I give many lectures around the country and the questions I receive boil down to three core questions:
- how do I get a scoring job?
- how do I jump a level up to better opportunities?
- how do I get decision-makers to listen to my demo?
Through my experience, I will answer the first question of how a composer gets a career-propelling job.
I decided to make this Excel chart showing:
- who referred me for each job
- why it was a milestone for me
- what was the year I met the person who referred me and
- what was the year the opportunity presented itself
- where that job lead to, after it was delivered (with flying colors).
Every big, career-changing job that lead to a “quantum leap” upwards came to me via a referral. One hundred percent of them.
Each person who referred me had known me for time period ranging from a few months to 6-10 years. Compare the years in the 2 columns – Year of the job versus Year when I met the person who referred me.
Each person had known my music very well and had watched me grow through the ranks: through my scoring jobs (big and small), through my orchestration jobs and helping others, and through my passion projects (the CDs I released). Once a year I email short “updates” with 1-2 major releases and links to the music, along with rave reviews, if applicable. Each person has watched my growth over a decade and my insane commitment to cultivate my talent and skills.
I have given pro bono my existing music and stems (from the CDs) to a few people to use in their own passion projects (ranging from graphic novels-turned-to-shorts, to trailers, to docs, to concept presentations).
I have invited a few people to attend my scoring sessions in Los Angeles.
One senior composer who’s had the most life- and career-changing role in my life even watched my SyFy Channel monster movies (which are not on this chart….).
I had met a few people at big industry functions and events (such as GDC or GameSoundCon), and have stayed in touch over the years. But I also offered to be helpful to them (with my services as orchestrator, or collegial advice, or making introductions for them). I always paid attention to their own success, growth, struggles, passions and everything. I’ve helped a few composer friends with arranging services for their demos.
Above all, I am committed to continued growth as a composer and artist. The recent scoring jobs and relationships came to me because of my passion projects – orchestral CDs that got released worldwide on major labels.
Notice that a few jobs on this list (but not all) came via recommendations and vetting by my Agent – 4 jobs total (1 film and 3 games – the big studio jobs). For the rest of the jobs I was recommended by senior composer-mentors, composer-peers, friends, producers – members of the communities I’ve worked so hard to build over 18 years.
Three things matter in our careers:
- the strength of our music,
- the strength of our relationships and
- our healthy attitudes towards everything and everyone.
In other words:
- how much our music inspires the others to use it;
- how much our personality inspires the others to trust us with their creations, and • how much our energy enlightens and helps all.