Five years ago I wanted an arranger/programmer to take a piano tune composed by my son when he was 16 and write and record a score for a music video I had put together for his 21st birthday party.
I wanted that person to do 21 variations of my son’s theme in the style of 21 film composers.
AND I DIDN’T WANT TO PAY FOR IT!!!!
I wanted someone to work their ass off for me on my personal project and I didn’t want to give them a dime for their hard work.
Even though I had paid lots of crew members over $100,000 on the documentary this originally came from, I decided to allocate no money to the composer working on this piece.
I had just started to know Austin as a passionate film music nerd and had heard some clever arrangements he had done. I liked him.
Without an ounce of guilt I asked him to spend about a week or two on this project, including tons of back-and-forth notes. And I asked him to do it FOR FREE!
You would have to ask Austin why he said yes to doing it.
You would have to ask him what other forms of “compensation” he was getting out of it.
All I can tell you, is from my end, I LOVED what he did.
We became close friends. We have subsequently helped each other out on all sorts of other projects. My agency now represents him. We now make lots of money and have lots of fun together.
And I just hired him to do a big arrangement for my upcoming LITTLE MERMAID concert at the Hollywood Bowl. And this time he’s getting paid!
If you would like to hear Austin’s incredible film composer parodies (and guess which scores he is referencing), here is the video. The first 1:57 seconds is the piano piece written and performed by my son when he was 16. Austin’s Themes and Variations start right after that.