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 Posted:   Jan 6, 2009 - 10:26 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


Now that the new site is live I'm taking the opportunity to post a number of FAQ related items. See this one:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/article.cfm/articleID/6069/The-Single-Most-FAQ--How-to-Become-a-Film-Composer/

Hope these are useful.

Lukas

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2009 - 10:48 PM   
 By:   Saul Pincus   (Member)

Now that the new site is live I'm taking the opportunity to post a number of FAQ related items. See this one:

http://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/article.cfm/articleID/6069/The-Single-Most-FAQ--How-to-Become-a-Film-Composer/

Hope these are useful.

Lukas


Practical, insightful, hilarious. Vintage LK!

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2009 - 10:51 PM   
 By:   Amer Zahid   (Member)

A great article there! Another important additon that Id like to suggest is in terms of networking is a persons ability of developing preseverance and positive attitude and without having any ego trips. And speaking of John Ottoman, who is on his way up really good ( to whom I was chating with a moment ago) is that you have to broadminded apporach no matter whom you come across. Down to earth attitude is essential for breaking through and success and it applies to any one doing any job.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2009 - 11:14 PM   
 By:   TJ   (Member)

Great read Lukas.

I don't know how much of this article is meant to be taken seriously, but as a college student, in a gloomy economy, with no clue, there is a lot of relevant life advice in there---even though that particular career is not one I would personally want to get into---talk about stress, yikes.

It's just one of those things where it should be commons sense---but you read about it or hear about it and then a lightbulb goes off. Duh!

Its also nice to know that it seems that in your experience in that biz, kindness seems to have got people places---you hear so many stories about the cutthroat nature of so many different occupations---especially in Hollywood---it's refreshing to read such a positive account.

Thanks for sharing! We love this kind of stuff. At least I do. big grin
TJ

 
 Posted:   Jan 6, 2009 - 11:17 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

And speaking of John Ottoman...

Yes, Ottoman is so good, he's now become part of the furniture in film music circles.

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 5:43 AM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

Nicely worded and well written Lukas. The new format looks really good as well. Thanks for sharing this.

Dave

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   spanosdm   (Member)

Great article, very interesting points about the "networking". I'm keeping Lukas' words, "I am glad I am not trying to become a film composer".

Coincidentally, today I was reading the note James L. Brooks wrote for Spanglish CD. He spent most of the page talking about how great guy Hans Zimmer is, funny, great to be with, ect, almost not a word about his music. Zimmer makes "people under pressure laugh" to quote him. And I suspect Brooks' the one that suggested they used Zimmer for The Simpsons Movie, when it was decided (VERY unfairly but that's another discussion) not to use Clausen.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 9:19 AM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)

It's a great article - thank you very much Lukas! I'm studying composition and choral conducting and I am asked the eternal music-undergraduate question: "What are you planning to do when you graduate?". My answer is always the same: i'll take any composing or conducting job that comes my way. Would I like to write for film? Sure, but I don't necessarily see it as my goal as a composer. We don't choose what to do in real life; most of the time we end up doing it for one reason or another. Realistically, I see myself teaching music in a couple of years (and maybe teaching some english to foot the rest of the bills). My single goal is to become a professional and quality musician. I'm fine going the Charles Ives route: write in your spare time without the need to worry about the aesthetic trends of the moment. That's what art is all about: follow your heart and pay the bills doing whatever it is needed to do so.

Alex

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Alex Klein   (Member)

As a side note (and somewhat related to the subject matter), I uploaded an animated short with music I composed for it (part of a film music course I took in my first semester). I would love if people on the board (and of course, Lukas) watch and comment on it. Here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeOK7y0YsVM
Enjoy!

Alex

P.S: Another student put sound to the film once I had scored it but oddly enough the movie uploaded without it (sound). It still works good enough as a silent film though.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 10:06 AM   
 By:   Gordon Reeves   (Member)



What a wonderful sea of sincere syllables overflowing with sage wisdom and (even more importantly) the evidence of actual experience - as opposed to abstract "this is how it oughta be's" by those without the faintest flamin' idea what the hell the Business of Show doesn't merely ask but demands.

It brought back those sadly-lost (but no less lamented) days when you actually had the time and energy to do this consistently.

Then again, you've lost none of your writerly worth or insightfully imaginative perceptions.

(And if this too-too public accolade still makes you wanna cringe, well it's all YOUR fault, so there, nyahhhhhhh!)



Wanna make somethin' of it? ... wink

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 2:06 PM   
 By:   Mick Moreau   (Member)

That's what art is all about: follow your heart and pay the bills doing whatever it is needed to do so.

Alex


That about sums it up for me as well, Alex.

I'm not a professionally trained musician as you are (just about everything I do is by ear), and the money is irrelevant. I enjoy composing, working long into the quiet hours of the night on my latest "masterpiece" lol, and maybe putting s smile on someone's face with the result.

Of course, getting some coin in hand as a result never hurts wink

Mick

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 2:30 PM   
 By:   DavidCoscina   (Member)

Eriedreamz, it's a funny thing that happens to one when they develop skills and an aesthetic that is outside the realm of economics. Composing music is more pure when you are not pressured to conform to a certain idea that an employer may have if you start collaborating with filmmakers. When money enters the equation, I find I'm more stymied creatively because that money figure is always looming over my head. I am not singling you out because you and Alex are doing what I largely do these days- compose to improve my compositional skills without worrying about compromising in order to pay my mortgage. I had such lofty ideals when I was younger that, when I did work on a few small projects, I felt like an artistic whore.

Collaborating with conductors or musicians is very different because the composer is still mostly in control. It's your music so at the end of the day, your input matters a lot. To a filmmaker, even a student or someone who is independent, your opinions matter less, even when you know more about music and possibly even film than your boss (the director/producer).

I think Lukas nailed it on the head about film scoring. 80% of it these days is who you know and your reputation. If you develop relationships with some filmmakers in their formative years, then you might ride their coattails to success. If you do not play nice, then they will use you for the time being until they get someone with more notoriety and better social graces. Only a Herrmann or Goldsmith with their gifts could pull off being irascible in the system and even then you have to believe they missed some golden opportunities because of their temperament. Williams, from all accounts, is as soft spoken and accommodating as you can get. Reading about how good Zimmer is with producers and directors alike reveals a lot about why he's the king of Hollywood film composers (sorry but its kind of true even if I don't want to admit it).

I do have hope that we can have congenial composers who also know their music up and down. Shore is like that. Even younger guys like Giacchino appears to be very friendly and open-minded but also likes to try new things musically.

Anyhow, this is a great thread and I sure have enjoyed the input from various parties.

Thanks again Lukas!

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 2:42 PM   
 By:   Mick Moreau   (Member)

Composing music is more pure when you are not pressured to conform to a certain idea that an employer may have if you start collaborating with filmmakers. When money enters the equation, I find I'm more stymied creatively because that money figure is always looming over my head. I had such lofty ideals when I was younger that, when I did work on a few small projects, I felt like an artistic whore.

Collaborating with conductors or musicians is very different because the composer is still mostly in control. It's your music so at the end of the day, your input matters a lot. To a filmmaker, even a student or someone who is independent, your opinions matter less, even when you know more about music and possibly even film than your boss (the director/producer).

I do have hope that we can have congenial composers who also know their music up and down. Anyhow, this is a great thread and I sure have enjoyed the input from various parties.

Thanks again Lukas!


Thank you, David and you nailed it on the head for me. Granted, I'm not of the younger set nor do I have delusions of grandeur when it pertains to becoming really "known", but I am also a big believer in the luck factor.

I really enjoy the creation process and most of what I have done thus far has funded my software needs nicely. Its hard to keep up with the latest and greatest so I've learned to appreciate and make the most out of what I DO have.
There are a couple of college Film making students that I can see doing great things with their talents later on and we have an excellent working relationship that might ofster into something bigger later on (provided I'm not dead or fossilized by then lol).
There are also a few that I think have want to join the churning mill too. Thats just life I guess.

Agreed on this awesome thread too!

Mick

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 4:31 PM   
 By:   no1maestro   (Member)

Excellent article, thanks for posting it.

I think that the advice given in the article is to the point not just for film music but for music in general.

A case in point is my story...I'll try to keep it short.

I was invited to dinner at the home of the manager of a private club in our community. I worked with his wife and she had told him that I was a pianist. During dinner we talked sports, education, art, current events and a little music.

Following dinner I was asked if I wanted to play a little on their new grand piano. I accepted and played a little music of many varieties. I was then asked if I would like to play at the new club the next night. That night I was asked if I would like to finish out the week.

The bottom line is that my talent and experience was only the opening to my opportunity. What was every bit as important was my ability to converse, share ideas, network and work with other folks. Having a good liberal education was key...not just my playing ability.

I retired after 28 years of playing the club, both solo and with my trio and with visiting guest artists. I was told much later that they were looking for a musician who could do more that just play; they wanted someone who could interact with his peers, the clientele and other folks. who could hold his own in conversations and other interactions. The day of the "talented diva" is over if it ever existed.

Get a good education, learn to work with folks, prepare yourself to be ready when the opportunity raises it's head!!

 
 Posted:   Jan 7, 2009 - 6:02 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

The advice in the article is good for any sphere of activity where no clearcut career-path structures exist.

I think it also helps immensely to network not only amongst people, but among genres you specialise in. I've had situations where you do one small piece of work on something (say a VO) and because you threw out a comment in loose conversation about something else you were doing (maybe some cartoons) you get hired for the latter by the same guy who needs that too! Then the studio and media-company he employs uses you for other VOs quite independently, etc.. I'm sure it's the same with film and music.

But if you could find yourself in a group who work together, and are also in your shoes, who are greater than the sum of their individual talents, magical things could happen. Look at Monty Python. Equally, the wrong crowd could pull you down.

Really, the sculptor needs to sculpt not only his pieces, but his career too, and the same mindset that pulls up originality in one may do so in the other. It's just that in film-music, I'd reckon there are so few opportunities outside Hollywood, even in other countries where cinema thrives, and the few who command the top slots like to stay there.

The reality would be surely that diplomacy, openness, and mercurial fluidity are necessary, and that the REALITIES of the industry and art preclude the luxury of the kind of arrogant 'purism' that the 'fans' invent out of thin fantasy-air.

 
 
 Posted:   Jan 8, 2009 - 3:28 AM   
 By:   TownerFan   (Member)

A very nice piece, Lukas. Thanks for sharing it.

 
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