• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Topic: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Hi, my name is Jon and Iíve lurked here for a while and am in need of some opinions. It seems that many people here are composing for TV & films and thatís what Iíd like to do too. Iím completing my college degree next month and I want to change course from my degree studies. My degree is in music education and Iím currently at the end of my internship, teaching high school band and orchestra. Itís been mentioned that I could probably get a trial one year contract at the school where Iím teaching now, if I wanted to. Teaching has been a wonderful experience, but Iím getting cold feet thinking about signing a contract and committing my life to teaching, right out of college. Iíve always been a movie buff and analyzed soundtracks to films at least as much as the music Iíve studied. I wrote the music for a student film, which I conducted and recorded as well as performed in. This experience gave me the tingles compared to teaching, even though the film was, by all standards, down right bad. The question in my mind is, how do I get into the business. Iíve talked to counselors and compostition majors about this and the most common response has been that, ďyou have to be born into itĒ. I canít buy that. Iíve read this forum and many others and there has been a lot of suggestions about sending demos to directors and producers as well as making connections at the college level and trying to get student films to score. I can do that, but how does this translate to being in the business? I have a writer friend who has written scripts for films that have had theatrical releases and he says his world is all preproduction and he never has even met anyone on the post or music side of films, so he wouldnít know who to introduce me to.
    Since most of you are already working in the business, can you offer any insights of how to get in?
    Thanks for Giving,
    jon

  2. #2

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Why don't you teach AND write for film? Chances are it'll take longer than a year to get an "in" no matter what you do.

  3. #3

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    It depends where your heart is. If you really want to get into the film/TV side, I would maybe suggest waiting a year after college to get into the teaching gig. (you'll probably want a short vacation anyway right after college, right? Then use that year to really work on a demo, make some contacts and network at your local film groupings, etc. You'll want the teaching gig so that you can live, pay your bills and to purchase all of the software/samples that you'll need. Getting into the "biz" is a lengthy road unless you are "born into it", as previously mentioned to you. Send demos to everyone! Editors, directors, producers, music supervisors, post production houses, etc..

    I also teach music but my true passion is in composing for films/TV. I've done pretty well for myself and it all has to do with your networking abilities and personality. Most of the work I get are through word of mouth and going to these networking events. Between teaching and composing, most of your time will be spent on sending demos (spec demos), emails, searching for work and the mingling. So, be prepared!!!

    About the bad movie you scored ... you never know what can turn of these. If anything, look at the experience you've gained and the contact. I had an experience(s) with a film I thought was so horrible, I had sent it back & didn't think I should waste my time with it. Well, a year later I come across it online & see that it's been picked up by an overseas distributor and is doing really well. The movie was so bad that I had to shut it off after 5 minutes. Had I kept watching, I would've seen that Pat Morita was in it and a couple of other known actors.

    Anyway, hope that info somewhat helps.
    David Bateman
    www.davidbateman.net

  4. #4

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Jon,
    Iíve been blessed with having worked with some incredibly talented writers, directors and composers during my brief tenure in this business and from my perspective thereís only one way to climb the ladder to scoring drama. Working with composers that are working in films and TV. Though the exception stories are the most quoted, like the director who heard an artists album and wants to have a score that sounds like that or the composer who met a producer at the coffee counter at WoolWorths, but almost all the composers that are well known now, started out by working for a composer. This is really the only way youíll get to know what itís like ďin the trenchesĒ. This may be an over generalization, but itís accurate.
    _Scott
    FWIW, I started out as a high school band director, right out of college, so I know exactly how you feel.

  5. #5

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Jon,

    You might want to check out my humble FAQ, as it could offer some answers to a few of your questions:

    http://nedfx.com/scoringforfilmfaq.html

    Good luck!

  6. #6

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Quote Originally Posted by spettigrew
    Jon,
    from my perspective thereís only one way to climb the ladder to scoring drama. Working with composers that are working in films and TV.
    This never occurred to me, but it makes sense now that I think about it. I think I ran over 100 names of people that stated they were working in TV and films and not one name came up with a credit. Whatís up with that anyway?
    Wait a minute; I just saw Nedís credits and read the FAQ, now Iím getting somewhere. The FAQ mirrors what Iíve read in books on the subject, so it was reassuring.
    I guess my next question is could someone suggest how I could get a job with a working composer? I would be willing to do anything to get my foot in the door.
    BTW, this is the first place on the Internet that I've found some verifiable information on this subject. Thank you all for your generous help.
    jon

  7. #7

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Netherwood
    I guess my next question is could someone suggest how I could get a job with a working composer? I would be willing to do anything to get my foot in the door.

    jon
    Easy. Call them up, tell them what you want to do and offer to volunteer.

  8. #8

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Netherwood
    Since most of you are already working in the business

    [snip]

    snicker...



    Well, there are lots of people in the forum that would like for you to think that...

    I've been in L.A. for a bit over a year, the majority of my work (indie shorts and features - some tv commercial spots) have been through people I've met personally. The interaction may have started with an email, a phone conversation, or an online chat - but in the end you've got to get a feel for the person, and that only comes through face-to-face interaction. That means that the first three rules of real estate are also the first three rules of getting work in the business: location, location, location.

    The other thing I've done is to branch out and network with filmmaking groups outside of music and post-production. You've got to find the people that will someday hire you and let them become accustomed to seeing your face and become one of the "expected personalities" on the scene. That could mean attending local film festivals in your area - to finding out which filmmakers might also be producing or directing stage work and attend - and find your way into the afterparty.

    So far my biggest gig has come from doing additional scoring work with a composer that's booked up enough to throw some of his table scraps off to me. Luckily for me, it's substantial enough to be credited, and I even get to attend the dub session at Universal Studio in the first week of December. This is all very exciting and I'm pleased that things have progressed this far, but I also have no illusions that I'm far away from making a living with music. I've developed a separate track in software development, project management and quality assurance. It provides enough income on a 9-5 gig that I can pursue the music gigs as well. If your careful and lucky, you'll be able to find the same kind of work in a teaching gig.

    My recommendation to you would be to find a way to have both and transition to full-time scoring as your skills become more in demand.

    Good luck.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  9. #9

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Thanks to everyone who offered advice to my wild eyed, star struck scheme to change careers before my career even started. I just finished my practice teaching and will get my diploma next month. YEA!! Iím back home with the folks while I see if I get the teaching job in September. Iím think Iím having a mid life crisis at 22. Whatís the appropriate score for dreams crashing into reality? The reality is, Iíve got student loans to repay and have to get a job. My dreams of becoming an influential music director are becoming a nightmare. Iíve been playing in orchestras since I was ten and most of my positive influences have been from my teachers and music directors. Since I can remember, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a member of a Philharmonic Orchestra. When I started music school, orchestras were dropping like flies due to lack of funding. I figured a degree in music education would be something to fall back on and maybe I could be a positive influence in the same way my teachers were to me and still play gigs on the side. After my internship, reality has hit hard. Iíve been to seminar after seminar with school board and administration officials to get acclimated to the reality of teaching in the public school system. The general message has been, teach if you can, but by all means donít get sued. I mean nothing has been mentioned about teaching!!! Donít touch students, donít offer personal opinions, be careful not to mention ethnicity or religion. It just goes on and on! Fine, I can deal with that, but it gets so much worse. All the spare time that I thought Iíd have to write arrangements or have extra curricular sectional rehearsals are taken up with participating in bake sales or car washes in order to raise money for instruments that are either non-existent or in serious need of repair. There goes the time for gigs. Thereís no music budget at all. Add to that, the fact that many of my students are bringing in loops of pure noise that they want to incorporate into our music productions. Granted, Iíve been away from the real world for four years, but Iíve kept up with computer and sequencing technology as best I could and use them everyday as tools. Tools, not replacements for instruments. When my roommate at school suggested I come to Northern Sounds to find composers working in the entertainment industry, I had no idea that it meant live players would be almost totally absent. I donít get it. Recording studios are practically giving away time and there are an abundance of great players not working, who would gladly perform for little money, so why is sampling taken over?? To me it seems cheaper and easier to hire and record live players, unless youíre using a full size orchestra. I managed to record almost 30 pieces while at school, for almost nothing.
    Hey, Iím sorry this turned into a rant, but Iím really trying to understand whatís going on. Iíll probably end up teaching for a year and try to find a film composer to study with if I can find the time and money. Northern Sounds has presented me with a look at a side of the coin that I never knew existed. Iíll be digesting this for a while. One more question. Iíve got nothing to do while I try to get a job teaching in September and Iíd like to study privately with a film composer in the meantime. Iím at the folksí house, which is in the Los Angeles area and would like to take some private lessons. So if anyone could recommend composers who teach, Iíd like to audition. Iíve looked into ext classes at UCLA and seminars like the Smalley one, but they seem a little bit too general. TIA.
    jon

  10. #10

    Re: Has anyone been in the trenches on a TV series or major film?

    Jon,

    Your insights into the "new" world of education are alarming. My wife's, sister and her husband both teach in Philly. The whole "don't get sued" thing is huge there. As well as the gangs, fights, even murders. I'd hate to be in a position like that. Trying to teach the few students that care while fending off the rest.

    My humble advice to you is to follow your passion. This is where you will succeed. When you love something you spend a lot of time with it. You will continue to learn and grow. Don't make the mistake of "settling" for a job that may suck the life out of you.

    On the other hand go rent the movie, "Mr. Holland's Opus" That man learned a lot along the way while teaching and still managed to write his masterpiece. (of course the kids were a tad tamer back then!)

    As cliched as it sounds "Go for it" Because, if you really love it, you'll eventually end up there anyway.

    Good luck,

    Darren

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •