Composer

What do Composers do?

A Composer will need to write music to suit the mood and action in a TV, film drama or documentary. They will need to compose, perform, arrange, and then work with producers to rearrange, and rearrange as they change and finalize the film.

You will usually have to submit an initial pitch which is mostly unpaid. During the course of the program you will need to do lots of Demos, some of which may not be followed up.

If you do not have an agent you will need to negotiate your fee with the production manager. There are no guides to how much you should be paid, generally it is down to the budget of each program. You will almost always have to sign a publishing contract with the production company or broadcaster.

It helps to be familiar with a vast amount of repertoire and to be on top of what's happened and is happening in the charts and movies. A classical training can help as it increases your versatility. If you don't know the music when suggestions are made by the director you will need to know how to find it quickly. Time deadlines are always short.

You may also need to understand the editing of music. You will often produce the theme, and also breakdowns with differing instrumentation, underscores or beds and stings. There may also be one off pieces, for example to go with archive footage. You must have the equipment and ability to make something that sounds high quality. You will also need to be able to sync to picture.

You need to get your music heard. The credits at the end of programs are a useful source of contacts. Check who produced and directed them and send a demo to them care of the production company. You can also try sending demo to editors and edit suites.

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Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.