Can I collaborate with you on your next project?
Working with me, you’ll discover a composer who can write across multiple genres, and truly understands how to work collaboratively.
Music elicits emotion and when we experience emotion, we’re engaged. Music is a powerful way to connect with your audience, and it is the difference between average and amazing.
In every film I have been involved in, I have found it essential that I fully understand the film, the narrative, and immerse myself into the emotions of the characters. The film narrative unfolds over time, and the score needs to function as another character to support this.
Every project is different, but these are the stages that I’ve found fundamental when working on a film score.
The spotting session is a fantastic stage, as it initiates the collaborative process between the director and the composer. I’ve always found these discussions useful as it helps build new relationships, and provides a platform to have broader discussions about the film, storyline, characters, and the interlocking emotional narratives.
If there is visual content, I’ll usually watch the film with the director to make decisions and have conversations about the music. I like to discuss things like what scenes need music and talk about the emotions of the characters, as well as the general moods. From experience, I have found it useful to stay away from using technical musical language and stay close to talking about the emotional content.
The objective for me as the composer is to leave the session(s), with a comprehensive collection of spotting notes, as this is what I will be working from initially when creating the score.
During the initial stages, I like to spend time with the director to discuss their goals for the film. It’s important for me to get as much information at the start so that I can capture the emotion of the film with the music.
I also like to understand how they visioned the music, and how they are going to be using it throughout the film.
I like to spend time planning, and researching ideas. I’ll spend time considering the instrumentation, tempo, and think about some ideas for the music.
Sitting at the computer and composing the first few notes is always the hardest part of the scoring process. However, doing the right research, preparation, and defining the sonic palette in the early stages removes the stress, and helps me feel relaxed right from the start.
It provides space for me to be more creative, to explore musical ideas, and eliminates the intimidating feeling that I need to write music for an entire film.
I generally start by composing some general thematic material to help ground the director and me in a musical direction. Early in the compositional process, I prefer to explore thematical content for the characters and key events in the film. I have found it helps me give the director an overall sense of the music for the film and provides me strong foundations on which I can develop the rest of the score.
Work collaboratively throughout the lifecycle of the project is essential, and I, therefore, I have found it helpful that I provide regular mock-ups which are recorded using sample libraries of virtual instruments. I have detailed some of the sample libraries that I like to use, and these give a very accurate representation of what the score would sound like when we record actual instruments.
Once all the mock-ups are approved, I send all the relevant sections to my orchestrators who prepare the sheet music for the musicians to use at the recording studio. However, many projects don’t have a budget for this, so the next stage would be the mixing and mastering.
One of my favourite stages of the film score is recording the instruments in the studio. There is always an atmosphere of excitement, and seeing the musicians play always is a fantastic experience.
Once mixed, the end results is a fantastic soundtrack that will work with the film narrative beautifully.
I like to over-communicate with people that I’m working with. I provide regular updates, samples of work, and progress updates as frequently as possible.
This means you I feedback quickly, and should any tweaks be required you have plenty of time to make them.
By working in a collaborative way means that directors get the most of my experience, and we can share ideas. This ultimately leads to a smooth project and long-lasting relationships.
I want to create long-standing relationships with everyone that I work with.
By choosing to work with me, you will enjoy a personal service from a composer that is collaborative, creative and reliable.
But more importantly, you’ll find a composer that cares as much about the success of the project as you do.
For others, this may not be the same experience. At times there are tasks where you hear the same bit of music, over and over. The repetitive and mundane tasks start to kill the buzz, and before you know it, being in the studio becomes a drag.
I’m a firm believer in having a positive and relaxed atmosphere when I’m composing music. For me personally, I find that stress and pressure stop my creativity, and I’ll do everything I can to ensure I have a productive time.
Here are the things I do to ensure I have a productive and enjoyable time in the studio and as a composer.
When I spend time in the studio, I always take time to ensure that I not only in a great mood but more importantly, I have a plan for the session. If I’m working with others, I always share this with them ahead of time.
Having a plan of attack will provide time to get anything specific you need, as well as time for other tasks like research.
When I’m composing in my own studio, I like to spend time immersing myself in styles of music that I’m writing for well ahead of the sessions. It just helps me get into the right mood, and I always discover new music.
I also share the planning and anything that I find useful to with the director or the relevant clients that I’m working with.
Just because I spend a fair amount spend time writing music alone, doesn’t mean I should forget to communicate and work alone all the time. Also, sharing what helps me, has been helpful to the director and the project leads.
Time is are almost always the most significant issue when working in creative industries. Every week, I put the time in my diary to complete the tasks that stop me from working and procrastinating. I’ll schedule a time to take care of system updates, equipment repairs and clear my desk ahead of any creative time.
I make a conscious effort to eliminate all distractions to have as much time as possible, this gives me the freedom to experiment with ideas, and not feel rushed.
The same also applies to others I’m working with. I’ll ensure musicians have any music they need so they can practise. If there is a specific task that needs to be done, I’ll ensure that everyone has been given an activity schedule. In other industries, business meetings with multiple stakeholders follow an agenda for a reason.
The final deadline arrives quickly, and the director will be expecting you to stick to these (unless agreed otherwise).
I’ve found that making an extra effort to ensure I plan and prepare ahead of time, keeps me on schedule. It sounds obvious, but I plan to finish tasks before the actual due date. Not only does this keep me feeling relaxed and comfortable, but gives some buffer time should anything arise that would affect my timescales.
I like to over-communicate with people that I’m working with. I provide regular updates, samples of work, and progress updates as frequently as possible. This means you get feedback quickly, and should any tweaks be required you have plenty of time to make them.
I like to outline a plan for the day and have a schedule for everything, ahead of time as much as possible.
When projects have strict deadlines remaining focused is very important. I leave all the tasks that are less important until another time, or later in the day. I find prioritising the essential tasks first, and not just focus the jobs I like keeps me on track.
I like to involve the director and project leads as much as I can. It opens the conversation about what I’m doing, and I can get feedback regularly . But you have also need to be able to take criticism m and move on quickly. You are one element in a large project, and you have to be able to work with others collaboratively.
I always take a step back and try and put myself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. But, I do expect that in return, as I like to work in partnership with my clients.
Things will go wrong, and this is all part of being a composer, but don’t let them get you down.
Listen to advice and have a vision. Composing music for TV and film is a team effort.
I do everything I can to make sure that I plan and prepare ahead of time and to keep focused. I schedule time out of the studio to relax and enjoy myself, which helps me remain calm and creative.