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Scoring Film


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Anyone here have experience writing music for film? I have interest in doing this for a short film one day. In fact one of my buddies that just got accepted to film school says he'd like me to do some music for some of his work. That won't be for a few years though. Anyways, I would like to do some experimentation with some stock film, but haven't come across anything yet. Something short (~10 min.) with dialog and a plot will do. Does anyone know of places on the net were people post film that they've shot and are looking for people to write music for? Thanks.
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One bit of advice I've heard is to check out the local schools: Community colleges, art schools, universitites, etc.


BTW, I'm currently in a film scoring program with Hummie Mann here in Seattle. Great program, lots of cools insights from someone who's done it, and Hummie takes teaching seriously.



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Apart from the necessary musical requisites - theory, composition, orchestration, counterpoint, etc., you'll need equipment to sync up the music to the film. Sound On Sound (a well known British audio\music magazine) in their last issue had an article on just that. I believe this is a three part article.


In the meantime, you can practice playing along with films on TV. Turn the sound off and treat the film as a silent film playing your keyboard in real time against what you see. In my father's day, keyboard players would make money by playing piano during the silent film era. I was asked to do that a few years ago for a silent film but turned down the job because I was asked at the last minute. Since my schlong was on the line, I wanted to see the film ahead of time and that was not possible.


One of the greats, John Williams, does not score his own work interestingly enough. He simply writes out what he wants (I would suppose a sketch or a piano score with instructions) and has his orchestrators do the time consuming work. (Along those lines, George Gershwin also did not score his works and said something to the effect that if orchestration were so difficult, why are there so many who can do it.)


I'd get off to a music school and start learning the basics. Even if you never make a living scoring films, learning the basics in music will make you a better musician.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.


In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.


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i've done bunch of smaller ones and a few big ones. what Dave said - basics: orchestration , harmony, counterpoint (there are some great books on the subject). then, u need to become fluent in as many diverse styles as possible. gathering experience, do as much work for free as you can, talk with directors/producers about scenes/script. learn how to convey different emotions w music, and complement the scene accordingly. learn a bit about music editing - and where NOT to play. first mistake is always too much music overall, or too busy/thick music that goes under dialogue. most important - study how other people did it, study orch scores, classical and soundtrack etc.


syncing is not an issue today as it used to be, as they usually provide you with an AVI or MOV file of the scenes or entire movie. so a nice DAW program geared towards Audio-for-Video takes care of that. I use Nuendo.


getting arround fast with audio and midi editing in such a program, and using VSTi sampling libraries for orchestral, ethnic n other sounds is a way of life for film scorers today. u usually have everything but time. and it still needs to be perfect.


to have someone else orchestrate for you is.. well, a theoretical posibility yes. :D



i hope some of this helps.

http://www.babic.com - music for film/theatre, audio-post
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Originally posted by clusterchord:

getting arround fast with audio and midi editing in such a program, and using VSTi sampling libraries for orchestral, ethnic n other sounds is a way of life for film scorers today.



Great advice from everyone. I feel that if you are doing orchestral soundtrack music a quality plug-in is essential. I'm on a budget and use the Miroslav Philharmonic for my soundtrack work and it's terrific for the money. And the user interface is quite nice.

"The devil take the poets who dare to sing the pleasures of an artist's life." - Gottschalk




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Something to take in account is the perceptional tasks of the two halves of the brain. it's a good rule not to overload each area. For example, percussive rythms and speach are analyzed by the same area, it's easy to find how does this mix suck...

This is something that must take in account all the elements of the sound, speach, environment, music.

Too complex to analyze it here, but worth a research.

Guess the Amp

.... now it's finished...

Here it is!



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