What was your first composing job like? What kind of a project was it? Did you obtain help from anybody? How did you get the job? Thanks for all of your answers, I'm very curious!
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Thank you, Brandi! Very interesting :)
And you got your first job from stage32 members?
Oops, sorry. Yeah got it.
Honestly, my first real gig was an indie feature I found on Craigslist in 2006. 70 min of music for a few grand. I demoed for it and composed a few scenes and the director loved it. From there I worked on my make-shift gigastudio rig with very little sample libraries and made a lot of my own sounds - turned out to be a score I was pretty happy with. The film never got picked up, but it got me my first IMDB credit, and helped me really understand and navigate how to work in this industry. Also helped me realize, I didn't want to be just a traditional composer, I really wanted to make sounds....
I didn't start with such a big bang as some of those people above. My first film was technically not a film - it was a story told live as a 'visualization' on a men's retreat for non-profit I do community service for (the mankind project, www.mkp.org). I took a story about connecting with our 'little boy' and scored music to follow the story. To this day (going on 7 years), this 20 minute piece remains my most listened to track online (www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=122376 full score; or www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=122248 for just the final theme). Next my daughter was going for her graduate degree in education and needed music for her powerpoint presentation on categorizing animals. So I had to write music for each category of animals - fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, etc. and I had one day to do it (Geranimation - www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=151171). For the first couple of years I chose not to just write music to libraries - I found things to write music to or I wrote pieces for live performance. Then when I really wanted to concentrate on scoring, I ended with being on crews for a number of shorts that never saw the light of day. In some cases all I had was the theme I wrote such as "Without A Home" (www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=122240) a homeless documentary that was two months behind another homeless documentary shot in the exact same locations - so it got shelved. For three years I was on crew for the Houston 48 hour competition and for one reason or another could not score or the film never made it to score. So in 2011, the local 48 hour film producer let me compose music that they used in between showing the competitive films (Houston Hoedown - www.icompositions.com/music/song.php?sid=163440). Finally my first IMDB credit in 2013 was "Curveball" (https://youtu.be/Rf14DZWbK-c). I was only allowed to score the opening and final scenes and end credits. It was sci-fi and I made it sound at the end like an episode from the "outer limits". Great way to cut my teeth. My 2nd IMDB credit in 2013 moved me to the next level - it won the Houston 48 MVP competition and then moved on to represent Houston at Filmapalooza. Placed 2nd to Paris (more awards than any other US film that year) - a total of 12 awards across those two competitions (https://youtu.be/jXfajMVeT54).
Student films and theater work. Theater is always an interesting process since directors don't have much experience work with composers. You tend to get free rein.
What kind of a project was it? It was for Paramount Pictures Daytime Television. A daily show called "Leeza" on NBC (Leeza Gibbons was the host) Did you obtain help from anybody? Composing/Recording help? None. How did you get the job? A friend of mine from a band I was in during high school worked on the show. He heard about the opportunity, called another friend first who had a "proper" studio (he turned it down) and then called me. What was your first composing job like? I was put in front of a director for the show who asked if I could replace a John Williams cue only because the license for the Williams piece, which was a very short bumper, was just too expensive for the show. I said "yes". I tweaked all the best brass patches and samples I could load in at once, panned everything pretty hard and added the biggest reverb I could find, aiming to fake my way into the biggest sound possible. I was happy with what I came up with but in comparison to a John Williams piece performed by the London Phil...? Nope. It just was not going to stand up. I turned it in but only because I committed to doing so. I was glad I did though because I got a call the next day saying they "loved it". It also resulted in a phone call the following week asking for another piece and then (after another week passed) the invitation to score for the show's in-house production music library. The following year, I wrote and recorded the theme for the show's final season. It was incredibly lucky, and a blessed moment, BUT that whole "preparation meets opportunity" thing really helped. That being said, I don't know if I would jump in like that knowing what I know today, but I am grateful to my earlier, unknowing self for doing so.
First composing gig was for musical theatre, which resulted in getting published by Samuel French. First film was SAMMYVILLE (also released as DARK WOODS), starring Chase Masterson. I was a recent graduate of USC, but both of those projects came from my undergraduate theatre friends at the University of Iowa. SAMMYVILLE got me an interview in Film Score Monthly (because the Iowa-alumn director knew Jeff Bond), and that helped get the ball rolling. I still work and collaborate with people I knew and worked with as an undergrad. That first musical theatre gig was with playwright Jeff Goode, and he and I have gone on to write songs for his tv work, including "The Hubba Hubba Hula" for The Disney Channel's AMERICAN DRAGON: JAKE LONG.
Wow! Thank you for all the stories, it is very encouraging and makes me want to have my own first gig!