Recently, one of my favorite Forum members, Kubilay Uner, threw down several great commandments on how to get work as a media composer.
They deserve their own thread, so here I share the words of this prophet, because they are so damn wise.
“First, what not to do: THIS IS NOT A JOB. You don’t get to be quarterback or running back or receiver or defensive coach or kicker for an NFL team by plastering NFL owners with emails (or worse, phone calls.) Composer on a media project is very much like that – a LOT of money and blood and sweat and tears ride on the composer’s contribution. So stop. Just stop. No cold email campaigns. Period. Stop. You are hurting yourself by wasting time, giving yourself a false sense of accomplishment, and not gaining anything. There’s a rare exception for the very targeted Hail Mary on a very specific project, but it is so rare as to be irrelevant for this discussion.”
“It’s not about you, or your checking account. Sorry, your survival is important to you, but not to the art form. So if someone is looking for a kicker and you’re a 300lb lineman, don’t apply for the kicker job. It will, make you less credible as a lineman and you will not get the kicker job anyway.”
Two things will get you work:
A. YOUR CREDITS
= visible relevant creative/artistic accomplishments mixed with happy satisfied professional relationships who can’t wait to do it again.
B. YOUR MUSIC
= audible relevant creative/artistic accomplishments that potential professional relationship just have to have a piece of in their next project – if it fits. Or else they have no use for you right now, but are intrigued by what you’re doing, and will want to keep you on their radar for the time when it does fit.
“Until you have a decent amount of credits (and even then, depending on the circumstances) you will mostly/only work with your friends. So you need a lot of friends. Go make friends. I said friends. Not people in whose hands you shove your business card. Friends. People who like being around you, who share your taste and obsessions, whom you can have long creative conversations with.
Note, this takes time. You meet, you click, you meet again, you have some beers, you meet again. You write some emails, you go see a movie together, you meet again at a festival, etc.
Friends are made over years, not weeks.”
“Have something to offer. Beyond “I can score your film.” Be honest, early in your career “I can score your film” is your ASK, not your OFFER.
Offering something is where volunteering comes in.
Be a part of the community, be a builder within that community, not just someone who wants to benefit from the community.
The Tao of networking, according to CD Baby founder Derek Sivers: It’s about them, not about you. The less you worry about you, the more you will benefit – but this only works if you *honestly not worry about you*”
“Make your work exceptional. Stunning. Amazing. Mind-blowing.
In a world of fast-food joints and sports bars, do not tout your ability to make a competent burger. Don’t make what everybody else already is making.
Find out what is needed, or could be soon, but *is in short supply*. Within that pick what you LOVE and what comes naturally to you.
Then make that. Lots of it.
And then make sure people hear about it.
Be way more critical than you are now.
Seriously none of us are hard enough on ourselves and our own work”