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Modern Film Composing

Lesson 14 of 17

Getting Your First Job

Will and Brooke Blair

Modern Film Composing

Will and Brooke Blair

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Lesson Info

14. Getting Your First Job


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 The Role of a Score Duration:07:55
4 Continuing Education Duration:08:21
5 Building Your Home Studio Duration:21:35
7 Develop Your Voice Duration:04:25
8 Spot the Film Duration:52:34
9 Focus on Instrumentation Duration:38:15
12 Create Stems for Delivery Duration:02:36
14 Getting Your First Job Duration:16:28
15 Working Remotely Duration:26:41
17 The Composer's Philosophy Duration:04:17

Lesson Info

Getting Your First Job

Getting work and you know this is like this is there's not one answer and there's not one sort of proven formula curious and are you guys work on a lot of things you mentioned spec work expect commercial workers after a publisher we met him at a phone possible doing that sort of you know, working with bravo and much other stuff I didn't handle ourselves next thing that they were shipping ascap oil too three cents yeah wait starts that up in its work um yeah but that sound like that that happened like organic this networking way at a winery literally umm so how do you get work? How do you show your work before you have work rather how do you get work with there's not work to show it's sort of a chicken and egg situation I think there needs to be some sort of a really some sort of you know soundcloud is important where you can play audio examples sending mp three's can share you know, audio work find something visual that you can score and lou of actually having a job in front of you to ...

score there's all sorts of editing software you khun you can start to compile images and you know, work on scores that way in the way that we did know his film um student films are a great place to start any town with colleges probably has a film department and students would be dying to get your original music composed for their movie right there you have a short kind of showcase is what you do, that's also a moment when everyone's kind of learning the craft together. In this, you're going to come at all stumbled together and figure out the problems and grow, yeah, grow is key with with student things on this high, maybe he's a swell? Absolutely, but you never know what students going to go on to continue making movies and getting better and better and making movies and keep you along for the ride we score. Jeremy's our news first, his senior senior in you film thesis was our one of our first short films and jeremy's movie green room that we scored is premiering the cannes festival right now in france. You know, we didn't we knew he was a gifted filmmaker at the time, but we didn't know we'd be along for this, like much of a ride. Um, so students are a great place to get started again. You mentioned spec work. The idea is that it's speculative, you know, there's, not a job in place, so to speak, but by doing some upfront work, um, it's showcasing what you can do and it's something to add to your riel when we were in sundance with with blue ruin with jeremy two years ago, we left thinking, you know, we met a lot of great people we got a lot of great feedback on the film we left thinking we headed out out of there thinking, you know, we might meet the next director in his next film we might come home with like, another feature film and of course we did it there's a lot of networking and we met a lot of people and what we got a lot of was in between feature films really think about other avenues other other media to compose for specifically commercial work and we never thought of herself this commercial composers we have for some reason was something we weren't interested in, but we were interested in staying busy like it's busy as we could um how do you get to write music for commercial without already having written music for a commercial? So we scratched their heads a little bit and we we got on video in videos like a huge networking platform for professional filmmakers. Oftentimes if you find a professional filmmaker there also supplementing their film work with commercial work, so we we've got a little video this is our commercial reel it's on our website, which is all spec, which is all spirits for maybe a handful in the way this worked and and this took some time and some you know, some legwork but we do search through them and tried to find specked commercials that exist meaning a commercial director will create a concept for commercial on their own time and their own budget go out and shoot it and then presented to the brand or the company and say coca cola or so and so I shot this commercial what you think this is what I can do? We found guys who shot great content great commercials that were never picked up by the brand so they retained ownership of of their footage and we just sent the friendly email mentioned some things we have done mentioned we're trying to build our spectral um very commercial real and hopes to getting more commercial work would you allow us to re score your existing commercial and oftentimes they said yeah, absolutely and it was there's no payment it was just, um the gayness rights to their footage. We downloaded a version of it kind of race their soundtrack their score along with any other audio and replace it on our way and present it to them when we got approval from all of them before we compiled our really um so in a sense we scored eight commercials or ten commercials before we actually scored a commercial we now have a commercial real and it's helped us get other commercial work moving forward so brooks going to show it as like a couple snippets, you know, human beings are almost there that look at the incredible changes they've experienced and survived from the stone age to the present on yet even greater changes are still they come because the future is in our community an extension of the present with bigger and better machines and cities of the ganges on that is why the future is so endlessly fascinated because trials weekend as many different moods, locations, settings, tones and products as we could that was probably opened it with the bmw that is probably the heaviest um, this is an adidas commercial. We found one of the way guess who was doing the beast voice way? Because, you know, we were removing all we had to remove all audio content we didn't get stems reflects ability to keep their sound design or their voice over it was just a common it was just a video file with the accompanying audio file, which we had to scrap in order to start over. So so they had a beastly voice over and they're in their version of the bmw commercial by removing that we felt something was missing and with some pro tools tricks d tuning in lots of whispering priest and, you know, the first one with with bmw had that speech uh element to it sounded like an old vintage speech was recorded and we had to remove that it was fun to start thinking a little less like a composer and more like a not a sound designer but you know, part of it, adding although yeah, you know, that was part of the creative teams way to search for a speech and affected in a way that seemed to fit the tone of the commercial you know, we wanted to prison has complete oven ideas possible with visuals and with voice over so that that is one way to create a really and that's been helpful for us we switch back to get you did those on spec and then that has helped you get more commercial we're looking my spoke they didn't necessarily pick those up right and they were never actually picked up, so for the director who shot them in ourselves there just avenue exposure and your motion um we've got some questions that came in just on this topic people who are getting started in the business this question got a couple of votes on it and the viewer wants to know to be to become a composer would you say that it's necessary or suggested to maybe apprentice under another composer or to look for somebody for guidance when you're first getting started? Did you guys do anything like that? Yeah that yes necessary or suggested, I would say not necessary is there can only be helpful, you know, um, getting started, we did not quite have that that person we could lead to or learn from, we were learning a lot from other folks in the industry, the directors that we've worked with e editors that we've worked with not a direct composer relationship until recently, we feel like we found what we could consider a composer mentor who lives locally but also learn has more credits and it's kind of we have dinner with every now and again a couple beers, and he just kind of schools us and we know what we're doing, he tells what he's doing and just someone who has been around and don't and that's been so helpful, kind like what not to do what to avoid, but also you know where to put your energy on then we both feel like getting something we're learning from each other, but I do feel like it's a traditional way to get into film scoring is always their partnership working under a composer ghost writing, but I feel like that really is a kind of need to be in l a for that, maybe more so, but so I think we try to get creative with not being in l a how can we kind of still get a foot in the door and you guys were setting me up for another question because we had that question about geography and where people need to be located so people were curious when trying to compose for films how important is it your geographical location? Are there any recommended areas that are best to find this work or I know a lot of people work remotely so you want to touch down that yeah, we have a we have a section here in just a few moments about working remotely you know, evil that is important and I think that that was something that did not take place you know, five ten a couple years ago and I think it's increasingly happening warm or um we live in philadelphia and we there's a few people we spoke to that you got to get out of there and you've got to get to l a and other folks recently said no if it's working you know, stay put if that's home um focus on working remotely and developing a style communication where people can feel comfortable you know, trusting you with their project without being in the same room with you we do a lot of traveling, we host a lot of guests you know who come our way um I would say, you know, this can be done anywhere I think and that's what and if not we're tryingto we're trying to prove it way we're staying busy from from philadelphia and there's not a feature film making community in philadelphia you know we work on local uh advertising projects we work on bigger films that are produced elsewhere um so this speaks to that you know, I don't know across the board but in philadelphia and in most major cities the city itself will set up a film commission office of some sort a website of some sort just a service and what they're trying to do I know there's one of chicago I know there's one in philadelphia there's certain huge virginia yeah and there's one in virginia and there's where we're from originally and um I'm sure they're all over the country um where you know metropolitan cities were trying to attract productions with tax incentives things like that location scout and, you know, unusual unique locations and within these websites they have production listings you know, this is where again a little detective work goes a long way you're not going to find and listing for we're looking for a composer and we can't find what you know but you can dig through these things um find out you know what shooting next month what is what's coming to town? A set of production nearby is their town close to you or you could travel to and see see who's filming what but also keep in mind the one in philadelphia, for example, lists everything from feature films that might be coming to philly to commercials toe little nonprofit shorts um and reality tv that might be filming nearby so there's this huge like crossover list of productions in town kind of guarantee you if you find a the director working on commercials, they probably also have, you know, a side project or aside passion or another film that they haven't development I mean you'll start to see a lot of directors or freelancing and different different avenues of work and if you could if you could meet someone shooting a documentary, chances are they might not need you for that job, but they're working on something in the future that is a great way to find uh find out just about what's going on in your town in the film world believe or not craigslist there's a little you know, creative gig um field you click on the search for composer we made a habit of doing that whether we're actually looking for work or really just curious what's out there and it really became a habit is every single morning and we were clicking on new york and clicking on l a and and in between that we found there is a lot of productions looking for composers, you'll see oftentimes low budget no budget credit only as far as the payment but it is a way to get working in to get something in your riel needham groups again that's just a local networking thing they're all over the place I think it's meetup dot com philly has like I'm like a you know half dozen filmmaking meet up groups that you can join network get to know people you're going to meet someone who's in need of original music at some point I am devi is great international movie uh database a listing of anything that's getting ready to go in production you can search by budget by location by genre um and again with enough digging around you can start to find who's producing what maybe find an email address um kickstarter and indiegogo real quick kickstarter is just a wide open platform that relies on people you know spending time with that project spending time with their campaign page and they always encourage sort of a conversation with potential donors you confined right now probably eight hundred to nine hundred live film projects that are raising money for production or postproduction and of those nine hundred I guarantee you know half of them might not have gotten to an original music phase of their production um and there's a contact but we've sent e mails too kickstarter campaigns and said this looks really cool um we look to contribute and have you thought of original music and we're working on a documentary right now that we met through a kickstarter relationship

Class Description

A film’s score is so much more than background music. It creates a mood, shapes the story, and influences the way viewers interpret the action. In Modern Film Composing, Will and Brooke Blair ("The Blair Brothers") will examine the art and illuminate the science of scoring moving media.

You can hear The Blair Brothers’ work in award-winning features (from indie films to Disney), documentaries, commercials, and television shows. 

In this class, they’ll share their expertise and help you:

  • Find the style and tone of music that best suits your film 
  • Create dynamic musical elements that fall within your budget 
  • Improve your collaboration with composers
During the class, Will and Brooke will also score two CreativeLive student films – one prepared in advance and one scored live on air – to lend an artistic insider's view to the film scoring process and results. The Blair Brothers will also discuss their professional trajectory and how they maintain careers as composers. 

Composing music for a film can be an intimidating process for both filmmakers and composers, in this class you’ll learn practical strategies for approaching your project and producing a final product that fits your artistic intention.


Will Blair

Thanks to everyone at CreativeLive for helping produce our workshop - and thanks for everyone at home for taking a look!