Anticipating the “fires” that may break out in the middle of a project can make the difference between success and failure… and may just allow you to be a human being amidst the chaos. A few war stories from my latest big project.Read More
Hustle: It’s a common subject when we composers talk amongst ourselves. How aggresive we all have to be these days. How a hyper-developed competitive drive is a composer’s greatest asset.
It’s worth a moment, I think, to poke around the edges and see if there are areas where we might do better to unclench a bit. Go with the flow. Let it come to us, rather than launching ourselves at it all gung-ho and crazy-eyed.
What I found, after the jump.Read More
Is a gig ever really over? Sometimes it’s clear when we’re finished (especially if things go, how you say, not so well). Other times, though, it seems that the ghosts of projects past come back to haunt us, again and again.Read More
This week it’s a quick rumination on the value of time and of planning ahead. (Interesting anecdote: this was written on an airplane, months ago—an environment in which it’s extremely easy to waste time!)Read More
There’s a type of cliché that seems, at first glance, to revel in its own shallowness. “Fake it till you make it,” “image is everything,” “style over substance” and a bunch of others, all trumpeting the virtue of looking the part… to the detriment, one supposes, of actually being the part.
Our career, though, hinges on perception. In fact, film music could be said to be all about manipulating the perception (of an audience, through music). So there’s an argument to be made that these clichés, empty and soulless as they may seem, actually have some value for us in our day-to-day professional lives. More on image, and why it is actually important, after the jump.Read More
For many of you aspiring composers reading this, writing music is not your full-time job. You’d like it to be, but you don’t land enough gigs (yet). You’re not even sure how to get yourself into the pool of available candidates. Read on for some ideas and a little perspective.Read More
Forget all the gear-goodies you’ve added to your arsenal lately. While a new array of sounds may inspire you to work just a little differently, or to try something just a little bit outside your comfort zone, keep in mind: The gear is just a tool.Read More
As composers, we face a unique set of obstacles—pitfalls—in our creative process. Here I describe a few of the most common I've encountered, along with some strategies for avoiding them (or, if it's too late for that, surviving them).Read More
In the discussion following a recent lecture I gave at SUNY Fredonia, I was asked to list some important film scores through the history of cinema. As I prepared the list, it seemed more and more like a worthwhile blog entry. So here’s my list of Mandatory Film Scores, circa 2015.Read More
In a 2009 interview I mentioned the Point System, a career-scoring analytic first devised in 1996 by the always-brilliant Ron Jones. In the system, composers award themselves points based on those daily activities that advance their careers (or are otherwise important for ongoing health and sanity).
Since then I've received regular requests to re-post the infamous Point System in its entirety, and to update it so that it takes into account the growing importance of social media (and a few other 21st-century tweaks).
So. Today's the day.Read More
Here are a few collaboration-related paradoxes I guarantee you’ll encounter in this business. As your film composing career progresses, you’ll have to wrap your brain around these sooner or later.
I don’t claim to have answers. We’re in a subjective realm here. But I do think it’s important for us all to be aware of these paradoxes, and to give some head space to how we plan to answer the challenges they present. It feels better knowing we’re all running into these same strange and inscrutable aspects of the biz, right?
Building on last week’s post, here’s more on why scheduling and budgeting is crucial. To illustrate, let’s dive into a couple of days out of my own composing life. With the help of some handy-dandy charts. What am I doing well? And, more importantly, where can I improve?Read More