Also known as:
TV / Film / Screen Composer
What does a Media Music Composer do?
Composes, produces and records music for Television, Film and Advertising. The composer will often be expected to produce and record their music and deliver a final product. They will need to deal with the business side such as negotiating the contract, fees, rights, hiring musicians, preparing the music for recording (also known as music preparation / copying, so the musicians have the necessary sheet music to play from). They will need to be in regular contact with the client, attend meetings, react to feedback, work under tight deadlines and pressure, and it is accepted that they will be a highly proficient composer and musician, able to write music that enhances the image on screen and the emotions / action within a scene.
Tools of the trade:
Usually a DAW based studio system and the experience to use it. A selection of sound libraries (as much as you can afford). Intimate knowledge of music production in numerous styles and genres; ability to produce bespoke music to exacting specifications based on style, time, genre etc. An in-depth understanding and hands-on experience of working with other musicians, ensembles, performers, orchestras and studios is essential going forward.
What is a Media Music Composer good at?
Creating finished pieces of music to a very high standard in – often – very short periods of time. They must be good listeners and communicators, taking instructions from producers and directors telling them what they need the composer to deliver.
Who does a Media Music Composer work with?
Close communication with the client then bringing in any further musicians or singers etc as needed for a specific job. Often recording and mixing may be done with external studios and engineers. Larger productions may also have music supervisors / editors who will have an opinion on the direction you should take.Usually a DAW based studio system and the experience to use it. A selection of sound libraries (as much as you can afford). Intimate knowledge of music production in numerous styles and genres; ability to produce bespoke music to exacting specifications based on style, time, genre etc. An in-depth understanding and hands-on experience of working with other musicians, ensembles, performers, orchestras and studios is essential going forward.
How do I become a Media Music Composer?
Qualifications in this field are largely irrelevant because the only thing that interests prospective clients is a showreel or being able to demonstrate previous projects you have worked on. These can be anything from an inventive student film to the most hight profile of jobs. The more you have done, and the higher the profile of these projects the more successful you are likely to be in securing new work.
Is the role a skills shortage?
No. A million times NO. There is an insane skills surfeit. WAY too many people wanting to do this job than there are viable working opportunities. Hence why those commissioning composers have a very hard time discerning between those with a good track record and those just wanting to have a go. Hence why a composer’s back catalogue of work and experience will always be more useful than qualifications. TV, Videogame and film productions are incredibly expensive undertakings created by huge teams under often very tight deadlines and budgets. Hence the most important attribute is for a client to trust the composer. Seeing those that have trusted them in the past makes it easier for them to trust you with their project.
The explosion of education courses selling media composing skills has over populated the industry to the extent that if you are deciding to go into the industry based on an online questionnaire such as this – the best advice is absolutely DO NOT PURSUE THIS CAREER.
If you are going to do it anyway because you refuse to do anything else or can’t do anything else, then you might stand a chance, but even then we wouldn’t guarantee it
For more inspiring ideas on careers in the Creative Industries check out: https://discovercreative.careers/#/