Some time ago, I'm guessing in the mid '80's, a bunch of film composer's in LA, tried to join the Writers Guild, the attempt failed, rejected by the writers, as I remember it.
Also, not a great time for unions, witness King Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers.
Why the writers guild? It's a great model of what a guild can be, strong; you don't mess with the writers guild.
But alas, we composers, film or not, are a lost lot. We have been divided and conquered by the monied, suit types.
There is no great secret to a strong union, "one for all..." I think the biggest problem
[ beyond each of us going our own way] is our being merged in the Musicians Union.
They try their best to represent us, but they must focus on the musician, and rightfully so. To gain a modicum of respect, we composers should have our own union, better a "Guild."
BTW - song writers are not composer's - they have BMI and ASCAP, where we are 2nd class members.
Now, that said, it ain't gonna happen. When a group has been as decimated as we, it's hard to recover.
The money we use to make in Film, TV, Commercials has been cut severely. We have been allowed to be stripped of Publishing rights, and some composers have actually given the "business" folks, a stake in the authorship of their work, i.e. made them co-writers or full writers. Anti-trust, a thing of the past.
As far as the concertizers of us: Blessed is the Mozart, Beethoven and Brahmas, for they shall inherit the air-waves.
No thanks to PBS, we American Living Composers get short shifted.
I cringe when I hear NPR say,"the Philadelphia orchestra supports WHYY." Isn't that backwards?
We musicians and composers supply a vast majority of what PBS/NPR "sells." They make their bones with our music, and we have to support them?
Thank you but no membership for me. You should cancel your subscription too, Mr or Mz composer. Our "Guild" would/should strike them; you wanna see us get some of their precious air time.
No thanks to the "National Endowment For The Arts."
We get the left-overs after: mega-concert halls' bricks and mortar, after highly paid conductors, three tenors, super star performers, get their big bucks; the average third chair cellist, struggling composer, can go fish.
Have you tried to get the attention of a conductor? They are insulated, self-serving, super-stars who could give a darn about American composers, in the majority.
Yes, we send them our music, and mostly what they get from us is crap. But they could have a system in place to audition new music, turn it down with the courtesy of a reply.
This might be remedied if the super-star composers of the day would join in a "Guild," use their influence, apply some pressure, but they wont. If your a successful happening composer, like, well with out mentioning any names, Corigliano, why would you care that us rabble wanted to be heard too.
In the private sector, an example of too much money misplaced; "Disney Hall" in LA; millions to the building, was there any money put aside for composers whose works, after all, put's the asses in the seats. How much money went to the players, the productions, the composers? Yes, Sondheime; over payed, and over played, think he'd join a "Guild?" Hah, fat chance.
Well now I bet you feel better.
I hear the farmers, the auto workers, complain about losing their "life styles,"
I don't hear about the musicians or composers whose career's were wiped out by the synthesizer and union busting.
Joseph Renzetti - American composer, another invisible man.