So you want to hire a composer for your film? But you don’t know the slightest thing about music? Well never fear, I am here to explain a few things. Choosing a composer can be a stressful time, so let’s take a little guesswork out of equation.
The Different Aspects of Choosing a Composer
Not every composer is created equal. Some have had extensive musical training, and some have not. Some have been composers their entire life and scored many different films – and some haven’t. But there are a few key things that will go a long way to having a good working relationship between director and composer. And they are quite what you’d think they would be.
A Composer’s Ability to Communicate His Ideas
First off, the composer must be able to communicate his ideas in a clear and efficient way to the director. This goes for all ideas – both musical and non-musical. Some things that will be a hallmark of this:
- Can the composer describe his musical style in a short and concise way?
- When asked questions, does the composer seem to make sense?
- Can he describe in non-musical terms, what certain aspects of his music mean in certain circumstances?
- Is he understanding what you are saying and asking him?
Communication goes both ways, and you always want to make sure that your ideas are as clear as possible, but ultimately, the composer is like the musical expert and consultant on your team. You are relying on his expertise and experience to help you discover the music that you always wanted for your film.
A Composer’s Professionalism
Professionalism is not just a nice to have character trait – it is an absolute necessity for your relationship. You want a composer that treats his work not just as “art”, but as a product that must be shipped on time, to standard, and will uphold his reputation. Is the composer a professional, or is he just a guy that enjoy’s writing music? This has nothing to do with the number of films the composer has scored. A brand new composer with no credits can be a professional. This has everything to do with how he approaches each film or job. Every film is important to a professional.
A Composer’s Experience Outside of This Industry
What kind of experience does the composer bring to the table that can help your team? A film is a complicated thing and every person can help move the ball forward or move the ball back. Does the composer have any experience running a business, working in difficult situations or leading? Can the composer interface with different aspects of your team like marketing, legal, and finance? Choosing someone that will not only bring a great finished score to the table, but also a world of knowledge and experience that can be helpful in all situations is a great thing.
Gut Feelings – Choosing a Composer
Sometimes it will all boil down to – what is your gut feeling about this composer? Will he be able to follow through and give me the score I need? Going with your gut is usually the right choice, but it pays to inform your gut. So when choosing a composer, ask the right questions and you won’t be let down.