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Old February 18th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #1
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Percentage of budget for scoring?

I'm budgeting for a 15 min. short that has no dialogue, so music will be much more present than usual. I got a "friends only" quote of ~$2,000 for original music, which would represent 10% of the ultra-low budget.

What would be customary for original music for a short film this length?


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Old February 18th, 2009, 04:44 PM   #2
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Yikes! $2000 is a bit. I would first try posting in the helping hands thread and see if anyone would do it for credit. I've had offers of $500 or so for a 15 min spot. Now I'm just doing my own, as budget's are getting tighter as the economic crisis wears on.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 05:23 PM   #3
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Pay peanuts: get monkees?
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Old February 18th, 2009, 06:17 PM   #4
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I did a whole feature length film with dialog editing, original music and mastering for $1000 last year.
It was for a friend that had a very low budget.
It can be done for not a lot!
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Old February 18th, 2009, 06:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Pay peanuts: get monkees?
There is that, but some of us can't pay the big bucks for the work. There's a market for lower budget stuff, it's just a matter of finding that person.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:26 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Heath Vinyard View Post
Yikes! $2000 is a bit. I would first try posting in the helping hands thread and see if anyone would do it for credit. I've had offers of $500 or so for a 15 min spot. Now I'm just doing my own, as budget's are getting tighter as the economic crisis wears on.
I'm not even remotely qualified to compose music, and I don't want to do "close enough" with royalty-free music. This girl has scored two other shorts of mine for much less, but in this case it can't be sampled, she'll actually have to get musicians and a recording studio.

Still, 10% of my projected budget...


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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:58 AM   #7
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I think you need to step back and take a realistic look at your short.
Is it honestly... a fun little project that will likely not a amount to much,
or does it genuinely need the services of a skilled professional to score it?
$2K is more than a fair price. Remember Sound is Half of your movie!
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Old February 19th, 2009, 09:50 AM   #8
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I think you need to step back and take a realistic look at your short.
Is it honestly... a fun little project that will likely not a amount to much,
or does it genuinely need the services of a skilled professional to score it?
$2K is more than a fair price. Remember Sound is Half of your movie!
It's a serious project intended for the festival circuit and TV broadcasters. But, at the same time, I don't have access to unlimited funds. At $2,000 (of $20,000 available funds), it may mean the difference between making the short or not.

I'm probably not going union on this one because of excessive administrative fees (a few thousand dollars alone), but I don't want to go volunteers either - I've done it in the past, and now I need access to pros.

The girl quoted me a "rock bottom" price of $900 for the same amount of work, with some cuts. I may have to go for that.


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Old February 19th, 2009, 10:54 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
It's a serious project intended for the festival circuit and TV broadcasters. But, at the same time, I don't have access to unlimited funds. At $2,000 (of $20,000 available funds), it may mean the difference between making the short or not.

I'm probably not going union on this one because of excessive administrative fees (a few thousand dollars alone), but I don't want to go volunteers either - I've done it in the past, and now I need access to pros.

The girl quoted me a "rock bottom" price of $900 for the same amount of work, with some cuts. I may have to go for that.


J.
$900 seems way more realistic than $2k did. I don't get the musicians and studio part. I can do everything needed for a full fledged score right in my office on my Pro Tools rig. It just took adding a MIDI keyboard controller and IK Media's Miroslav Philharmonik plugin for it. Then it's just a matter of taking the hours it takes to get it right. But I've been working with Pro Tools for years and am pretty good with it now. But I must say, writing a hard rock song and writing a film score or two TOTALLY seperate animals. :)
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Heath Vinyard View Post
$900 seems way more realistic than $2k did. I don't get the musicians and studio part.
Cellists and violinists. Strings never sound convincing on a keyboard.


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Old February 19th, 2009, 03:27 PM   #11
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Jacques, why not audition the music at SmartSound. Their Sonicfire pro Strata Series discs have selections using real Hollywood string players and they come in 8 track multi layer form so you can remix it.

Your girl composer would most likely turn her nose up at it, but you never know, maybe she'll help you use it for your score. And you'll have it for the next show. Costs nothing to audition, and importantly there's no royalty fees. I find it's very good.

SmartSound Professional Quality Music Libraries


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Old February 19th, 2009, 06:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
Cellists and violinists. Strings never sound convincing on a keyboard.


J.
I can agree with that to a point. But when it's the difference between having the money to go elsewhere, I'd take the keyboard over having to take money away or cut something else completely. When you're on a big budget film, yeah, full on orchestra. But on low/no budget, I'm willing to cut corners for the sake of the project. A keyboard, especially with today's software plugins (which are sampled from actual orchestras), are way more convincing than they used to be.

Just something to consider.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 02:25 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Heath Vinyard View Post
I can agree with that to a point. But when it's the difference between having the money to go elsewhere, I'd take the keyboard over having to take money away or cut something else completely. When you're on a big budget film, yeah, full on orchestra. But on low/no budget, I'm willing to cut corners for the sake of the project. A keyboard, especially with today's software plugins (which are sampled from actual orchestras), are way more convincing than they used to be.

Just something to consider.
The keyboard won't allow for the "emotion" of the strings in this composition. We're talking more Yo-yo Ma than elevator music. The cello is the primary instrument, not just accompaniment.

I think my mistake was in telling the girl that I would have proper funding this time. :-)

I'll be placing ads for the other crew, I'll place one for scoring as well and see what falls out of the tree.


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Old February 20th, 2009, 05:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jacques E. Bouchard View Post
The keyboard won't allow for the "emotion" of the strings in this composition. We're talking more Yo-yo Ma than elevator music. The cello is the primary instrument, not just accompaniment.

I think my mistake was in telling the girl that I would have proper funding this time. :-)

I'll be placing ads for the other crew, I'll place one for scoring as well and see what falls out of the tree.


J.
Try mandy.com too, if you're not already. Tons of good people on that site.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 03:33 PM   #15
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Unless your friend's name is John Williams, I'd say no. $500 if he's a total unknown AND he's busting his ass for you.

There are literally THOUSANDS of guys looking to break into film music.

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