Composing : Getting Work By Posting Music by Joel Irwin

Joel Irwin

Getting Work By Posting Music

Anyone here who posts music or links to music get much work that way? (I ask the same question in the Facebook Group "Film Composers United"). It seems to me that composers will listen to other composer's music that way, but like anything else in the music industry, prospective filmmakers will not just randomly (or perhaps sequentially - :) ) listen to music of people who post their wares here. When a filmmaker needs music, imho, they consider the ones they have worked with already or ask around for recommendations or perhaps consider the ones they have met personally at mixers, film festivals, etc. Posting to an internet group of any type seems to me not much different than posting a resume on a job search site like etc. So I am wondering why people do it? Is it just to cover the bases in addition to the other conventional ways of networking. I am a member of various professional film industry and music industry groups and film industry "meetup groups". However, I have found that working with other filmmakers especially through the various 'film competitions' (like 48hour film project and others like 168film), has been the main avenue for me to connect with an find scoring jobs on films. Then once I connect with a filmmaker (often I am the first composer they have worked with), they are more likely to want to use me on additional films. For example, I have two IMDB credits with a filmmaker (initially a 48 hour film and then a short). Now I am on crew to score his next short being shot next month. Perhaps the way people market themselves who live in the LA area are different from the way we here in Texas have to find local filmmakers to collaborate with.

Nicki Kris

Hi Joel, for the most part I have had the same experiences you have, but I keep doing it since you never know who you might connect with and it only takes one person to give you a shot. I just keep telling myself to hang in there, something will happen. Please do the same and don't ever give up! All the best, NK

Megan McDuffee

I couldn't agree with you more. However, one of my biggest projects to date was that the filmmakers simply stumbled across my website and liked what they heard. It really just takes persistence. I'd like to think that all the 'cold' emailing and posting I do makes a difference, but who really knows? :)

Jennifer Rose

I used to worry that if I posted anything that someone might "borrow" it without permission. I had a bad experience with giving a demo to someone a long time ago. But isn't this simply keeping up with the technology of the times? Before the internet we used CDs, tapes, records, etc. This simply seems to be a more immediate way to market ourselves and make those connections that we were only ever able to make by traveling far distances or uprooting and moving to LA, etc.

Joel Irwin

Jennifer - I agree... for years while others were 'demo'ing small 30 sec clips of their music, I had posted mostly all of my music online. I was not concerned about my music being used illegally anymore than I was concerned about accidentally infringing on someone else's (after my first few years, I decided life is too short to worry about every piece of music out there). I was an early participant in many 'music collaboration' site including the famous (and long gone, unfortunately), I developed many connections there including a singer/lyricist who 10 years later, we still collaborate. When tonos closed, I moved to which provided me with some collaboration but not as much. I realized in the late 00s as the social networks and music sites like reverbnation began getting popular that if my goal was to 'get my music heard' - I was much better off 'parking my music' somewhere else. I chose 'icompositions' since I was getting more 'plays' there than anywhere else (I'm averaging 100 plays a week - over 36,000 plays since I have joined) and soundcloud (where most others park) has a pricetag. I tried collaborating on various other locations including the various ascap and recording academy sites and even places like societyofcomposers (which didn't work out since it was too academic and leaned mainly to 'contemporary music'). So I looked on groups on FB and here and what I have concluded so far, that they are frequented mostly by music people who want to get other music people to hear there music. I don't see much collaboration going on, neither have I seen either here or in the FB group (Film Composers United) - much interaction between composers and film makers. As far as collaboration in general, I have lurked occasionally in the various lounged and job sections here but it ends up looking 'to me' like a craigslist or job ad -- it gets posted and you get a slew of responders. Good for the filmmaker, I guess. That is the 'reality', I know of how things get done. So far, I have found one connection here in the few years I have been a member and the main reason I got it was because everyone ahead of me wanted to be paid and I offered to do it for just IMDB credit. My goal here is to just pass on information and experience - 'take what you want'. Not looking to change anything. As I mentioned elsewhere (today) - for me the best way to get work is via networking, knowledge of my work, and previous collaborations. That is why I am flying to LA next month to be at the 168 film festival - the film I scored "Gift Of Grace" was nominated as one of two finalists in its category and the one other category it was eligible for. My score was not eligible for 'best original soundtrack' - but it will be heard and so I am there to network. IMHO - a much better investment of my time (though I will not forsake this site). The film can not yet be seen publically but here is a link to the soundtrack:

Andy Kotz

Joel... Your assessment is correct to a point. When you assume that a filmmaker is getting their films scored through friendships and word-of-mouth, I'd have to agree when you're referring to upper-tier filmmakers. Everyone (to be honest) sorts through their personal resources before trying an unknown commodity. That includes up-and-coming filmmakers, mostly due to lack of funding. But what happens when the filmmaker doesn't find what he/she is looking for? That's when sites like these become useful and not before. The other thing to consider is talent vs. talent. We're not all playing on an equal field here. There are some of us who are still beginners and intermediates and still those of us who are more advanced. It's a game of matching talents, along with the person(s) having to sacrifice something. Be it time, in exchange for credit or... money for talent. Bottom line is: It's either a passionate hobby or the intent is a career and if it's the latter, be prepared to sacrifice. It doesn't hurt to be better than the rest... because ultimately, that's what it will boil down to.

Joel Irwin

Andy - I am in almost total agreement with you. I would only suggest the following - (1) I treat people not at different talent levels but rather that we are all on the same road but at different points. With that in mind, I do not look at other composers as 'competition'. If they are ahead of me on that road, if there is a gig more suited to them than me, I would not hesitate to try to help them secure it. (2) I am not sure whether there is truly a 'passionate hobby'. If you are a composer and it is your primary interest (even above your day job), then that is your primary profession - even if it is not your primary income or you have no income from it at all (yet). I tell people here to never say they are 'aspiring'. I do agree with you totally about having to search for talent. The question are where are 'the watering holes'? Are there places online where both filmmakers and composers hang out, meet, and collaborate. I came here to question whether the 'composer lounge' here on stage32 is such a place. I didn't know (and still don't)? Do both parties come here? Or does stage32 really just provide the equivalent of a 'job board' (or a craigslist) where a filmmaker says "I need someone" and then gets a dozen or so responses from people who 'happened' to see his job posting. Now I may have missed something on Stage32 but from what I can tell, it is a 'pull model' - you have to go to something to tell its there. It's not push (or as Apple calls it 'notifications'). So for example, there was a composer job posted two days ago which you responded to. I didn't even know it was there until tonight - by now it may have been too late. I would love to see stage32 become more of an opportunity to meet and collaborate. All I was wondering initially at the beginning of all of this, is whether the composing lounge is 'there' yet and if not, what do we think should be done next.

Simon © Simon

I really believe it is networking. Face to face. Being proactive and going to meetups. Kill with kindness. Sometimes shyness can be misconstrued with vanity. Take it with a grain of salt' If you can score 19 shorts in a festival you will be known for that not your FB page, Not an email, nor a funny person at the meetups. When someone wants examples you have em, current, and variety hopefully... I also do not think it is out of line to ask for wear and tear on your gear. You gotta write on something and that is only going to last so many times. Unless it is a wind instrument, although that too needs a reed. Unless it is a recorder from the 3rd grade. Keep it reasonable. IF someone wants to use one of your 30 seconds to spot their track to it. Let em, get credit and a copy of it. You never know if the spot came out good. That is what a composer does. Spot the track after the fact. So that is my .02

Rob Mossotti

I would agree with you 100% Brandi. Very well put. I think it took me a while to realize that but you are absolutely right. Relationship building is key. It can present opportunities for collaboration and learning from others in the business. I think networking is important for getting work in any profession but especially in the arts where the odds are stacked against us. It also says something about your character. Because if there is one thing I've learned in this path is that there is abundance of scammers looking to take advantage of struggling artists. The more honest friends you can make with similar aspirations the better off you will be. We starving artists have to stick together.

Arhynn Descy

While I agree with the above posts that most of my connections come from meeting people face to face, I have recently been approached on 2 occasions by complete strangers asking me to score something for them...they had stumbled on my music online. So it does work to put it there! I do think that we need to be paid for our work as musicians and that people seem to the weird notion that it doesn't cost anything to write and produce music. Too many people want music for free and this should change. But I mainly blame the productions that have a budget for everything... except the music. On the other hand, if someone bothers to steal my track to listen to or use in some low or no -budget project, my feeling is 'I must be doing something right for them to want it, yay!!' Obviously I would want to be paid for a properly funded project and get royalties etc.

Joel Irwin

Hey guys - I love all the comments and agree with them all. Putting music online (I have been putting out complete works for over 10 years - not just snipets) and networking are indeed both important. Just wanted to refocus a bit to the original question as to whether putting it here makes sense and whether it is being heard by more than just other composers. And if so, should we as composers post links to our works elsewhere in lounge posts or put it in our profile in 'audio/video' (which is more 'passive') or both. I can tell you, no one is coming to my profile unsolicited IMHO and that other similar groups like Facebook's "Film Composers United" group seem to be most composers wanting to get heard by other composers.

Arhynn Descy

@Joel (Irwin), I agree entirely with you. I never post music in forums that are only for composers....I see no real point, unless one is asking for advice of some sort.

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