Composing : General Question by Jim Defalco

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Jim Defalco

General Question

Hey everyone! Production starts on my feature film on Saturday, and I have a question about finding a composer to create a score. The budget for my film is super low, around $6,000, and was wondering, with the budget in mind how much it would cost to hire a composer to create maybe 4 tunes (45 seconds long each or so, instrumental only) to use in the film? Would $200 be a fair price? I intend to create an Indiegogo after production to raise funds for things, including festival submission fees, more compensation for the cast and crew as well as a composer if the price is more than I think. I know there are royalty free music sites out there, but if those don't fit, I'd rather have original music.

Joel Irwin

Its all subjective and will vary by composer and even location. Some will even work for free or deferred payment. It also depends on what you mean by 'tune' - if you really meant using using parts of longer commercial music that would mean something different then say 4 'cues' which would be music to support a scene but would not standalone by itself as a musical piece (other than to be part of a 'soundtrack'). If that doesn't make sense to you, we can elaborate. Also some composers (including myself), would prefer to be sole composers (or part of a composing team) meaning you would use only music from us/the team or pre-written commercial music (such as songs or parts of songs). Those who have this preference, would like to have some consistency across the soundtrack. If two composers with different 'styles' scored, a composer could feel that their 'reputation' could depend not only on the quality of their music but the quality of the music from the other composer. I only mention the above since for most feature films, it is likely that they need more than 3 minutes of music - especially considering you normally would have music behind the end titles. With all that said, If 'hypothetically' you were to want me to score, I would charge $100 a minute and would be willing to defer payment.

Matt Milne

depends on the composer. I have scored most projects for free over the last 11 years. Only commercially viable films and games have paid up post-distribution. Like all things, find people you can get along with, take it from there.

Van Wampler

are you talking like pop tunes or like orchestral scores?

Samuel Estes

Jim - I think its great you are doing this, $200 to some is a very fair price, specially in light of the budget of $6k. Since you are looking at under 4min, an experienced composer could easily crank this out in 1-2 days, and while $200 is a bit low for the 20 hours (or so it would take) - I think for the right person this may be a great thing.

Nathan Bell

Haha for a student like me, it sounds like you were giving me a brick of gold

Jim Defalco

Thanks Jim, I have found around 4 composers who are currently creating sample scores for me to choose from. It's a romantic comedy so it's basic cues and underscore. There are a few montages throughout as well.

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