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Old December 21st, 2005, 12:12 PM   #1
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Briefing a composer

How do you guys go about briefing a composer? I have a short film that I am getting a composer to write an original score for and am wondering how much information I should give him in relation to what I think it should be like. Do I totally leave it to him to create what he thinks best, do I tell him all my thoughts and ideas and possibly hinder his creativity... What's the best way to approach this?
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Old December 21st, 2005, 12:16 PM   #2
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You need to give him some direction, otherwise you might wind up with the Ramones when you expected the Philharmonic. If he is good he will ask you a ton of questions as well.

Close your eyes and what do you hear when you envision the completed project? try to describe that, but always in general terms.

I've worked with two composers, one whom I have known for many years and we seem to talk the same language, the other I have known for less time, but he asked me a lot of questions as to what I wanted, and what he came up with worked perfectly.
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Old December 21st, 2005, 02:19 PM   #3
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Agree with you 100% there Bill - there's nothing wrong with even suggesting that you want something "in the style of" either. Hell, you ain't going to hurt the guy's feelings - he's a pro and doing it for money ;-)

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Old December 22nd, 2005, 07:07 AM   #4
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Also keep in mind it's "your" project after all is said and done. I've been lucky with the composer I used on the last project and am using on my current one.

I did tell him what I wanted and the feel of the music. He definitely needs a direction to work in. Also, if the project is long enough, and requires different types of music, make sure he's with including work from others, whether it's a buy-out song or a local musician. He's still the lead composer is should maybe get final vote on a particular inclusion, but if he specializes in techno and you need a country ballad for one scene, he should comply.

I've found in dealing with anyone, composer or not, the more information the better. I usually tell people that I am going to send them too much information and they can pick out what they need.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #5
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Try this. Find the best music for the short yourself. Add it to the picture - the best copyrighted stuff. Then tell him that this is how you like it, unless you trust him more than yourself. Realize that it's your picture.
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Old January 6th, 2006, 10:38 AM   #6
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I'd agree with Petr unless you are using a composer who will bring something to your project. That's why it's tough for me to talk music sometimes.

I'm doing this actually right now. I have a feature where one of the characters (a pianist) is based on the writer's childhood friend - who is now a pretty good composer... and is game to write some music. He has a script. I am showing him what I can but specifically want thematic piano 80% of the time (much to his discretion) and (get this) a boogie-woogie piano the rest...

Since it's a feature I do like to have character-music to help tie together any disjointed scenes... It's also easier, I think, to find a tone that way and expand from there.
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