Maybe you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, fascinated by the way every slapstick action is musically described. Maybe you discovered the magic of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, or Ennio Morricone, and the haunting melodies never left your auditory daydreams. Or perhaps you played one of the blockbuster video games (Medal of Honor, anyone?) and the possibility of writing music for a video game/movie crossover excites you more than a percussionist in a Hans Zimmer score.
However your foray into the monde musicale began, you’ve now arrived at the point of no return- you long to hear your music and see your name in an award-winning film.
So how feature your music in the film industry?
Right off the bat, let’s just say that there is no one way of breaking into the world of music and film. There are many different paths that people take in their pursuit of this dream. Remember that “Medal of Honor” score? The composer, Michael Giacchino, eventually went on to score such hits as Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille”. He found a way into the film industry via the business side of things, becoming a publicist for Disney’s feature film department. Jerry Goldsmith, who scored such memorable works as “The Planet of the Apes” (1968) and “The Secret of NIMH”, started out as a typist for CBS.
Some of the more common paths to get your music in the film industry are:
- Become a composer’s assistant – Sometimes, composers will put up advertisements for an assistant. Duties might include anything from the usual coffee runs and correspondence to notating and orchestrating. More often than not, you will start out with the mundane office work and progress to creative production.
- Find quality student films/film festival submissions – The amount of films being produced by college seniors is astounding. Search for work using sites such as Mandy.com. It’s usually no or low pay, but you might get lucky. These films have the potential to garner some decent exposure, which is everything.
- Submit work to a music library/music licensing agency – The way that the industry is going, more and more TV networks are looking to the small music libraries and music licensing agencies as a quality, cost-efficient option. The ability to put down on your professional website that your music is aired on major TV networks is a huge plus.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you get your music in the film industry and you become the next Williams, Morricone, or Goldsmith. I leave you with these words of wisdom from Victor Hugo, the author of Les Miserables: “Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.”