Here is something possibly controversial that we may not all agree on. Today I was talking to a filmmaker about a potential project he wants me to score. Partway through the conversation, he mentioned he uses multiple composers in a film and chooses between cues for each place. I told him (especially as I am not getting paid for the project - it is a competitive film) that I understand why he uses that approach especially for a time sensitive project, but I can not work on a film where there are multiple composers. My main reasons are:
1. The quality of my perceived music is based on the 'least common denominator' - meaning that I can have great cues but if one of the composers has inadequate ones, it 'drags down' all the music and all the composers (IMHO).
2. I would like to think that each composer's music has an 'identity' and a 'sound' - perhaps even a 'brand' (when we get good enough :) ). I spend a lot of time insuring the 'consistency' of my music across all the cues and often times, carry thematic work or other melodies, arrangements, and/or rhythms across my cues which helps tie them together. Jumping between two or more composer written cues makes the connections weaker at best.
Now I have no issue with the use of completed commercial music used in places in the films (such as bands, singer songwriters, etc.) - that is why there are music supervisors (or at least someone wearing that hat). Most of that music (if not all) has lyrics and both the music and the meanings of the words are important to the place it is used in the film (except perhaps the end titles if there is a commercial song).
Also I have no issue if I am paid for the cues and they are not used. In fact, I know of many cases in Hollywood where a scored film was thrown out and another composer re-scored the film (though the original composer got paid). Also there are many occasions where multiple composers are used but not on 'equal footing' - one heads the 'music department' and the other composers contribute as dictated by the composer. Hans Zimmer has often worked that way.
So what are your experiences and opinions on this topic?
By the way, they got back to me this afternoon and agreed to hire me to score by myself. I am honored that despite the time sensitivity of this project they trusted me enough to complete the scoring of the film as they require.