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Topic: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

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  1. #1
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    Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Just curious......


    Most people talk about the high budget stuff, but what about the lower?

    I'm starting to go up for stuff in this range so I'm wondering what to expect. I "DO" plan on landing one of these things.

    Thanks for any info

    KID-

  2. #2

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    yeh, i wrote about it before but currently i am doing music for this movie here: www.kampfansage.de

    the budget is around 300.000€ and i think rising. compared to $ it could be the same, something a little bit under 500.000$

  3. #3

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Hey Jayson,

    I did one that was under 500,000 total budget at the end of last year. Can't tell you much about getting the gig 'cause the director found me and asked if I was interested. I don't expect that to happen often! Unusual to get something without hustling. Music budget was about 2.5% of the total budget. That seemed high percentage-wise but it varies greatly. It just premiered at the Cinevegas festival in Vegas. It was awarded the jury's Honorale Mention award. Whatever that means! Website is www.mitchellvillethemovie.com

    Good luck in the hunt!

    -matt

  4. #4
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    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Thanks for the info guys!

    What's up Matt!

    Thanks man, ya I'm not really looking for the "how to get jobs" info really. Thanks be to god (or whoever ) that my wife is able to be a tremendous resource in that area. For which I am EXTREMELY grateful! As of late she's really gotten behind me and started, uh, sort of "representing" me in a sense (not officially or anything close). But she's been putting me in touch with some really good people, people that have asked me to submit stuff. People that deal with films in the budgets i've mentioned, some a bit higher. Don't know if I have a shot in hell at getting any of the higher low budget jobs, but I might as well try. I just have a feeling I'm going to get something 'significant' (in my world ) soon....

    So that's where I'm at... pretty much hustling it at this point.

    I'll check out that flick Matt, hopefully there's a link to the music somewhere.

    Just wondering what experiences you've all had with films in the lower budget.... ( people/companies that are legit/known in the industry).

    Yeah things like...

    1) budget for music you guys see... (in this lower budget)

    2) sampled vs live instrumentation... at what point does the budget "call" for mostly live instruments?

    3) other things I may not have considered when doing micro budget stuff...

    4) etc. whatever comes to mind.......

    Thanx!




    KID-

  5. #5

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Good topic, Kid-Surf. I was about to make a topic like this, myself.

  6. #6

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Jayson,

    Yeah, you totally have the "hook-up" with your wife's position as an agent. Definitely use it.

    Budgets will run from nothing to deferred to 5k, 10k, 20k, 30k-100k. It really depends on how they previously spent their money, how many songs they want to license, how important they feel the music is to the film, & how well you (or your agent) sell them on your need for x amount of dollars.

    Sampled vs live? If you want to make the music as good as it can be, you should always try to include some live elements. Sometimes you have to fight for the money to do it. If the gig is important and you don't care about making much money, blow most of your budget on players. It's almost always worth it. In Mitchellville, the only sampled element in the score is the B290 piano. The rest was real flute, cello, & violin. A sparse score. It was the right vibe for the film thugh and allowed me a non-sampled score without blowing the budget.

    So much just depends on the situation & common sense. The type of music, the budget, turn around time, what you want from the score, what they want from the score, & how much money you want to make. Players always make you look good though. Just don't forget the costs associated with the players. You may need a place to record them depending on how many you are recording (studio cost & possibly engineer cost), music prep (if the turn around time is tight or if you don't have enough experience with preparing music you may need to hire someone to help), extra time needed to mix.

    Thats what I can think of at the moment. Hope it helps!

    -matt

  7. #7

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Just on the topic of live vs. sampled, don't forget that these require two very skillsets. Being able to nuance CCs is not the same as being able to communicate with players and being able to communicate with players is not the same as being able to give a good MIDI performance. Remember to spend some time working on whichever skill is appropriate for the project or you might find yourself in a difficult situation.

    I agree that good players, playing music that lies well on the instrument, that is recorded well and that springs from good communication between the composer and players or the composer to the conductors to the players will always sound better than the sampled alternative. :-) But all it takes is for one part to break down and it could all go to hell.

    I'm not going to mention what project it was, but there was a project I did where the soloist's failuire to adequately prepare and my failuire to adequately emphasize the need for drama during rehearsals resulted in a recording that was MUCH worse than my mock-up. The performer involved was also quite skilled and usually did a great job so I'm just saying that you need to keep all the variables in mind.

  8. #8

    Post Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Quote Originally Posted by kid-surf
    Just curious......


    Most people talk about the high budget stuff, but what about the lower?

    I'm starting to go up for stuff in this range so I'm wondering what to expect. I "DO" plan on landing one of these things.

    Thanks for any info

    KID-
    Hi KID,

    In my experience, music budgets typically range from 1 to 3% of the film's total budget, oftentime including the licensing of songs which if you don't already know, will invariably eat away large portions of the music budget leaving the composer with a substantially reduced fee.

    Working out an "all-in" deal versus negotiating your fee and additional musician costs etc. really depends on a case to case basis. In the case of an all-in deal, it is obviously very important to have an accurate handle on how much all the various components of the score will cost or else you may find yourself paying out more than you are keeping. This is of course unless you have all the costs accurately documented and researched and then you base an all-in deal on this information.

    In the independent film world, how much in the way of rights a composer retains and how much of a percentage, if any, of the film's receipts in various territories the composer receives again depends on your relationship with the film makers and what they are willing to concede to. As with all situations, it is very much in your interest to retain as much as is possible.

    As far as the MIDI versus live conversation, this really has to do with budget and your own instincts as to the needs of the score. Quite obviously live musicians bring a certain organic dynamic that NO sample will ever replace, no matter how good a sample gets, however depending on the score, you may in some instances choose against the use of live musicians. In the end, great music that the film-makers approve of helping you to further your relationships and create new ones is the goal. A mediocre live score does not weigh against an excellent MIDI one. I have spoken with composers who felt so strongly about a particular project, it's needs and the potential for the project to help their career, that they have spent every last penny of their fee to hire a live orchestra. You may find yourself in a similar situation making a similar decision.

    The bottom line for any composer in the independent film world is the hope that it will help propel their careers toward the limelight and feature films. To this end, it is most important to create and nurture successful realationships and to write the best and most suitable music, no matter the genre or instrumentation, to the best of one's capabilities to benefit the film. Oh and try not to sell yourself short in the process.

    Hope this helps...

    Kaveh

  9. #9
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    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Just wanted to stop by to say thanks for the thought out replies. I'm kinda busy at the moment but have more to add in a bit.


    Anyone else got anything to add? I feel like there's a few more seasoned guys here that ain't speaking up.


    Oh, Matt. Heard a bit of the music on the site for that film, sounds good! Where'd you record it, and who were the players if I may ask. Can I ask you what the cost was to you, did you dip into your fee to go live?



    I also have a more specific question regarding orchestras: What I should have referred to was orchestras. At what point in the budget does it become mandatory that you use a real orchestra. 20 mil? 30? Do you know what I mean? But yeah, I'm definitely trying to incorporate more live players where i can. I'm just curious to know at what point does the orchestral mock up go completely out the window.... at what typical budget?


    As well, what typically would the budget be to make 100k? or even 50k? I've done some stuff on the lower end, as well as deferred (and free). But i'm curious about the 50k to 100k jobs... well even 30.

    Let's say I'm doing a film for 1 mil (which i haven't yet, but am in the process of trying to land a specific film as we speak) what should I feel "comfortable" asking for? Any opinions? What would be considered typical or "safe".....?

    thanks for any further info regarding whatever comes to mind......


    KID-

  10. #10

    Re: Anyone here doing films in the 1/2 mil to 13 range?

    Hello,

    I'm not a heavy hitter, but have done a few projects in the 1/2 to 1 Mil range.

    These would be my thoughts...

    1) In this price range you will likely provide an 'all in' quote. In other words...'drop off the finished tracks at the post session and don't bother me with the details...' This means you will have to account for all your possible roles such as composer, orchestrator, copyist, contractor, player, mixer, pizza guy, etc. before you even factor in the outside help.

    2) Don't quote a price without some sort of spotting session...even if it's on an early rough cut. You can really get burned when you set your budget and then get asked for something crazy after the fact. I was once requested to cover several big band dance cues because they found the rights were far more than they had anticipated...and could I do it as a freebie...and pay for the 15 or so musicians...and the session. You will ***ALWAYS*** have to write extra cues but you don't want a nightmare on your hands.

    3) From that spotting session you should have a rough idea of the number of minutes of music and the orchestration...so do the math.

    a) Budget for the number of top level professional players you will require...the tracking will go very quickly if you are organized, and the results will speak for themselves.

    b) Calculate your studio time...you will need to estimate the number of outside studio sessions that will be necessary. In this price range you can forget the orchestra (unless the producer is nuts) so you're basically dealing with featured instruments/players likely augmented with your midi/sampled tracks. You may or may not be able to record 'in house' depending on your gear and setup.

    c) Calculate your own time. Scoring a 4 minute string quartet will take a lot longer than 4 minutes of loops + synths + guitar overdubs so your time will be dependant on your orchestration. $250.00 to $500.00 for each minute of music might be in the ball park, but remember this is the music business so rates can range from 0 to outlandish. You will need to know how many minutes of music you can write per day in a variety of styles.

    4) Try not to give anything away for free...as in '...my buddy is an awesome drummer and I'll get him to do the tracks as a favour...'

    5) Try to keep your publishing rights...or at least ask for a portion.

    6) Personally , I try to sell the director/producer on using as many real players as possible (depending on the style of music of course) and work backwards from that. I'll suggest something like...'this would sound great with a simple evolving pad and a slowly building tabla track...' indicating that hiring an actual tabla player would make the track come to life...makes your job more rewarding and easier to boot!

    Cheers,
    arrangeit

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