts," etc. etc., but it'd be good to hear advice from real people.
There is no "run of the mill stuff". Everyone who makes it here does so on their own schedule and budget and in their own special way. Useful advice has the shelf life of the average cup of coffee, because everyone comes from a different place and is heading in a unique direction. My advice to you - if it's truly your passion - stop looking for advice and just do it.
You need two years of hard work.
Read every book of film think.
Read the news paper, you have to talk talk talk.
Every day you have to try to get one contct.
Make any film you can get, dont think on money.
Everyday you have to compose a little peace of music.
Work on your showreel, prospect, web site etc.
After two years and losing lots of friends your will be with lots of luck in there...
You can make it.
I have done it like this!
Making contacts is probably the biggest thing. I'm just starting college, but before I became so busy I was writing online game scores. This, of course, is nothing compared to film scoring, but I was making contacts right and left, and after they heard demos, I was getting more offers than I could handle. Pretty soon it moved on to the top amateur MMORPG available (IMHO, because it was all but professional, and the quality was fantastic...but unfortunately it shut down due to disagreements )
Don't just make contacts. Make use of your contacts. Keep your relationship with them alive, and soon they'll recommend you to whoever they're working with, and so on and so forth.
Might be run-of-the-mill, but it's the only way to do it. That's how all of the greats got to be known as great.