SURVEY… HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK COMPOSER MINIMUMS WOULD NEED TO BE TO QUALIFY FOR NOT “WORKING FOR FREE?”

 

There has been a lot of talk that composers shouldn’t work for free.

But what specially does that mean?

Technically, paying a composer a penny means they aren’t working for free. But that probably isn’t what they have in mind.

So, if it isn’t a penny, is it a dollar? $10? $100? $1,000? $100,000? $1,000,000?

IF you are an advocate of the premise that composers should always be paid, and a penny doesn’t qualify, how much DO you believe composers need to be paid, at a minimum, to qualify as to having NOT worked for free?

Since not all films are at the same level and not all composers have the same amount of experience, let’s come up with 8 different variables to use in this survey. They are:

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1. SHORT FILM/NON-COMMERCIAL FILM with 10 minutes of score.
Composer works for 2 weeks.
(Film’s Overall Budget: $40k)
a. Composer who has scored 0-9 of these sorts of films
b. Composer who has scored 10+ of these sorts of films

2. SMALL FILM WITH LIMITED RELEASE with 60 minutes of score.
Composer works for 10 weeks.
(Film’s Overall Budget: $500k)
a. Composer who has scored 0-9 of these sorts of films
b. Composer who has scored 10+ of these sorts of films

3. LOW BUDGET FILM WITH DECENT DISTRIBUTION with 60 minutes of score.
Composer works for 10 weeks.
(Film’s Overall Budget: $10 million)
a. Composer who has scored 0-9 of these sorts of films
b. Composer who has scored 10+ of these sorts of films

4. REGULAR BUDGET FILM WITH REGULAR DISTRIBUTION with 60 minutes of score.
Composer works for 10 weeks.
(Film’s Overall Budget: $50 million)
a. Composer who has scored 0-9 of these sorts of films
b. Composer who has scored 10+ of these sorts of films

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For all of these, assume the following:

There is no publishing/ownership of Masters available. (You still get writers share).

No backend bonuses or deferments are available

The deal is a straight creative fee.

Recording costs are NOT included as they are paid by the production separately. This includes musicians, orchestrators, copyists, engineers, Music editors, Studios and mixers.

These are films made in the U.S.

 

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Under all of these conditions, how much do you believe the MINIMUMS to qualify for NOT WORKING FOR FREE would need to be for:

1a
1b
2a
2b
3a
3b
4a
4b

I am not asking how much would be fair or ideal or suitable.

Asking how much would be the floor, in your mind, to qualify as to not working for free.

That means an amount UNDER what you are suggesting would NOT qualify. It means you would advocate rejecting the job as it would equate to, by your definition, working for free.

Please provide figures for all eight variables. (Please don’t bring up any of the umpteen billion other scenarios that could exist. Trying to limit this to 8 apples so they can be compared to 8 apples later).

Please list a dollar amount, not a percentage.

Will be interest to read the different perspectives on this.