For any aspiring film composer, the path to becoming noticed is remarkably similar to that of any other potential musician. Achieving success is difficult, there’s lots of competition, and to get started, you have to get someone to take note of your work.
Here are some things to keep in mind should you be interested in starting your career as a film composer.
1. Location, location, location!
It’s not enough to be able to contact production companies or film projects through the Internet and show your work. It might work but most of the time, this method works for already-established composers who have experience.
For the newcomers, you should consider physically moving to an entertainment-rich area like Los Angeles and get a job at any agency or studio (you will likely start out as support staff). You’ll be in a good starting position to find potential employers for your music.
2. It’s about who you know, not what you know.
Start by finding a decent job at a studio and surrounding yourself with experienced people in the entertainment industry, such as music producers. Next, it’s a matter of creating relationships with them.
Before you can even present your work, you have to present yourself to the potential employers as a likable, hard-working person with an interest in music. You should be familiar with the employee directory of where you work and find the right people, like the supervisor in charge of music for entertainment projects or film directors.
3. Persistence should follow failure.
Finally, one thing to expect from your attempts at networking is failure. It’s an unfortunate fact of socializing and becoming employed, especially in the entertainment industry, that it will take multiple attempts before the right employer takes note of you.
Failure should be followed with another attempt at getting to know the director or producer next to you, combined with reworking and revising your portfolio so you have something better to show your potential employers. It helps to know what genre of music the director is looking for or to find a director whose films matches your genre of work.
It’s one thing to find work as a composer, but it’s another thing to actually get started. In this extremely competitive industry, the people you know are the key to your career, even more so than your work.
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Kevin Kwon is a recent graduate from UC Berkeley, currently 23 years old. He works in San Francisco and hopes to continue in the graduate studies regarding the field of psychology.