It’s been months (maybe years) of filming, editing, shooting pickups, re-editing, ect. The film is finally cut to perfection, and it’s time to sit down with a composer. You might find that talking to other film geeks is easy, but talking to a composer is a different ball game. Not all filmmakers speak “music talk.” So what do you do? Check out these tips and find out!

Most Composers Can Speak Abstract

This actually makes speaking to a composer very easy, in my opinion. I can go on all day about how I want a scene to feel. If you talk like that to a Visual Effects Supervisor, he will look at you like you’re crazy. Composers get that language a bit more.

It’s going to be helpful for the composer to know what tone to use for each scene, but if you have a good one, he or she should be able to pull something out of it. Things like where you want the music to build and where it should be silent are good things to specify on the front end.

Give a Composer Space to be Creative

After you’ve told him or her what you are looking for, set them loose. It’s so much more fun for a person to be able to be creative and have space to find inspiration for the project.

If it’s not what you were looking for, it’s ok to give direction. Just be mindful that too many changes can eat up the composer’s time, and if it’s not in the budget to pay for extra time spent on it, you might have to work with what you have.

Pick the Right Composer

You won’t have the above mentioned problem if you choose the right composer. Listen to samples, talk to the person and get a feel for the way they interpret your project. All this matters. If you choose the right person, put your trust in that person. That goes a long way.

Otherwise, you will be buying stock music and trying to cut it up to fit the film yourself. Personally, I’d rather leave the music to someone who can do it better than me.

What are some other good tips for working with a composer?

Rachel M Taylor

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Rachel is a writer/director. She loves character driven movies and really good cheese.

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