Every time I go back home to visit family and friends, I get the same ol’ speech from my dear mother: when will you get a real job? For many – most, actually – being a musician and making a living out of doing what you like is not really a ‘job’ or ‘career -worthy’. The truth is entirely different, of course, and you know that already. You don’t have to be a wildly successful touring artist or have your face on top of the tabloids to declare yourself a musician. In fact, most of us live in the shadow and work quietly out of our home office or recording studio. If you’re into music composition, you definitely have a few different avenues in front of you and you might be able to build a solid career behind the scenes.
One of those avenues certainly is film composition. Just like the music industry, the film industry has changed dramatically in last decade and with the rise of indie music came the rise of indie films. If you’re hoping to write the score to one of Hollywood’s new release, you’ll most likely have to jump through hoops and get in touch with many inaccessible individuals only to get rejected because Trent Reznor got the job, once again. The secret lies in getting in touch with the up and coming individuals – you really need to forget about getting in touch with Steven Spielberg and target the future generation.
One of the best lessons I’ve learnt while studying music in college is that the pool of talent in academic institutions is ah-mazing. Nowadays, everybody goes to college – or almost everybody. This is because we’re all allured by the prestige of graduating from a top-notch college and the promise of a higher paycheck (even though we go and study something like music – which isn’t a real career, remember?). Take Jim Morrison, for example. He attended UCLA. Can you imagine wandering the halls of a university and meeting the one person that might not only make a remarkable contribution to the music scene but could also decide to start a band with you and have you be all part of it? Music composers can get that chance too. Now I’m not saying you need to attend college, per se. I’m saying you need to mingle with the students.
By building relationships with film writers film music composers and producers currently studying their craft in college, you might get opportunities to score their project and have your work be heard by influential faculty and industry peers. Why wouldn’t you take this opportunity? So, instead of thinking that you could write the music for the next Mission Impossible or work hard at getting in touch with today’s big shots, establish yourself as a hard-working and competent music composer amongst the up and coming film industry moguls.