Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finding Jobs to Score Music for Film

Occasionally I want to go off the beaten track on this blog. So today I’m going to show the correspondence between two composers looking for music gigs on films and me.

From: Moritz Schmittat [mailto:moritz@scoringforfilm.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009
To: Sydney J. Levine
Subject: Berlinale Talent Campus

Dear Sydney!

My name is Moritz Schmittat - composer for film and TV. We met at the 'Dine&Shine' dinner at the Berlinale Talent Campus. I believe our round was the main course. I had a fabulous evening and I still have your card here.

I just wanted to re-connect and say hello. I recently scored my first feature film which is now playing in over 50 UK cinemas. It's called '31 North 62 East' - a political thriller directed by Tristan Loraine featuring John Rhys-Davies and Marina Sirits. I conducted the orchestral recording sessions myself. Now I am working on my next feature which is called 'Banquet of the Damned' - a horror film.I have a brand new website. It's: http://www.scoringforfilm.com/ - check it out when you have a free moment. You can watch my portfolio online if you want. If you are interested I could also send you my showreel on DVD/CD? Just email me your address. For me at this stage it is still very important to 'get my stuff out there' - would you maybe know some film makers who I could introduce myself to? That would be great help!Best wishes and greetings from London,Moritz

On 26 Sep 2009, at 06:25, Sydney J. Levine wrote:
Thanks Moritz for your email.

It seems like the film music people are the most active seekers of jobs except for producers who are always looking for money.

Your website is beautiful! I’m afraid I won’t do much with your show reel as I am not really into production and I have boxes of unseen DVDs!

Maybe I can put together something on filmmakers for you but for now, I suggest you contact
www.volume57.com if you think their style fits yours (they are art films!). Gene Lechner is a friend of mine in Berlin and she started the site for performers and composers.

Are you a member of IMDbPro? They show films titles and contact info for films in pre-production which might give you some leads.

I hope we shall meet again…I will be in Berlin for the Berlinale and am going to Hof in November.

All my best,

From: Moritz Schmittat [mailto:moritz@scoringforfilm.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hi Sydney,

Thanks so much for getting back. Yes, I know the composers competition is huge - but I'll fight my way through it....

Volume57 seems to be promising. I applied already - Geno got back to me. They will listen to my work as soon as they are back from their travels. So, thanks for the link. Much appreciated.

I am a Pro member and I am using it almost every day. Not all users have their contact details online unfortunately. The other thing is that it is difficult to get 'around' the agents -- especially agents of young directors. There are many guys that have made their first feature or won some awards with shorts and who now have an agent who, understandably, want to keep their clients 'unspamed'. The funny thing is that quite a few of them do NOT have any composer credited in their films. Do you maybe have any good suggestions of how to approach those 'targets'.

Well, thanks again for your email. Let's keep in touch. I will definitely be in Berlin next year again!

September 28, 2009

Try looking in advance at the films in upcoming festivals…the director is often invited…you can contact the festival and see if you can get an industry list or the producer of the film…perhaps he’s listed on IMDbPro if not on the industry lists of the fests. If you’ve been to Cannes officially, you have their
www.cinando.com website as well. IMDbPro/FilmFinders has free festival reports with contact info for film posted before the festival actually begins.

Really, you need films in pre-production…Variety and Hollywood Reporter also list them on line. Cold call, send reel or refer to website, follow up call or email until you reach someone: That is the way to do it…repeat, repeat, repeat. Really even the agents do that to book their clients’ if they’re on the ball.

Agents are very protective of their directors but they don’t rep or protect producers…so meet producers with upcoming films and get info on directors from them to get yourself attached…e.g., in Berlin, find out about the Producer’s Co-production Market, in Cannes check out participants of the Producers Network and Cinefondation, or Rotterdam Cinemart and other premarkets in Mannheim, Pusan, New York's IFP, Guadalajara Film Festival.

Also, look for trade music events. Of course lots of competition is there too.

Does this help?

September 29, 2009 Here’s a testimony to a close friend (composer) of mine about following the directions I just gave to you:

Almost everything you wrote, I've been doing. It's gotten to the point that the production companies think I am an agent or music supervisor. I've contacted directors way before any cast is attached or production has started. One instance was a film directed by a woman. I saw her credits on IMDb and noticed that she went to the AFI Women's Director's Program. So I contacted the AFI and they took down my info and passed it on. The next day I got a call from the director and she was excited that someone tracked her down re: her film. To make a long story short, my agent at the time did not want to have anything to do with it because she had never heard of the director. Well the film was "Monster" with Charlize Theron later attached and you know the rest...
Karen Martin [soundsculpture@sbcglobal.net]

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