Composing : I'm finding it very difficult to find music projects to work on !!! by Alistair Melville

Alistair Melville

I'm finding it very difficult to find music projects to work on !!!

Hello Everyone, Just thought I would post here and let you know who I am. I'm a music composer who has worked with Studio 51 for a few years. Maybe you know the name Dave Trotter. He runs Studio 51. Well I feel I have put in some hard yards there and learned the tools of the trade by writing lots of short cues etc etc. Now I would like to get into my first real project and start composing music for a film project. I have approached many film producers here on Stage 32 but as yet have had no luck. Its very hard getting people to take you seriously when you have no music credits to your name. Just asking for some help if that is OK.

Steve Hudson

I did two online indies by going onto the craiglist sections for video productions, acting, tv, directing ect. and asking them if they needed music for their movies. You'd be surprised at how many actually do.

Alistair Melville

Hi Steve so kind of you to point me in the right direction. Thank you so much. Can you tell me how to find the craiglist sections. Are they here on Stage 32 or on another site ? Sorry I'm a bit of a new comer to all this. Thanks again Steve.

Joel Irwin

Two things to consider as you continue to go for the higher budget films. #1 - get on a competitive team. It gets you an opportunity to work with lots of people and make contacts, it gives you a chance to work under pressure and you can score for practice and it will get into a short (often with IMDB credit). The most well known is the "48 hour film project". Here in Houston, it is the biggest local film industry event of the year - perhaps 60 or so teams compete every May (weekend varies by city). The winning team moves on to compete against other cities internationally at Filmapalooza and I believe 6 of those films go to Cannes. Longshot - but be in it for the above reasons - the winning is gravy. Personally, the competition I liked the best is the 168film festival in LA in Sept where competition is also in May (You get a week so the composer has a bit more time). The film is created against bible scripture and the festival in in LA so you get to interact with perhaps more 'significant' personnel when you go to the festival and the people coming are international. The awards ceremony has more of an "Oscar" feel if the film is lucky enough to be nominated as finalist (our entry this year won the category it competed in - see www, #2 - The other thing to do is call yourself a 'composer' and not just a 'film composer' and write for other medium especially live performance. For example, while I was waiting to score my next film (a long 30 to 40 min short), I wrote two orchestral pieces - first a live piece for an intermediate school string orchestra ( called Mosaic and the the complete electronic orchestral suite ( Turned out the director changed his mind and I won't be using the suite for the film - that's OK - got quite a few listens online already and it kept me occupied. Then I wrote a seemingly simple jazz piece lead sheet that I thought would not go anywhere and yet, now two different jazz bands will both be perform that piece called "Twosie Too" in separate concerts next month (stay tuned). Hope this gives you some ideas.

Alistair Melville

Hi Joel, Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my question. I will certainly look into all those connections. I just woke up and played your string and orchestral versions of Mosaic, so beautiful, with great tenderness. Very moving ! thank you for sharing your wonderful compositions here on Stage32. Which strings samples do you use when composing ? R U a Logic user by any chance ?

Samuel Estes

Hi Alistair, My first advice would to be put some music up on your Stage32 page. In the 1-2 minutes I had to look at your profile (which is what a Director/Producer would do), I could find no useful things to let me know your chops, so doesn't matter if you have credits yet. I would just start writing like crazy, learn how to use the sample libraries that are out there and look at your competition. I know this may be a little blunt - if you are not better than the 80-90% that is posting, getting a paid gig will almost impossible. (also, that goes with my standard advice: don't ever do a free gig - you are worth more than that, unless it's for a friend) Directors and producers have to be extremely comfortable to work with anyone. Yes credits help, but your product helps more.

Alistair Melville

Hey Samuel thank you for the great advice. Very much appreciated. I've started to post quite a few of my latest compositions feel free to check out my work. Best wishes

Joel Irwin

Sorry not to have responded sooner - damn 'day job' keeps getting in the way :) (I'm a wedding videographer). Alistair - I'm still on the gigastudio plaform though I anticipate moving more towards Kontakt sets in 2015. My primary orchestral samples continue to be Miroslav for ensemble and Dan Dean for solo. I have not been using sequencers at all for the last 3 years (though I still have an can use Sonar Producer). The reason is quite simple - I have been taking various classes including composition continuously since 2003. The audio engineering department is well versed in 'piano roll'. However, the music instructors are not. So if I want to get my music reviewed/critiqued, it has to be in sheet music. So my primary tool for composing both live and electronic continues to be Sibelius. By the way, here are some reasons to take classes - in addition to learning new things! (1) you get to meet and interact with other musicians who can perform your music and (2) it creates deadlines and helps encourage you to write new material. I'll talk about this again in a couple of weeks. As you already know, my jazz improv class generated that string orchestra version of Mosaic for those middle school students. Well here is one more - what might seem as something as simple as a class assignment can end up turning to wonderful performance piece. Again in that jazz class, one of the students was performing with a very unusual instrument called a "Guzheng" - it is pentatonic and is pretty much limited to 5 notes. So we had an assignment to write a piece for her - I sat down of course and wrote two and so I called them both "Twosies". The instructor picked the second which I amply called, "Twosie Too". It was originally a Bossa using just 5 notes - it had a pretty amazing and cute melody and as I listened to it, I realized it sounded very much like (meaning it has the same 'feel') as the old Steely Dan hit, "Do it again". So I annotated it to sound as such. The middle of course gets improvised. The class will be performing it next month in concert. We practiced it this past Thu night (I played on piano) and I just love it! So what else did I do? I took it along with another two pieces to the more advanced Mon night Jazz class and bartered my videography skills (I am a wedding videographer) - I record their concert at no cost if they play my pieces - so "Twosie Too" gets played live in two different concerts next month! I can wait to share it here. :)

Chris Boardman

you know the path to getting notice is to be focused about your message and how you present it. Personal branding and online presence management is essential in today's world. I'm releasing a free ebook that will show you how to establish your brand. Get it out if you want to know where to start: ...just trying to help out by sharing my experiences. Good Luck!

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