A few years from now, if you have a career as a film composer, you aren’t going to even remember how much you made or how much you lost doing your first batch of movies.
Ask successful film composers how they got started and very few will be talking about the fees they got paid or what publishing they retained on their earliest works.
They will be talking about the experiences, lessons and relationships they developed during those initial steps up the ladder of their career.
No one is ever going to ask to see your paycheck stubs. They are going to ask to see your work.
If you really think you are going to financially support yourself on your initial film scoring opportunities, you are probably wrong. If you think you are going to lose money on that first batch, you are probably right.
And the reason you would be doing this is because you are INVESTING and GAMBLING on having a career. And those investments and gambles are almost always about gaining experience, learning lessons and building relationship.
And it is almost impossible to achieve those things as a film composer unless one COMPOSES FOR FILMS!
The biggest rookie mistakes newbie composers make are:
1. Equating compensation with “value”.
2. Fixating on the tail (hypothetical back end) instead of the dog (actually scoring a film and all that potentially comes with that career-wise).
3. Listening to career advice on film music from those who do not have successful careers in film music.
No offense, but what do they know?
They are still struggling to figure out what to do for themselves. And they haven’t yet assessed it out and maybe never will.
4. Worrying about being “ripped-off” if you accidentally stumble upon a small film that becomes a big hit.
First off, that probably isn’t going to happen.
And, if under some miraculous circumstances that it does, then your real prize is that you just scored A BIG HIT and all the career opportunities that could come from that.
The subtext of all four rookie mistakes is they are created from having a lack of long term perspective.
If you really want to have a long term, successful career… get some real perspective.