Music for the Film Industry
The film industry, like most creative industries, has also been through some major changes. Like the advertising and gaming industry, there is a lot of licensing of canned music being used as well. Filmmakers know that canned music will never compliment their film projects like a custom composition can because in almost all film projects, the music must live, breath and even “act” as a character right alongside the actual actors.
Mostly, all music composers, to be able to create music for motion pictures is the pinnacle of success. It is often the ultimate goal to be able to give a film project your signature sound. Today, there is no shortage of ambitious aspiring filmmakers. This is in part due to the new technologies that are readily available to easily record and edit film projects. Even the ability to affordably record high resolution 4K video on the average cell phone has inspired an entire generation of want to be filmmakers to follow their dreams in a way that it never has before. Back in the day, before the internet age, you pretty much had to be in Hollywood to even find film scoring opportunities.
With this new crop of filmmakers, it opens the doors to countless opportunities for composers as well. There is, of course, your traditional motion picture and TV projects. But in this internet streaming age, there is also YouTube filmmakers, social media filmmakers and a boom of independent filmmakers with respectable projects. Even these projects need sound and music. Granted these smaller projects often have no real budgets to work with, however, it is not always about money. The ability grows your credits and gain the technical experience is often more important than a quick payday. There are so many films being made on all levels that it makes finding a film project to work on a bit easier than it used to be. There are documentaries, student film projects, etc. As I stated earlier, credits and scoring experience is critical in finding more lucrative projects in the future.
The film arena is one we have the biggest aspirations for. Our goal is to get more involved in creating music for film and we have implemented a variety of strategies to increase our exposure in this area. Having a great deal of experience in the gaming world, we have scored a lot of game cinematics which in many ways are just short animated films. We also have our eye on scoring for long and short form animation film projects.
Like many creative fields, the key to achieving success in the film scoring world is an issue of “credits”. I consider it one of the most difficult musical fields to break into unless you have been mentored or have worked directly under some of the top working composers in the field. The same 10 to 12 composers are responsible for the music in most of the major films released each year. That does not mean that opportunities do not present themselves for very capable composers with strong skill but few credits.
Music for film is definitely an area where there is no shortage of strong competition. We measure up to the challenge because we feel the best man for the job is the composer with the most unique and strongest musical vision. By musical vision, we simply mean our approach to what mood and what we feel best compliments a film project. As a composer, I consider it one of music’s most exciting challenges possible to be able to see a rough draft of a film that has no music and being asked to give that film a musical identity. I cannot help but think of the most iconic films in history and how the score or main theme was as much responsible for that film’s success as the film itself. For example, “The Exorcist” comes to mind and it’s haunting melody that became synonymous with horror, or the theme to movies like “Jaws” or “Forrest Gump”. These themes and many others helped to make the movie a success and forever memorable from just its theme. That moment when a composer sees a film and must decide what direction or mood to take it musically, is the golden moment that we at GameBeat truly live for.
We have yet to score for a blockbuster of that scale, but I feel the creative process is the same even for the smallest of independent short films. Every film has a visual direction - be it a drama, a comedy, or a documentary - the music will always play a major role in the success of the film and how it is absorbed by the viewer on all levels.
We strongly feel that the work we do in smaller film projects and even in advertising and game projects will help us to develop the recognition we need to get involved in large higher profile film projects. We realize that every project we do is in fact an advertisement for what we are capable of and you never know who is watching an obscure YouTube documentary that you scored and are able to hear a style or mood in your work that encourages them to want to learn more about the composer.