Composing : Composer pay by Anthony D Paul

Anthony D Paul

Composer pay

What is your rate of pay for a 10 minute or so short film composers?

Joel Irwin

I suspect you'll get answers all over the board on this one. So take them, including mine with a grain of salt. Some of it is personal business decisions and some of it is dictated by the current market, the type of film and the participants. I made a personal decision some years back to draw my pay line at features. I will not charge for shorts. I use them for practice, relationship building, and IMDB credit. In most cases, I can score the shorts in 2 or 3 days - in some cases I have been known to complete a score in 8 or 9 hours (I have scored 48 hour film project films in under 3 hours). In all of these, the shorts are typically 4 to 7 minutes and the scores are generally half or less. Scoring contracts are often lump sum or multi-sum negotiated payments and not often calculated by the number of minutes since many other factors can be put into the contract. For example, if you score the same cue three times, do they pay you for all three or just for the one they used. Or who gets the income if the soundtrack is sold on iTunes. Anything is possible in the contract (though many things are 'customary'). With that said, the 'rate' will often vary by geography. Scoring a film in LA or NYC may cost more per min than say doing it here in Texas. And Austin could be higher than here in Houston. From what I can tell, a feature score in 2015 done by a composer friend (not me) here in Houston who has had cable credits (his films have been on Lifetime - not LMN) was about $150/min. Work has been harder to find in the last 6 to 12 months and I am not in that league quite yet :) So I would say my rate would currently come out to the $100/min ballpark.

Nicholas Patrick

I charge $300 a min... and yes, I am that good. But like Joel said work is hard to find write now. so I'll charge $100 a min DigitalTheoryProductions@gmail.com https://soundcloud.com/nicholas-patrick/sets/cinematic

Joel Irwin

Nicholas - a good Texas composer! There is one person here in that league whom I know (not the person I referred to above) - Jeff Walton, perhaps you know him (www.imdb.com/name/nm0910531).

Anthony D Paul

It's going to be a thriller. Something quick and simple, with credits that I would like to be no longer than ten minutes.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi Nicholas. This is Beth from the Stage 32 team, please refrain from soliciting for clients within forum thread posts. We have a site policy regarding self-promotion, as we prefer a more organic approach to relationship building and networking. Repeatedly posting your web site url within thread posts is considered "spamming" which may lead to suspension from the site. Please read through the Help section or perhaps read the site's "Terms of Use." Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions. Best to you!

Nicholas Patrick

Oh sorry about that. I had no intention of spamming. I thought it would be more convenient for the reader to click on my link in the same post as opposed to having to scroll up an find it

Anthony D Paul

As far as what kind of sound I'm looking for, a string sound would be nice. And another question comes up, how much time do you composers get to work on the music.

Jake Lefkowitz

I can do strings and a thriller, 10 minute short for 150$ (in total, not per minute). I will message you with my soundcloud and clips of films I've scored if you add me to your network (can't send everything in the amount of words we can use haha)

Nicholas Patrick

Anthony, I would think twice about going with Jake. Sure his price is affordable but you will be getting what you pay for. I have listenec to some of his work and for someone who went to Berklee it sounds quite amateur and the mixing is not very impressive either. We all use midi these days but the idea is to mix it so it sounds real. I've listen to the work on his page and with the exception of the guitar its painfully obvious that it is synthetic. Plus there appears to be a complete disconnect to his scores and what is happening on the screen. No offence to Jake, we all have to start somewhere. Sound is literally half the experience of a film and if you go cheap on the sound you'll diminish your film and it will never be what it could have been. I'm not saying go with me either, just ask yourself how much is excellence worth to you. Good luck

Jake Lefkowitz

lol you don't have any updated links or any actual demos of mine Nicholas. No need to be rude, Anthony can listen to everybodys submissions as he chooses and go from there. Also, not sure what you are talking about when you say there is a disconnect to whats happening on screen as I have posted no content with actual videos to go with my music except for two 25ish second short clips on my youtube flash score and one 25ish second clip on my youtube arrow score. And no, I did not score directly to those short clips. I put them on the video cause I wanted to and cause I ran out of pictures...Also, I just finished my second semester at Berklee, I didn't graduate yet.

Nicholas Patrick

To answer your question about time... Generally composers get the short end of the stick in post. We are usually given no time and asked to perform miracles as if what we do is simple. The more time you give your composer the better. In fact the truly seasoned directors work with the composer first. For example Steven Spielberg and John Williams typically have worked out the musical themes well before they start shooting. The same go's for Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer. Even Tim Burton and Denny Elfman have been know to work this way. That why their films seem so perfectly married to the music. So if you can get with a composer you trust and do it the way the pros. Do it. Otherwise, give your composer as much time as you can especially if they are doing everything by them selves. In Hollywood they have entire teams of people to help the composers.

Nicholas Patrick

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings Jake but I found your SoundCloud along with everyone else's and I just don't find you to be a competent composer or mixing engineer. Brandi on the other hand is quite competent and so is Joel. Anthony is clearly in need of honest and professional guidance. Unfortunately some film makers are drawn to cheaper composers because they believe they are getting a good deal. Even though you may think you are doing him a favor, in reality you are cheapening someone's art. This is a cut throat business and you can't go around getting your feelings hurt. I would recommend listening more analytically to film scores and how they are mixed. Also, I would recommend buying some higher quality samples. I personally find that dry samples with human imperfections are the best. You can put them in your own space and the combined iimperfection help it to sound real. Also look into QL Spaces and Altiverb. Although be warned that convolution reverbs get washy in the lower registers. And as a rule less is more. Good Luck Jake, don't give up

Jake Lefkowitz

I recommend waiting until you hear updated and actual demos before judging. Although, you are not wrong with Altiverb which I am looking to get as well as composer cloud. Great deal for students on that one.

Nicholas Patrick

I write a blog for stage 32. Have a look at it. https://www.stage32.com/blog/The-Five-Most-Powerful-Tools-a-Film-Score-C...

Jake Lefkowitz

Anthony, please feel free to message me if you would like to hear my current demos and projects so you make a fair judgement of my work yourself. Nicholas, I looked at your blog and I agree with those 5 things. However, I do use all of them nowadays, some better than others, and some more effectively in certain pieces of mine over other pieces of mine. Especially the older stuff, when I was just learning how to use logic and virtual instruments. I Agree those sounded awful and amateurish which is why I would like to send Anthony my current demos if he is interested. I just want an equal chance to apply, not someone telling him not to look at me when they haven't heard any updated content. I've been working all year on just improving my compositions, since entering Berklee, and I believe I've done that. More recently, I have really intensified my focus on mixing my compositions (none of those pieces are online for the public). So yeah, I just want a chance to apply haha. Thanks!

Shanika Freeman

@Jake Lefkowitz, I like your music! I say you should apply and let the client be the judge! I'm a composer and learning every step of the way. We all have to gain experience somehow. :)

Jake Lefkowitz

Thank you Shanika, i appreciate it! That's all I'm saying! Let Anthony decide for himself if he likes my work.

Dan Loredan Popescu

I rate the project! How many minutes i work is my own problem. I ask on the project a total prize.

Dan Loredan Popescu

You can check my creation on http//www.danloredan.com

Karthi Karunanidhi

i will done for free, since it is my first project

Gareth J. Rubery - Composer

Good morning! It's been a while since I checked Stage 32 but it's nice to be back with you guys, coffee in hand. It is true that you get what you pay for and that the more time us composers have, the FAR better the end result will be. The better films I have worked on, have the more experienced directors and they almost always get me on board before they have even start shooting. I just delivered music and sound design for a director in Texas and was given 2 months notice, worked 8 days, got paid well and had a handsome budget for musicians. It's no wonder that things are going well for that particular project. The director 'Robby Martinez' has a mindset of 'I am going to find the budget and make this picture memorable'. Period. To bring it back to the question about rate, composers need to know more details before giving a quote, as Brandi says, contact me directly if you would like to chat about working together and I am sure we can find something that will fit your budget - good budget = good music. Great budget = great music.

Anthony D Paul

Thanks for all your assistance.

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