Knowing how to write music is probably less than 50% of what is required in being a film/TV composer.
GAINING REQUIRED SKILLS THROUGH EXPERIENCE
Very little of what is needed beyond compositional skills is learned via academia and/or self-education.
Experience is the essential graduate program to learn, practice and master these fundamental critical aspects of being a media composer.
So many of these mandatory skills can’t be done in isolation and require collaborating with others and doing so on their projects.
The eternal dilemma is how to gain experience without having experience.
PONDER THIS QUESTION…
Why would someone want to work with a composer who has yet to know how to do over 50% of their job?
What are the circumstances in which a filmmaker/producer would be willing to entrust you to handle scoring their project even though you currently haven’t learned, practiced and become proficient in the majority of what the job demands?
SOME POSSIBLE ANSWERS
Among the reasons filmmakers give access to their projects to those currently missing most of the job requirements are:
1. Prior personal relationship
2. Strong knowledge and appreciation of their music allowing them to forgo the rest and take a leap of faith.
3. Budgetary limitations that create a need to explore working with those without experience.
4. Circumstances in which the filmmakers/producers are equally inexperienced and open to learning alongside others in the same situation.
5. Compelling salesmanship in which the composer convinces them it will still be fine.
6. Notoriety in other areas which instills confidence to cross-over into this one.
7. Demonstrations created to convince.
8. Providing something unique and desirable towards the specifics of their project.
9. Strong recommendations from respected others.
10. Learning many of these skills while working for another composer.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR THOUGHTS ON OVERCOMING A LACK OF EXPERIENCE?
Here is a partial list, compiled by members of this Forum, of the MAJORITY of skills required in film/TV
1. Coming up with musical concepts
2. Working with picture
3. Making dramatic decisions
4 Communicating with collaborators
6. Meeting deadlines
7. Acquiring work
8. Satisfying filmmakers
9. Building a team
10. Working within a team
11. Making revisions
12. Dealing with pressure
13. Addressing comments
14. Picking up on subtleties
15. Not taking things personal
16. Having structure
17. Trusting the process
18. Emotional maturity
19. Understanding clients point of view
21. Asking the right questions
22. Caring about collaborators
23. Staying up to date with new technologies
24. Being a psychotherapist
25. Stop wasting time on Facebook
26. Balancing work/life
27. Being a producer
28. Understanding how to get the recording as good as possible within the budget.
29. Knowledge of what studios/engineers to work with
30. Knowing what musicians to hire
31. How to mix
34. Renegotiating as situations change
35. Estimating money
36. Estimating time
38. Conveying progress
39. Project management
40. Building relationships
41. Being personable
42. Making mistakes
43. Maintaining your physical and mental health
44. Renegotiate as things change
45. Invest in equipment
46. Thinking like a entrepreneur
47. Marketing, promotion, publicity
48. Managing expectations
49. Learning the basics of visual design.
50. Leaving your ego at the door.
51. Learning how to emotionally detach.
52. Learning about filmmaking.
53. Being familiar with the terminology and techniques.
54. Learning empathy
55. Cue organization
56. Taking armor off and replacing with grounded confidence
57. Being curious
58. Being an interesting human being.
59. Being on time
60. Exceeding expectations
61. Practicing your craft
62. Practicing your storytelling
63. Practicing your compositions
64. Learning flexibility
65. Learning to listen before speaking
66. Stop announcing how slammed/exhausted you are
67. Learning to smile.
68. Knowing which obstacles are critical to overcome.
69. Learning to be the captain of their ship.
70. Knowing how many hands are needed on deck.
71. Knowing how to chart the course.
72. Knowing The difference between being abused and being criticized.
73. Learning that you are providing a service and learn to communicate accordingly.
74. Learning the importance of dealing with anxieties.
75. Being well-rounded
76. Developing your own voice
77. Learning to write in a variety of styles
78. Discovering fresh approaches
79. Rethinking dramatic ideas
80. Acquiring a wide knowledge of different music
81. Emerging oneself in cinema history
82. Translating non-musical discussions into musical ideas
83. Picking up on nuance
84. Learning how to read a room
85. Learning which battles to fight
86. Acquiring patience
87. Learning how to pace a sequence
88. Learning how to pace yourself
89. Learning how to convey emotional subtext
90. Learning how to enhance humor
91. Learning how to use temp tracks as a useful tool
92. Learning how to mock-up for presentation
93. Learning how to spot a film
94. Learning to create the unexpected
95. Learning how to hit your creative reset button
96. Learning to be bold
97. Learning to be subtle
98. Learning how and when and what to delegate
99. Addressing what you don’t know
100. Being the answer to questions that have yet to be asked.
101. Being a good hang.