Myspace - useless. Unless you have no other website. I think step A is to get a real / paid for website. Then that becomes your demo and business card. When you got nothing on you, you can at least give them your website address. (merrittmusic.com) Then, unfortunately, Step B is DVD demos. So they have something they can hold in their hand.
No one has ever just come across my website and decided to hire me. They only go there if someone told them about it. So, I doubt very many clients are just cruising around Myspace, looking for composers...
I do some print and email marketing as I try and break down the wall and move my career from "do anything as long as its music" guy to more film/tv gigs. I do ok for myself between different local things like orchestrating for universities and radio ads and such, but my goals are loftier. I have probably invested 3k in print so far this year towards film/tv with not a lot to show in return, but I am confident that in the very least the select people to whom I am mailing are minimally seeing my logo for 10 seconds before it hits the trash, so in the long run I think its worthwhile as I build my brand. I need to get on the horn and non stop call people until they get so sick of me they just let me do something for them, but MEH I really hate that part of this job. I much rather have someone feed me while I hang in my cave and write. Any takers? ;D
Bottom line for me has been, everytime I get a new client, it's because a former client reccommended me. My website is very useful because it gives the prospective client a quick way to hear my work/see my credentials.(digital portfolio) But the client referal method makes perfect sense. Put yourself in their shoes. Nobody who's a director/producer wants to take a chance on a composer they've never used(especialy if there's a decent budget for music) unless they've been refered to you by someone they trust. That's why it's so important to build relationships with producers...and don't burn bridges. Also, don't give your work away....it devalues you and undermines the whole industry. At the same time, with new prospective clients, be willing to create "concept" or "audition" cues explaining that you still own the cues, but you're willing to make the extra effort to show them what you would do with "their" project. Over the years, I've had producers comment on cds, that they wish they could see what I scored to. Then when I provided dvds, they would sometimes coment on bad lighting or camera angles. I would usually have to remind them that what I gave them was a "music composer" demo, to which they'd reply "Oh, the music was great!" The greatest success has always been, when I'm willing to show them what I can do with "their" project. Of course, first you've got to get them in the door, and that's where the web site or demo dvd comes in.
The jury is still out on myspace. Sofar, it seems good to be 'out there', and for the occasional "You're great" comment that brightens your day for about 17 seconds.
Local networking groups - going three years on and off. Couple of random meetings resulted in a long standing relationships with a producer, and a director - might finally be looking at paying work now. Cost; a few beers, dinner, and good conversation. Time: took about 3 years to pay off. Wake-up call: I should do this much more often - if I'm honest, I don't work it as much as I should, and considering, the payoff has been pretty good. I'm sure I'd up the chances of hitting the target if I actually did this more often. It's a percentages game. Good thing: the face to face seems to be the best way to gain the confidence of a prospective client. My experience is that what you are like as a person is often more important than the music you make.
Website - amazingly, I've had two well-paying gigs come out of people who found me online, seemingly at random. I assure you, I was shocked. Cost: building and paying for a website over 4 years. Time: 4 years What did I learn? Sometimes, you just have ridiculous dumb luck.
Telling ANYONE I meet what I do - I've had work come out of this; random people who know someone, or happen to work in a marketing dept. that is developing video content that needed music, and they like you. It's the percentages game again, and it seems to take time.
Filmmaker forums - good for getting your name out and maintaining a presence. Yet to really have anything substancial come out of it, but my 'random' clients that found me on the web may have jump links from forums to find my site...
I am seeing a slow 'ramping up' in the work I'm doing (better projects, better pay), and some return clients. I've realized it's going to be a long haul. Next step seem to be, as Chris mentioned, getting on the horn and calling producers, while continuing to do much more of what I've been doing.
Chris, your print campaign - what was it, post-cards? Other stuff? Do you do follow up by phone when you send stuff out? Is it targeted?
Anyone tried those little business card CD's? Send out USB keys?
I have a stack of those business card CD's! I made them and never gave them out. I decided that most people would destroy their player or drive trying to get it to work! I have thought about USB keys. They are getting way cheap, and it's an unusual medium, so it would be remembered...
Yea I did postcards, and I use a professional printer ALWAYS, never ever ever send stuff printed on your ink jet it just looks lame-o-rama. I get stuff in the mail all the time and I see in house printed stuff and it just screams "no budget!" I started my first wave with 2000 cards 4 pass offset printing, wasnt too expensive. I also keep cards, letterhead and CD insert/case backs with the same logo/brand. Its ultra important to establish a graphic brand that is professional and rememberable so when ultra_busy_music_supervisor_001 gets your stuff, even in the trash, that it sticks in the back of the brain ;) Well at least that's my suggestion, Ill confirm it when I get a call from Paramount or WB :) I use a MS SQL database system that I coded that I import new lists I find like the FMN music supervisors list, or i hand imput contacts and i have a system of sorting and removing and updating them to keep track of. Kind of a "friendly spam" system I have built for myself. I wont really know its effectiveness for about a year but wish me luck :D
As a network television producer who hires composers, I receive VO demos, production house demos, graphic design demos, freelance producer demos, and music demos. I get about 2-3 a week. It is overwhelming and I don't have time to watch them all. So they sit in a drawer until I clean it out a year from now. We'll call that the "no-callback zone drawer". BUT if someone sends me a demo and calls me too, then I'm more inclined to look at the demo. I may say, "I haven't gotten to it yet" which is the God's honest truth. But knowing they'll call back in a week or so makes me put the demo in so I'll be prepared when they do call again. I respect the work that goes into a demo as a producer, but I can't look at everything. So my advice to you is send the demo, yes, but back it up with a phone call or it may get lost in the zone.
One day I was working on creating a score for a very promising independent film. The budget wasn't huge, but it was decent., and I could actually handle the entire project between my virtual instruments and guitars. I was grooving to the beat, thinking, "Wow, I remember those days when I had to market myself every other day. I didn't know most of the time whether to work on some new cues for my demo or to update my website or to make cold calls. I used to fret over this, wondering where my next gig was going to come from. I was almost schizo, not knowing whether I was a composer or a marketer."
Then the alarm clock went off and I realized I was dreaming...
Pete's comment ("Nothing works...but what choice do we have...") is brief but sums it up nicely. Like he says, "...you just have to do everything and anything you can."
Myspace can be good to find filmmakers, adding them and hoping that they'll listen to your music, instead of just dropping their banners into your comment box.
I've found that you need to look for the filmmaker communities online, to reach these people, connecting to them personally about their work (e.g.write them an email). The other day I checked out a directors reel, and I noticed that his cinematography/visual style and editing had a lot in comon with Wong Kar-Wai, so I sent him an e-mail about how I liked his work, and that it reminded me of Wong's, and he was apparently flattered, as he checked out my music, and wants me to score his new film.
Another one - try to connect with your own generation of filmmakers. I tend to connect easier with younger directors, and at music college (I'm studying film scoring), the composition teachers mostly work with directors from about their age.