Just as Tin Pan Alley tunesmiths living largely behind-the-scenes lead to performing singer-songwriting stars, future media composers are increasingly going to be multi-disciplined artists and showmen/women.
I think we are still in the pioneering days of where all of this will lead. I’m excited to be working hand-and-hand with my clients in pushing new boundaries of what is possible.
From a creative point of view, I am wildly excited and honored to be able to play in these new sandboxes.
2. OVER THE YEARS YOU HAVE NEGOTIATED AND CLOSED THOUSANDS OF DEALS. HAS THE BUSINESS IN GENERAL OR THE BUSINESS OF ‘CLOSING THE DEAL’ CHANGED AT ALL?
In many ways it is exactly the same.
Negations are always about working towards the best interests of your clients. Doing so requires having a healthy and respectful relationship with those on the other side of the bargaining table.
The starting point has always been, “What is my client trying to achieve?” The answers vary from client to client and project to project.
I approach things from a long-term career perspective. No one deal or deal point defines a career. I like playing the long game.
I love the great deal of flexibility and creativity that media composing negotiations can involve. Nowadays, there are more variables within dealmaking than in the past which was more limited and cut-and-dry.
I suppose I like composing deals much like a musician loves composing music.
3. THERE IS A BIG DEBATE GOING AMONG COMPOSERS ABOUT DEMOING FOR PROJECTS AND/OR WORKING FOR FREE. SOME CONSIDER BOTH AS ANATHEMAS, SOME OTHERS DO NOT. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON THIS DEBATE?
My take is that it isn’t a debate.
It’s a personal choice for each composer to make for themselves on a case-by-case basis.
I tend to represent awesomely talented composers who have a great deal of confidence in their abilities.
Many of them welcome the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do, especially if their past work doesn’t necessarily show that in certain genres or mediums or level of project.
It is always a gamble, but many composers take the risk if they think the reward of winning is worth it.
As far as working for “free,” I don’t even know what that means.
Is working for publishing working for free?
Is working for backend bonuses working for free?
Is working for relationships, experiences or credits working for free?
Is working to cross over into new genres, mediums or caliber of projects working for free?
Is working for creative expression or passion for a project working for free?
Defining “Working for free” is up to each individual composer.
Electing to do so or not is a personal choice for each composer to make for themselves on a case-by-case basis.
4. ONCE A COMPOSER SIGNS WITH AN AGENT, IS THAT COMPOSER GUARANTEED A CONSTANT STREAM OF WORK, SOLELY COMING FROM THE AGENT?
Agents are not magicians pulling rabbits out of their hat.
Composer reps are partners in the process of landing work. It requires time, thought and energy to successfully mount the mission of landing work.
Composers and their agents need to work together in brainstorming and executing their job acquisition campaigns.
Also, like with anything, the quality of agents is varied and wide.
5. DO YOU THINK THAT PACKAGE DEALS ARE PREVALENT THESE DAYS? SOME FOLKS CONSIDER THEM AN ABOMINATION!
Personally, I am not a fan of package deals.
My clients always want the highest quality for their scores, and packages typically work to their disadvantage since they will spend what they feel the score needs, even if it cuts into their own profits.
On the other hand, I can see the value to some composers in controlling the purse strings of their projects.
With both things said, packages are part of the landscape of deal structures. Bitching about them does not change that.
Instead, I try to use the clout and leverage of my clients who don’t want to package to try to create a different structure. And when doing a package, I work hard to negotiate them in ways that best benefit my clients.