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Old 09-23-2015, 01:27 PM   #1
initiativeaudio
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How Do You Find Composers?

Title pretty much says it all. Where do you look for your composers and at what stage of the process do you tend to start looking. I'm super interested to see what people's habits are, what websites they frequent and whatnot.

Also, is original music something that you find worth investing in or are you more likely to find affordable library music?
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:49 PM   #2
mlesemann
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I've gotten composers for a score through personal contacts and recommendations.

I haven't used library music, but I HAVE licensed a lot of music directly from performers, often (although not always) for little or no money. In several cases, my colleagues and I have found terrific musicians on YouTube, then reached out to them directly to get permission to use their work. This includes both original work and performances of classical music.
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:52 PM   #3
directorik
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Personal contacts and recommendations. I have never frequented websites looking
for a composer. I start looking during the early stages of pre-production. I much
prefer original music and feel it's an important investment.
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Old 09-23-2015, 11:11 PM   #4
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Your friends that are musicians.

Cold calling and paying market rate.

College students?
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:16 AM   #5
moonshieldmedia
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I'm lucky that I have a lot of really talented musician friends and contacts, but I usually only contact them when I need a pre recorded "song" or "track" to lay over a scene, if that's the vibe I'm going for.

The reason being is I am very picky about originally composed music. It's an incredibly hard skill to master and very few musicians, no matter how talented, have the experience necessary to deconstruct a scene and figure out the best piece of music to write for it, and be able to understand the necessary dynamics, and how to use themes.

Chances are your talented friend doesn't have dozens of years of film composing experience, and he/she will just write what they think is cool or beautiful, or come up with a cliche sound that they've seen in another film, etc.

That being said, it really depends on the type of film you're making. A modern trend in indie film these days is to not have any non-diegetic music. Films have become quieter and tend to lean toward "realism." Bombastic John Williams scores are not necessarily in style anymore. Basically you just need to ask yourself what tone you want for your film. If you NEED an original score, and you have the budget, hire a professional, maybe someone who's scored something you've heard and liked in the past.

Edit: sorry if that sounded preachy or doesn't apply to you, but I was just venting some thoughts I've never expressed outside my own head before

Also, I usually start thinking about music VERY early on because maybe a I want to write a long opening scene with a series of establishing shots and music playing over it, or maybe I'm better off skipping the music and jumping right into the scene. Those are decisions I try to make while writing, not in the editing room.

Last edited by moonshieldmedia; 09-24-2015 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:14 AM   #6
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There are also many composers that offer their services on this very site, like every few days. Look through some older posts.


Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshieldmedia View Post
A modern trend in indie film these days is to not have any non-diegetic music. Films have become quieter and tend to lean toward "realism."
Interesting. First time I've heard that term, so I looked it up. Are there some examples of movies like that that stand out to you?

Maybe trailers should trend that direction. Seems every movie trailer has that big orch blast....."Bum..........buuum.........buuuuum! Heck, I parodied it, myself:




I remember when video games, like Resident Evil and Silent Hill pushed the trend of ambient alien tones and drones. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT is a good example of that. In that case, I really find the score effective. However, as a movie fan, many of my friends have conversations about how a lot of scores suck, nowadays. We wax nostalgic about how hummable the older themes were, like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or THE TERMINATOR. Once in a while, a score like INCEPTION's takes me by surprise.

Alternately, I loved the sparseness of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. It depends on the movie, the style, the mood, etc.
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoopicman View Post
Alternately, I loved the sparseness of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. It depends on the movie, the style, the mood, etc.
The first time i saw the movie i do not realize that there is no music, because the movie is so intense. This reminds me that "cast away" has no music too, as tom hanks live on that island.

As a musician i truly have to say: to use silence (in the right moment) is the hardest part of composing for games and movies.

I also love the "silent hill" soundtracks. They have a great intensity in terms of atmosphere and the mood. Since i was hearing that in the games, i know that is will do something like this in the future...well, today i collect every metallsound i can find or record it by my own. I love it.

Ok....enough off topic - sorry for that
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:53 PM   #8
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshieldmedia View Post
A modern trend in indie film these days is to not have any non-diegetic music. Films have become quieter and tend to lean toward "realism."
A term I didn't know either.

Of the top of my head I can't think of any films that use diegetic music;
defined as music represented as coming from instruments in the story
space. I know of a few that have no score at all. What modern indie films
did you have in mind?
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:57 PM   #9
sfoster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
Of the top of my head I can't think of any films that use diegetic music;
True Detective Season 2 did it a lot.
they would hang out in the bar almost every episode and a chick with a guitar would sing and play as they talked.
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Old 09-24-2015, 01:12 PM   #10
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfoster View Post
True Detective Season 2 did it a lot.
they would hang out in the bar almost every episode and a chick with a guitar would sing and play as they talked.
Okay. I guess I misunderstood.

I know a lot of movies (and TV) where source music is played. "True Detective"
has a wonderful score by T Bone Burnett. I thought moonshine was talking
about something different. Movies with without any non-diegetic music.
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoopicman View Post
First time I've heard that term, so I looked it up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
A term I didn't know either.
Diagetic is not a term I've ever heard used in the business, I only came across it in academia. Using the term to professionals screams "student" to me but maybe that will change as time passes. As I understand it, it's not a very precise term, or rather, it's not used very precisely. Basically any music which occurs on screen, as part of the soundscape of the scene, can be described as diagetic: Elevator music, music from a TV, radio or PA system (say in a shopping mall), as well as actual live music, say in the case of a band or musician playing on screen. As a general rule, diagetic music will be "futz'ed" in some way, to simulate the acoustic of the scene/location and the device playing back the music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Score&Sound View Post
As a musician i truly have to say: to use silence (in the right moment) is the hardest part of composing for games and movies.
It's not up to the musician/composer when to use silence. That's a decision for the sound designer and director, and silence is virtually never used in film anyway. Maybe that's why you've had such a hard time trying to use it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by moonshieldmedia View Post
A modern trend in indie film these days is to not have any non-diegetic music. Films have become quieter and tend to lean toward "realism." Bombastic John Williams scores are not necessarily in style anymore.
I don't follow indie film scene assiduously enough to say exactly what the most current indie trend is, but films in general have become louder rather than quieter. John Williams' style scores are still in demand, although obviously it depends on the genre of the film, but Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore and the like are as sought after as ever.

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Old 09-25-2015, 01:05 PM   #12
directorik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioPostExpert View Post
Diagetic is not a term I've ever heard used in the business, I only came across it in academia.
I mentioned the term to to a composer friend yesterday as we were
leaving a screening at the Hollywood film Festival. He just laughed and
said the same thing; he hadn't heard the term since leaving college.




Quote:
Originally Posted by AudioPostExpert View Post
I don't follow indie film scene assiduously enough to say exactly what the most current indie trend is,
I do. I spent that last two day seeing indie films at a festival (3 each day)
and will see 2 today and Saturday. That's why moonshield's statement
jumped out at me. I haven't seen this trend in indie films these days.
Sure, some films use no score at all, but the majority of indie films I see
do.

moonshield, I'm pleased to say I've seen all the movies you mentioned. I
recall "Menthol" using some underscore. But I saw it at the SBFF over a
year ago. "Computer Chess" and the Haneke films are good examples.
I guess I'm just not seeing the trend you are.
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Old 09-26-2015, 02:17 AM   #13
moonshieldmedia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
moonshield, I'm pleased to say I've seen all the movies you mentioned. I
recall "Menthol" using some underscore. But I saw it at the SBFF over a
year ago. "Computer Chess" and the Haneke films are good examples.
I guess I'm just not seeing the trend you are.
I was at that same Menthol screening! The director is a friend of mine. And I think you might be right, there's undertones on one particular scene in the climax. I remember him telling me he caved and decided to add them at the last minute.

I still haven't thought of any new examples, but as someone above mentioned, all of the Dogme 95 films follow that as a rule. Maybe it's not as current of a trend as I thought, but I do stand by my statement that films are becoming quieter. Alcove mentioned films are actually getting louder, and he's right when you're talking about the mix itself, but I'm talking about overall use of music. If you watch movies from the 80s and 90s there's music pouring over every scene at different dynamic levels. Even scenes where it's just 2 people casually talking there'll be some light strings of whatever in the BG. Nowadays, most directors and composers leave those scenes completely to the sound designer and only come it with loud music when necessary.
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Old 04-10-2016, 02:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
I mentioned the term to to a composer friend yesterday as we were
leaving a screening at the Hollywood film Festival. He just laughed and
said the same thing; he hadn't heard the term since leaving college.





I do. I spent that last two day seeing indie films at a festival (3 each day)
and will see 2 today and Saturday. That's why moonshield's statement
jumped out at me. I haven't seen this trend in indie films these days.
Sure, some films use no score at all, but the majority of indie films I see
do.

moonshield, I'm pleased to say I've seen all the movies you mentioned. I
recall "Menthol" using some underscore. But I saw it at the SBFF over a
year ago. "Computer Chess" and the Haneke films are good examples.
I guess I'm just not seeing the trend you are.
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:41 PM   #15
sfoster
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I've had 4 composers so far tell me they were going to make me a track for a 3 minute short I did, so far none of them came through. One strung me along for months.

So I just use library tracks.. Hell maybe i will just teach myself the piano and get a keyboard. At least I would have someone reliable then.

It would probably take me 6 weeks to learn this, I have a lot of natural talent in many areas.

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