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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.

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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, 12:41 PM   #7
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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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, 12:56 PM   #9
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I was watching a cartoon Archer last week and one of the characters made a joke about it.

"Does anyone else hear non-diegetic sounds?"

She brought it up every time there was a musical transition or something going on. It's the episode where they go on a rich guys airplane and then to an underwater sea lab.
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Old 09-24-2015, 12:57 PM   #10
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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   #11
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 09-24-2015, 01:16 PM   #12
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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, 01:43 PM   #13
sfoster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by directorik View Post
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.
Yeah he probably meant none at all.
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Old 09-24-2015, 04:12 PM   #14
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IMDB shows 3 songs listed in No Country's soundtrack, and since there's no score in that film, I'm guessing they are coming from car stereos or speakers in a lobby or other interior scenes. That qualifies as Diegetic music. Anything that makes sense in the reality of the film, and the characters themselves can hear it.

In my original statement I said it was more of a trend in indie film, since almost every studio film has a score or heavy non-diegetic soundtrack.

Some great examples of the indie films I'm talking about are:

Cache
The Sacrifice
L'enfant
Amour
Dogtooth
Menthol
Computer Chess
Funny Games
Even The Birds had no music

There's many more, but I can't think of them off the top of my head. Might be more of a foreign film thing looking at this list, but all amazing films.
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Old 09-24-2015, 05:15 PM   #15
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Coming at it from the other side, I have been hired as a composer by friends, by friends of friends through recommendations, by submitting my reel and/or demoing a scene for a project I thought looked interesting, hanging a flyer in the local film school, being asked by posting right here on this board! I've been to a couple local networking events and passed out business cards and/or cds. I've been called in before the film starts shooting, and I've been called in a week before the first screening (on a short, thankfully).

As a composer, my preference would be after the film is shot (maybe even when there is a rough cut). A firm deadline for picture lock, and a fair amount of time from the locked edit to final music delivery (you need time to mix, too, so bear that in mind when you set up the first screening the day the cameras stop shooting).

As far as musician friends you know, I agree that scoring does require certain knowledge and skills, but there are plenty of people studying exactly that. If you know a bunch of musicians, it's possible that you know one that is studying film composition. Also, depending on the project, it's possible that a "band score" (a band doing intrumentals in their own style, maybe even augmented with some traditional score touches) might be just what you need. It's risky, but when it's good it really pays off (Neil Young's score to Dead Man is easily my favorite thing he's ever done).

Working with composers who are just starting off is an investment for both of you, particularly if you are starting out yourself. You get original music for cheap or free, they get practical experience to learn the craft. And you're not spending tons of money to get music for films that are not as great as you probably think they are. Which isn't to say that you can't find good stock music, or that the composers will do a great job and not drop the ball (lord knows I have done both). But you build a relationship that in a few years, will pay off for everyone in your film community.

Oh, and "only diagetic music" was one of the Dogme 95 requirements, so lots of those out there.
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