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Music Composers Unite!

I am, as probably many of us here, eager to get into the filmscoring business. Funny as it may sound, I've only recently found out about the importance of self-marketing thanks to the fascinating lectures (namely the two seminars with George S. Clinton) at Transatlantyk FIlm and Music Festival in Poznan, Poland.

So I've done some research and I got stuck with one question: is it better to:

1) put your stuff out there (SoundCloud, YouTube and such) and wait until someone stumbles upon it, or

2) send out your portfolio to everyone and keep sending it, until someone actually listens to it and decides to contact you?

 

Some support #1, saying "it shows you in a better light, not being desperate to get a job" and, since it's also your personality you're trying to market (being good to work with), you don't want to be seen as opressive, intrusive or pushy.

#2 seems more reasonable for me, since it means taking your fate in your hands and it doesn't rely on pure luck (as I think #1 does). But then it implies more questions:

A) Who do you market to? Production companies? Directors? Small ones? Medium ones? Indie? (Is there ANY chance of contacting the big ones like WB, let alone get their interest?)

B) Traditional mail or e-mail? Or both? (There are also job submition forms at some production studios' websites - including the big ones, but i doubt it could work..)

C) One company = one sendout? Or repeat ocasionaly (and risk being labeled as spam)?

 

What are your views / experiences?

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I wish I had an answer to this as in today's world even greatness goes unnoticed if it is not packaged and marketed at the right audience. On the other hand marketing has become such a fine art form that a formula seems to have been devised for the pop music medium and it is repeated ad nauseum - ie. a bare minimum of talent+flash video+a bit of rapping thrown in+some sexual references = success. 

All I can say is that from talking to a person in the marketing business recently the trend is now Facebook. Have you noticed how nearly all websites have a facebook URL now and bespoke websites are being ditched. 

 

I think this thread could take a direction of "how to use facebook to market yourself". Anyone got suggestions?

Good point. I also had a conversation recently about facebook and other ways of composer marketing. And the problem seems to be that film composers are not considered a group of interests separate from musicians in general. And the reason I think they should be is, that they are not trying to market the music they've composed already, but the music they will compose, should the filmmaker ask him to.

So it's not necessarily the most useful thing for us to put our music on facebook, myspace, SoundCloud etc. and just wait. Yes, it will probably be heard by lots of people, but most probably not the people, who might give us the job.

I don't know, I mey be wrong.. Let's hope I am, 'cause I'm out of ideas..

I personally don't think Facebook is the best medium for marketing, but it can help. What I did a year or so back was made a Facebook music page. Just like someone would make for a band. Then, update it regularly with information on new compositions or post links to your own youtube channel or whatever else you may be using to post your music online. It starts out small, your fans will be your family and friends in the beginning. But soon you start seeing people interested in your work that you've never met, or aren't even from your country. It's pretty wicked.

 

Another suggestion I have is an idea I've been thinking about for a while. If a group of composers hardcore marketed in a group, I think there would be a greater chance at success. It just makes more sense for me to market myself (being a percussion composer) with someone who writes for orchestra, someone who specializes in brass, woodwinds, marching, etc.

 

 

I think the sad thing we nearly all face is: how many other thousands of people are trying to do what we do but with little or no success?

 

I tend to think that a unique music/ video combination that goes viral somehow is the answer...how did the viral videos go viral?

 

Just imagine the (almost) pointless exercise of "film composer looking for work" on Linkedin for example. I mean who reads it - other film composers! Same sort of naval gazing happens here. Sorry I don't have an answer..

Facebook is good for networking and this can take two forms.

 

1. Network among your peers who have the same goal.  You can offer/receive advice and comments and this helps to keep you going.  You can also network with film makers who are in the same situation and need someone to create a sound track.  Any kind of collaboration - even if it does not involve money - will be useful.

 

2. Network among your intended audience.  Do you know who is in charge of deciding on music for the film companies?  It may be that these people are unreachable through FB but maybe some lower level folks who know what the studios are needing would be helpful.  Become their friend and they may see something you post or at least they might recognize your name. 

 

I expect this could be a big challenge getting to know the right people but these decisions are usually made in favor of composers the studio knows or have worked with before.  Do whatever you can to get some sort of positive history going will help. 

Luck is such an underrated factor too - in all aspects of life if you look around at those who "made it" or "just missed out" - there is sometimes no difference, or those who just missed out sometimes had greater skills.

People forget this.

All very useful thoughts. I supose it's best to start making artistic aquaintances in one's local environment - especially for someone from outside U.S. (like me). Thanks for a fruitful discussion! ;)

I've started to e-mail some smaller game developers here in Sweden introducing myself. I definitely think one should do that if they want to become a proffesional.

It has been some time and after some experiences I think I can expand on the subject.

Mostly I'd like to emphasize what Chris said over a year ago. Facebook, YouTube and/or SoundCloud are great as an extention of your self-promotion. But the most important thing is to meet people personally. Attend festivals, workshops/masterclasses and other filmmaking events, take part in filmscoring competitions, meet filmmakers and talk with them!

Not even a month ago I attended a series of lectures on film sound and music in Lodz, Poland. There, I had an opportunity to have an extensive chat during lunch with a celebrated young director. Yes, it was a coincidence, that a place at my table was the last unoccupied one, but "accidents" like this are much more probable and helpful, than some talented director listening to your tune on YouTube. (A good director knowing your face, name, opinions and temperament from a real life conversation is much more valuable than his encounter with your YouTube account. And the probability of him remembering you is greater..) Also, a chance to discuss aspects of filmmaking with working professionals is the best education opportunity you can get.

So get out there, meet people and get jobs! :) Of course in the meantime compose, put it out there and wait patiently...

That's fortunate for you Pawel, you might get a job out of that coincidence :D

People should really start exploring the new mediums asking for music. now more than ever the indie game scece has gone CRAZY, I mean really the number of indie titles coming up every month is insane-and an satisfactory number of them is very well made. And those small developers are not afraid to experiment, try things, give attention to details otherwise overlooked by the triple A titles in the industry. One such "detail" (personaly I find it a great turn off for a game to have really bad or uninteresting music) is music folks, most studios even *advertise* the fact that they have a neat score for their game. So start digging into the pile of indie studios and flood them with music. One wonderfull thing about games is that you dont have cues and programmers are quite unsocial beings-you could easily get away with being in different countries. 

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