PUT YOURSELF IN SOMEONE ELSE’S SHOES!

Hi everyone – I wanted to say thank you Miriam Mayer for setting up this truly helpful resource as I just finished a nearly 4-hour orchestral score with help I found here, so thank you, Miriam! 👍🏻😁

Next, just some hopefully helpful and friendly advice – Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes!

I was a little shocked to receive almost 100 applications within 48 hours of the ad, but I was also blown away by the levels of talent. There were some incredible composers – from all over the world – many with decades of experience. I tried to go through as many as I could, but found that dozens of applications sent me on a wild goose chase to find files – the most common error being a link that took me to a google page that said “access denied” or “you must sign in to receive access.” Other times I would download a .zip labeled “download” or “googledrive9844664”, or a file directory where I would need to figure out which files should be downloaded, etc.

My ad asked for a resume, audio score sample and printed score sample. All three of these can be put in an email as an .mp3 file with two .pdf attachments (most email lets you send up to 17MB) and yet only 10 applicants did this. So, let’s try to put ourselves in the recipient’s shoes – imagine hunting through 100 applications like this while you’re in the middle of a gig!

I once tried getting my work to a big music supervisor to no avail even with direct connections – she just would not take unsolicited work. When I eventually wound up working with her on a project we were both hired on, I went to her office and saw thousands and thousands of CDs, USB sticks, and packages filling desks and all of the shelves of the office. There were two interns going through all this music every day. I understood immediately why she did not accept my music as a cold sell like that – it’s just too overwhelming and impossible to keep track of. I needed to put myself in her shoes.

As composers we absolutely need to put ourselves in another’s shoes. Too often we think how we can make a film better and forget about what went into making the film at all. Think about how much work it takes to get a film seen. Maybe a good script is written, maybe it gets in the right hands, maybe it gets funded, maybe a good cast signs on, maybe the shoot goes off without a hitch, maybe the dailies look good and the assembly edit is working. Maybe the producers are happy so far. Or maybe 6-7 years have passed and you now have a working edit of a documentary after a ton of fund-raising.

Now you’re the director and you need a composer and you know nothing about music. Imagine how a director feels here after overcoming all those obstacles only to reach a place where now he or she must make a decision about something they rarely understand – music. We must make it simple and painless for them. After a composer creates a great score, maybe it gets in a festival, maybe it gets picked up, maybe it gets good reviews and people see it. Then after all that, maybe the film breaks even or makes money after a period of time. Filmmakers are an intrepid lot for sure and all of this factors into how we approach helping.

We get rejected every single day for things that are beyond our control. But what is under our control is our ability to think about how the other person might be operating. Putting ourselves in another’s shoes allows us to not only deal with rejection but also communication when on a project. It allows us to understand that it’s not always about the music – sometimes we just need to keep things very very simple…. 🙏🏻🌞🎶

Cheers all,
David