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What's your typical output per day? Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 5th January 2017
  #1
What's your typical output per day?

Ok, not really talking about TV shows (for which you already have templates and reusable material) or commercial tracks.

Let's talk film. You do this for a living. What is your typical output in minutes per day?

Also please note whether you mostly do orchestral stuff and whether or not the genres you have to write in vary widely project to project.
Old 5th January 2017
  #2
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

I don't do much in the way of film, but when I do, it depends on:

- how "notey" the music is, and how dense the orchestration is
- how familiar (or unfamiliar) I am with the genre
- whether or not the music needs to sync to picture, or just fit into a timeframe
- how much MIDI data tweaking is required

That said, I do anywhere from 3-8 min per day.

Unlike some of us, who only have the skill to do 8 min per week!

www.jeffreyhayat.com/temp/8min.mp3

Slowpoke.






(joking!!!!)
Old 5th January 2017
  #3
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Sam Watson's Avatar
On longer form projects I estimate 3 minutes per day for raw material. (You have to count revisions as additional required minutes.) There are days where I labor immensely over 1 minute. Case in point - the fast string section of of a chase scene of this cue Run for the Door. (From about 1:00 - 2:30) The slow intro/outro were cake but the couple thousand notes (no exaggeration) in the string parts & making them land on the hit points was serious work. [Tried uploading attachments 4 times. No go. Drop box link it is...]
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a7r7sh9u4t...atson.mp3?dl=0

Then there are days where you churn out almost 11 minutes of generic background schlock for a corporate video that needs to integrate their musical branding theme. Almost no hit points other than intro & outro art cards. It might go something like the second attachment. (Name changed for obvious reasons. Lowered mp3 quality just to fit it as an attachment.)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpmm6tx260...iller.mp3?dl=0

Deadlines determine everything. More music in less time = more generic and less orchestration. No deadline? Oh man... I'll improv the day away and won't lay down a note. Output essentially drops to zero.

Cheers,
Sam
Old 5th January 2017
  #4
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drBill's Avatar
4-7 minutes - TO PICTURE. Long day. Depends on how "deep" I have to take the tracks. How orchestrated, or whether I have to overdub actual REAL instruments, contact players, etc. Some days more, some days less. But if it's a long form film, and there is 60+ minutes to write - that's the formula I'd base my work load around. This is of course after getting initial themes approved. That can take a week or two sometimes.

Or a month..... LOL
Old 5th January 2017
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Watson View Post
On longer form projects I estimate 3 minutes per day for raw material. (You have to count revisions as additional required minutes.) There are days where I labor immensely over 1 minute. Case in point - the fast string section of of a chase scene of this cue Run for the Door. (From about 1:00 - 2:30) The slow intro/outro were cake but the couple thousand notes (no exaggeration) in the string parts & making them land on the hit points was serious work. [Tried uploading attachments 4 times. No go. Drop box link it is...]
https://www.dropbox.com/s/a7r7sh9u4t...atson.mp3?dl=0

Then there are days where you churn out almost 11 minutes of generic background schlock for a corporate video that needs to integrate their musical branding theme. Almost no hit points other than intro & outro art cards. It might go something like the second attachment. (Name changed for obvious reasons. Lowered mp3 quality just to fit it as an attachment.)
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lpmm6tx260...iller.mp3?dl=0

Deadlines determine everything. More music in less time = more generic and less orchestration. No deadline? Oh man... I'll improv the day away and won't lay down a note. Output essentially drops to zero.

Cheers,
Sam
Man, this is the story of my life lately. I keep getting the nod for a lot of the action cues in the films I've been working on of late. I enjoy the work but it's tedious.
Old 5th January 2017
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
4-7 minutes - TO PICTURE. Long day. Depends on how "deep" I have to take the tracks. How orchestrated, or whether I have to overdub actual REAL instruments, contact players, etc. Some days more, some days less. But if it's a long form film, and there is 60+ minutes to write - that's the formula I'd base my work load around. This is of course after getting initial themes approved. That can take a week or two sometimes.

Or a month..... LOL
How about action cues a la Silvestri (no loops, plenty of runs, etc.)?
Old 5th January 2017
  #7
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philososaxter View Post
How about action cues a la Silvestri (no loops, plenty of runs, etc.)?
It all depends. Sometimes 10 min a day, sometimes 1 minute. The average of all days is where I end up looking when planning a work load.

Sometimes the music is highly complex and slow going, sometimes a 45 sec cue is a single note and done in 3 minutes, sometimes only a full blown mockup with tightly orchestrated midi tracks will get past a director, sometimes the director is out of his/her league and will take pretty much whatever you show him/her - knowing that it will be rerecorded with a real orchestra, sometimes it's a improvised solo acoustic guitar or piano with a single high string note, sometimes it's 16th note full orchestral insanity, sometimes you have to hit every little shift in the picture, and sometimes you blast thru with little music to sync issues, sometimes I just care more on a particular cue, and sometimes I don't really care too much - especially if it's under a huge car chase with lots of SFX that the director loves or under a bunch of alien SFX that will eat up any music you would write.

It's all relative. But ultimately, with most modern feature film schedules - no matter how complex, if you're not writing 3-6 minutes a day, you're hosed.
Old 5th January 2017
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philososaxter View Post
How about action cues a la Silvestri (no loops, plenty of runs, etc.)?
I just had to score a film with a 3 minute chase scene of wall-to-wall Silvestri-esque action music - No loops or big drums, just pure orchestra. Took me about 2 days to orchestrate and arrange the whole thing. I personally don't like those scenes because they're a ball-ache to score and the director likes to play with the edit.
Old 5th January 2017
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz4 View Post
I just had to score a film with a 3 minute chase scene of wall-to-wall Silvestri-esque action music - No loops or big drums, just pure orchestra. Took me about 2 days to orchestrate and arrange the whole thing. I personally don't like those scenes because they're a ball-ache to score and the director likes to play with the edit.
HA! That's the story of my life right now. Took me about a day to do a 1:20 long cue...reference was the car chase piece from Big Hero 6
Old 6th January 2017
  #10
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
4-7 minutes - TO PICTURE. Long day. Depends on how "deep" I have to take the tracks. How orchestrated, or whether I have to overdub actual REAL instruments, contact players, etc. Some days more, some days less. But if it's a long form film, and there is 60+ minutes to write - that's the formula I'd base my work load around. This is of course after getting initial themes approved. That can take a week or two sometimes.

Or a month..... LOL
Maybe I misunderstand.... 4-7 min a day with about 60 min of music for the film.... So you're scoring a feature in 1 or 2 weeks? (aka completed writing, arrang/orch, tracking, mixing, and delivered) Seriously?
Old 6th January 2017
  #11
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spiderman's Avatar
Also.... I think this conversation has some variables. Does the OP mean "complete the composition idea" or "complete the final output" when referring to minutes per day? John Williams often says he writes an average of 2 minutes per day.... but he literally means he writes the composition down on staff paper and sends it over to orchestration.... and then it goes to copy... and then it goes to tracking... and then it goes to mixing.

Obviously in the lower tiers we work faster for less.... and use DAW/Samples to get to final mix quicker. Curious what the OP is asking? Composing the sketches/mockups for director review or completing the scoring process?

Last edited by spiderman; 6th January 2017 at 03:56 PM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
Maybe I misunderstand.... 4-7 min a day with about 60 min of music for the film.... So you're scoring a feature in 1 or 2 weeks? (aka completed writing, arrang/orch, tracking, mixing, and delivered) Seriously?
It CAN and does happen over a long weekend. (see below....) But I think you're confusing "writing" with "production".

Four (4) to 6 weeks for music for a feature - start to finish - is very common. At the front end, by the time you spot, get themes and ideas formed, get your direction OK'd and your deal finalized, team and concept in place - a week can easily pass. Then you start "writing" - 60 minutes divided by 4 minutes a day = two weeks. Now you're 3 weeks in and haven't "recorded" anything yet. Getting stuff "listened to and OK'd" with associated tweaks and re-writes can add another week. Now you're at 4 weeks and haven't recorded anything yet. Another week to record, and another week to mix and.....you're at 6 weeks. So yeah, IME, if you're not writing 3-6 minutes a day, you're going to be crushed at the end. Probably you're going to be crushed at the end anyway, but......just saying'.

And I'm assuming locked picture....... None of us EVER start before picture is locked do we? (NOTE : with the advent of FCP and laptops, it's not uncommon to find the editor sitting on the dub stage re-cutting - and that just adds to the composers fun.....)

Reality? The writing process will take a bit longer than the above scenario, and some of the recording will happen during the writing process. The "real" recording of the score will probably not take a full week, but it can. Generally speaking, not much recording happens until the writing phase is finished, unless you're really, REALLY brave, but it can go on in tandem with the writing phase to some degree. At least for solo instruments, rhythm players, etc. Of course, this slows the writing down. Mixing is often happening right before or during the dubbing process, so....there is some wiggle room where the two can overlap. But the timetables on modern films are brutal and require a TEAM. It's very rare for a single person (composer) to carry the full load.

Now, all that's for a fairly relaxed 6 week schedule. 4 weeks is common. Less than four weeks is not unusual at all - especially when the previous composer was "let go" for creative reasons.

I was on a team that re-scored an entire Disney movie starting on a Friday mid-day, and delivered by the next Monday night - about 80 hours for a score from first envisioned note to final mix. (No orchestra, mostly synths and samplers with a small rhythm section and no sleep) On Heat, we got the call for a full blown orchestral piece by MM @ 10:00PM, wrote the piece, added some overdubs overnight, orchestrated, copied the music and contracted and recorded orchestra @ 7AM next morning on the west coast and had it dubbed by 10:00AM (west coast) and had that reel on a plane for an evening premier on the east coast.

Yeah, it's the glamour profession......


Definition of feature film = no sleep for weeks....

Last edited by drBill; 6th January 2017 at 05:56 PM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #13
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I was on a team that re-scored an entire Disney movie starting on a Friday mid-day, and delivered by the next Monday night. (No orchestra, mostly synths and samplers and no sleep)
A team of two composers with 15 cues or 10 composers with 3 cues each? Makes for a better story if two guys re-scored a Disney feature over a weekend... uncredited while the lead composer gets the one card. Glamorous indeed....


Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
On Heat, we got the call for a full blown orchestral piece @ 10:00PM, contracted and recorded orchestra @ 7AM next morning on the west coast and had it dubbed by 10:00AM and on a plane for an evening premier on the east coast.
A (as in single) piece? Totally normal fire-drill I'd say. Statistically outlying or every day of your life?

Again... the conversation deserves more specifics. OP says "how much YOU can deliver" and there a plenty of films made where the negotiation isn't for a team... it's for a single soldier or a small team of two/three. These are important distinctions to make... especially for newcomers reading these threads.

Outputting 7 minutes a day of sample preset drones, melancholy solo piano, and a few short string/percussion shots? That's everyday living for TV or doc work.

A single composer film, bidding a contract for a feature with 60 minutes of full orchestra hitting sync points, final quality mockup, fully mixed, etc.... and offering the director 7 minutes a day of final product? That's not the best idea when negotiating the deal... Great if you can get away with a few drone cues and thinner part writing. Terrible approach if you're going to be doing the whole process.

Extreme schedules and acceptance of faster demands reminds me of a Facebook post I saw yesterday. USC Film Score grad asking if $30 per FINISHED min was a normal rate for creating full orchestra mockups. I can't tell what's worse; the assumption that a human can work so fast that its possible to create quality orchestra mock-up in 30 min or less... or if the hours he spends doing it was only worth $30?

Almost seems like the community needs to let go of what's possible and get back to what's reasonable. I like 2-3 minutes of completed a day as a normal talking point. Just saying 7 minutes of completed score by a single person... seems like the wrong story to tell.... especially if the bean-counters have ears nearby.
Old 6th January 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
A team of two composers with 15 cues or 10 composers with 3 cues each? Makes for a better story if two guys re-scored a Disney feature over a weekend... uncredited while the lead composer gets the one card. Glamorous indeed....




A (as in single) piece? Totally normal fire-drill I'd say. Statistically outlying or every day of your life?

Again... the conversation deserves more specifics. OP says "how much YOU can deliver" and there a plenty of films made where the negotiation isn't for a team... it's for a single soldier or a small team of two/three. These are important distinctions to make... especially for newcomers reading these threads.

Outputting 7 minutes a day of sample preset drones, melancholy solo piano, and a few short string/percussion shots? That's everyday living for TV or doc work.

A single composer film, bidding a contract for a feature with 60 minutes of full orchestra hitting sync points, final quality mockup, fully mixed, etc.... and offering the director 7 minutes a day of final product? That's not the best idea when negotiating the deal... Great if you can get away with a few drone cues and thinner part writing. Terrible approach if you're going to be doing the whole process.

Extreme schedules and acceptance of faster demands reminds me of a Facebook post I saw yesterday. USC Film Score grad asking if $30 per FINISHED min was a normal rate for creating full orchestra mockups. I can't tell what's worse; the assumption that a human can work so fast that its possible to create quality orchestra mock-up in 30 min or less... or if the hours he spends doing it was only worth $30?

Almost seems like the community needs to let go of what's possible and get back to what's reasonable. I like 2-3 minutes of completed a day as a normal talking point. Just saying 7 minutes of completed score by a single person... seems like the wrong story to tell.... especially if the bean-counters have ears nearby.
Yeah I'm mostly talking about lone wolf production. I do work as part of a team, but I occasionally get assigned to a project by myself.

Most of what I do is just mockups. I thankfully don't have to handle any of the orchestrating, recording, etc.--one of the perks to being an uncredited writer. I upload my MIDI data and that's pretty much it.

I figure I'd add that, from my experience at least, 2-3 minutes is pretty standard as long as it's consistent. I work 6 day work weeks. My employer understands that action cues take longer (another perk to being an uncredited writer--I don't have to explain to directors that difficult orchestrations take longer than light suspense where you've got some sustain tremolo strings carrying the piece).
Old 6th January 2017
  #15
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
A team of two composers with 15 cues or 10 composers with 3 cues each? Makes for a better story if two guys re-scored a Disney feature over a weekend... uncredited while the lead composer gets the one card. Glamorous indeed....
2 composers. A couple engineers. Musicians.



Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
A (as in single) piece? Totally normal fire-drill I'd say. Statistically outlying or every day of your life?

Again... the conversation deserves more specifics. OP says "how much YOU can deliver" and there a plenty of films made where the negotiation isn't for a team... it's for a single soldier or a small team of two/three. These are important distinctions to make... especially for newcomers reading these threads.
Sorry, if you want more specifics you'll either have to live it yourself, or ask me over a cup of coffee or lunch. I'm not putting those kind of specifics up on the internet. I'm not THAT crazy??? I'd still like to work a bit longer.....

Unless he changed things, I don't think the OP asked about how much you "deliver" in a day. I was under the impression he was asking about how much you "write" a day. As for the newcomers, I don't think they are going to get called for a feature anytime soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
Outputting 7 minutes a day of sample preset drones, melancholy solo piano, and a few short string/percussion shots? That's everyday living for TV or doc work.

A single composer film, bidding a contract for a feature with 60 minutes of full orchestra hitting sync points, final quality mockup, fully mixed, etc.... and offering the director 7 minutes a day of final product? That's not the best idea when negotiating the deal... Great if you can get away with a few drone cues and thinner part writing. Terrible approach if you're going to be doing the whole process.

Extreme schedules and acceptance of faster demands reminds me of a Facebook post I saw yesterday. USC Film Score grad asking if $30 per FINISHED min was a normal rate for creating full orchestra mockups. I can't tell what's worse; the assumption that a human can work so fast that its possible to create quality orchestra mock-up in 30 min or less... or if the hours he spends doing it was only worth $30?

Almost seems like the community needs to let go of what's possible and get back to what's reasonable. I like 2-3 minutes of completed a day as a normal talking point. Just saying 7 minutes of completed score by a single person... seems like the wrong story to tell.... especially if the bean-counters have ears nearby.
I don't think ANY serious name feature film composers are working by "themselves". It's a team sport. The deadlines are just too brutal in 2017 for any single composer to pull it off. There are several I could name that have 2-5-10 USC grads mocking up cues for them @ $15 an hour for every day in a composing/production schedule.

I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or demanding that it's my way or the highway. If you think it's unreasonable, overworked, unfair, etc. I'd agree 100%. I'd also say that most film budgets should be quadrupled, and the HUUUUGE A list budgets should be slashed by 60%. Spread the wealth. All my comments stem from my real world experience of doing it for 20 years or so. These days I'm out of it for the most part. And happier and getting more sleep.

Do you do commercials or features?

Your perception of the whole game seems skewed. No one "offers" to write 7 min a day. They either take the job, or turn it down, and they do what it takes to make the deadlne. Turn in great music that everyone likes and you're the hero. Can't make the deadline or turn in crap - and you don't get called next time. I don't know of many composers today that won't take the job no matter how difficult the deadline is. In hollywood features, due to distribution situations, the competition, and depending on whether or not you want to release the same week as "Rogue One", the "deadline" is often in stone long before the film is even finished shooting.

I'm just relaying my real world personal experience in Hollywood. Reasonable? Hardly. This job is not reasonable. Those of us who have dealt with film producers in Hollywood know that already.

Commercials and TV? That's another world. Easier is some ways, more difficult in others.


PS - output also depends on whether or not you have an orchestrator or orchestrators on your team cranking out the heavy lifting.

Last edited by drBill; 6th January 2017 at 08:53 PM..
Old 6th January 2017
  #16
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I'm not trying to pick a fight with you or demanding that it's my way or the highway. If you think it's unreasonable, overworked, unfair, etc. I'd agree 100%.
Not at all Bill... None of that was a challenge to you or picking a fight... never questioned your truthfulness or authority in the subject... just adding some depth to the conversation for clarity/diversity sake.

I don't think your tales are unreasonable for a team.... overworked and unfair, yes!.... you illustrated that perfectly at $15/hr for a USC grad mocking up stuff (hate it for those guys)... the conversation seems worth broadening a bit. Specifics help that. Case in point.... your 7 minutes a day is a team gig, almost in the classic Hollywood music studio assembly line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Do you do commercials or features?

Your perception of the whole game seems skewed.
Skewed compared to the typical Hollywood game? Obviously skewed from that... outside of the norm for CA, diversity works. It's not commercials or features.... it's both. Commercials happen every month. Features happen once or twice a year and last one or two months. (Clarification... features for me aren't just narrative but include docs... again, probably a difference for the Hollywood guys)

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Commercials and TV? That's another world. Easier is some ways, more difficult in others.
Definitely so... more like other worlds...


Anyway man... just wanted to clarify your original statement...
Quote:
4-7 minutes - TO PICTURE. .... But if it's a long form film, and there is 60+ minutes to write - that's the formula I'd base my work load around.
Seems you were referring to the process of writing in a team scenario (composer sketches to picture and hands it off to the team for finishing) and not to completed delivery (comp to picture, orchestrate/mockup, mix).

Last edited by spiderman; 6th January 2017 at 10:29 PM..
Old 7th January 2017
  #17
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As an interesting tidbit, I think I remember Thomas Newman saying he scored American Beauty in 2 weeks, from getting the call to the final mix. It's impressive anyway, but to produce such a game changing score whether alone or part of a team, in that amount of time, is simply amazing to me.

The ads I get have ridiculous time constraints. Ive been sent an ad at 9am to be scored by 12pm. It's something I wasn't prepared for when I entered the business.

Any new composers should definitely take note that writing "quality" music is one thing, but you usually have to do it at super human speeds, too!
Old 7th January 2017
  #18
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Interesting interview I read/heard (?) recently with Johann Johannson where he said he has to turn down many films because he couldn't do them in the time frames given and that he needs a long time (pretty sure he said a year) to work on a film, from getting ideas, themes, experimenting etc. He also mentioned how he hopes other directors/composers take note of his working method with Denis Villeneuve.
Old 7th January 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
I don't think ANY serious name feature film composers are working by "themselves". It's a team sport. The deadlines are just too brutal in 2017 for any single composer to pull it off. There are several I could name that have 2-5-10 USC grads mocking up cues for them @ $15 an hour for every day in a composing/production schedule.
$15 an hour for people who live in LA and have student loan payments? Ouch!

I would have taken a gig like that 15 years ago just for the experience. That role is definitely for young guys/gals. Does it ever lead to higher paying jobs in the future?
Old 7th January 2017
  #20
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The thing about schedules for big studio features is that they are almost set in stone before production even starts. Certainly before post production starts. There are only so many screens, and the competition is fierce. And you don't want to release on the same weekend as a super blockbuster, as that will kill your first weekend, which will very likely hurt the film - longterm. It's not about the music, or writing good music, or even having music that supports the film well. It's about getting a product to market on time. Little indie films or docs are a different game...
Old 7th January 2017
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Does it ever lead to higher paying jobs in the future?
It can, but it seems to rarely happen. I'm not sure what happens to most of those guys. I think the majority burn out and they head back to where they came from and they carve a niche out there. They certainly learn a LOT in the process. From talking with them at times, a lot of the "pie in the sky", dream of being a great film composer wears off, and there is a somewhat bitter attitude. I have to admit, that I am prone to slide into that perspective myself if I'm not careful - the business side and schedule part of it sucks. I guard myself against it, and it's one of the main reasons I choose to (mostly) not work in Hollywood anymore.

Becoming a feature film composer takes incredible stamina, tons of connections, and the ability to survive a decade or two to get noticed. Two out of three won't get you there. Talent is a nice bonus, but not mandatory as you can buy that into your team.
Old 7th January 2017
  #22
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Lots of good reads thus far in the thread!

Bill - The top is a meat grinder. Amazing! But a meat grinder. I knew early enough on that L.A. wasn't my scene. I consider 10 - 12 hours a day hard working. Beyond that and I am reminded of all the stories of sweat shops and everything that Labor fought (and died for) over the years. I used to do a lot of on set audio engineering and did some movies. I couldn't possibly count the number of 17 hour days I've seen. I remember one project that was doing 20 hour days by the end they were so far behind. You come off them pulverized and sick. It's not a good way to live. There is a reason that the union is pushing so hard for 12-on-12-off. Safety is a key part for on set people. Every year someone dies just driving back from location because they are beyond spent.

$15 / hr - I pay high school kids that much to babysit. Although I always have an internal struggle when I give them as much for an evening of watching Netflix with my kids as I used to make for a month of delivering daily newspapers in the snow and rain as a youngin.

Amber - I'm down with Johann's approach. Balance and quality of life matter. And quality of music too. (I say that while being guilty of churning out countless amounts of drivel.) It is hard to make it work against the realities of schedules and budgets. But we should give some push back. At the top tier they have the money to move mountains and get it done. At the lower level though, schedule overruns shouldn't always result in the music department's sweatshop labor.

The VFX industry has been in upheaval lately over similar problems. There were protests when Life of Pi was winning best VFX and the shop that did them had gone under. Package bids are a problem for them. They are a problem for us too. Because package bids don't always account for shortening schedules and increasing workloads.

Spiderman - Nice job seeking clarification. Because any number of minutes per day number needs context. For instance, the material I posted earlier was one person w/ VSL. Written, mixed, and sent to the director/producer at end of day for approval. I was pretty happy with the Run for the Door cue because the writing managed to sneak in some very Beethoven-esque things which I love and it was better than most of what I get to churn out. With more time it could be way better. That is the downside of the biz. The rush. It always has a big asterisk which means it isn't your true best.

Philosaxter & Jazz - I'd enjoy hearing some of your chase scene cues if you are allowed or inclined. PM if you like!

Again - good thread. I enjoy the tales. There is a lot of talent in this corner of GS and I appreciate that. Far more than other areas. Most people here are walking the walk and in the trenches.

Happy composing & good luck in 2017,
Sam
Old 7th January 2017
  #23
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Sam - JJ's writing/experimenting at script stage, sending ideas to DV throughout filming, so he's getting his themes and tones and palette sorted early on. I think he said some is edited to his music, some not. But the point is, he doesn't have that worry of sending the director something he isn't expecting when the edit is near final. He eases in his ideas over a long period of time.

Really I guess this has nothing to do with whether a big studio is involved or not. It's the director letting the composer in early on, being an important collaborator.

I don't really understand the 16 hour days. I can't tolerate coffee/caffeine so there's no way I could do it day in day out. I wonder if the reason we hear so much temp copying is because these blockbuster composers are just desperate to hit their deadline. Then there are composers who say they work from 9-5 and never on weekends (can't remember who off the top of my head).

I can't help but think that maybe some illegal stimulants keep some people going.
Old 7th January 2017
  #24
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16 hour days during production? Those would be considered short in my experience. Weekends off and 9-5 hour days? I've honestly never seen that. At least not during production schedules. Yes, Sam, meat grinder to the MAX!!! Not something I want to be involved in anymore. As a matter of fact, I'd go so far as to not be willing to trade my career for Hanz's or Danny's or Alan's - even if the money was traded as well. I love my lifestyle out of LA much more than having the notoriety of being a "star" composer. That's the one thing that young guys who have not lived in the trenches don't understand. The job extracts a heavy toll.....

Cheers, and happy new years to all here who do the work day in and day out!
Old 7th January 2017
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amber View Post
Sam - JJ's writing/experimenting at script stage, sending ideas to DV throughout filming, so he's getting his themes and tones and palette sorted early on. I think he said some is edited to his music, some not. But the point is, he doesn't have that worry of sending the director something he isn't expecting when the edit is near final. He eases in his ideas over a long period of time.

Really I guess this has nothing to do with whether a big studio is involved or not. It's the director letting the composer in early on, being an important collaborator.

I don't really understand the 16 hour days. I can't tolerate coffee/caffeine so there's no way I could do it day in day out. I wonder if the reason we hear so much temp copying is because these blockbuster composers are just desperate to hit their deadline. Then there are composers who say they work from 9-5 and never on weekends (can't remember who off the top of my head).

I can't help but think that maybe some illegal stimulants keep some people going.
Michael Giacchino is quoted often talking about keeping his schedule 9-5 during writing.

I think there are more people approaching this "pre production composing" as part of the process. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross both work this way. Cliff Martinez also.... he even goes as far as to visit the set and sketch some ideas while there/hotel. Hans Zimmer and Chris Nolan both referenced lots of composer activity during filming of Dark Knight and other collabs.

Interesting coincidence that all of these people also produced relatively unique scores (not typical "generic film music") that were very well received in recent years? Maybe....

Last edited by spiderman; 7th January 2017 at 09:22 PM..
Old 8th January 2017
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
Michael Giacchino is quoted often talking about keeping his schedule 9-5 during writing.
Totally! I attended an SCL screening of ROGUE ONE a couple weeks ago, which was followed by a Q&A w/Giacchino... he even mentioned that, for the most part, he still managed to stick to his 9-5 writing schedule, over the 4-1/2 weeks he took to score that. Pretty amazing...
Old 8th January 2017
  #27
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I think this get's back to drBill's point... Giacchino leaves at 5pm. The 10 USC grads that work on his team stay until 3am busting ass.... not to mention his orchestrator, the copyist, his personal assistants, the team IT person, the synthesist.
Old 8th January 2017
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post

Interesting coincidence that all of these people also produced relatively unique scores (not typical "generic film music") that were very well received in recent years? Maybe....
Yeah totally agree with this. You can add Mansell's older scores to that as well.

When I listen to most modern scores, I feel like all the time has gone into getting great mock ups done.

I wonder if films like Neon Demon, Social Network, Arrival and Bladerunner 2049 get test screened like a big Marvel film would?
Old 8th January 2017
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
I think this get's back to drBill's point... Giacchino leaves at 5pm. The 10 USC grads that work on his team stay until 3am busting ass.... not to mention his orchestrator, the copyist, his personal assistants, the team IT person, the synthesist.

FOUR AND A HALF WEEKS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!

Additions (most likely) :

While Giacchino was a home relaxing after 5, to make THAT score in a month, he almost certainly had :

- the 10 USC grads actually writing the music
- the 4 midi orchestrators mocking up the music to pro status and then printing stems, and prepping for the orchestra record.
- the 2-4 orchestrators orchestrating and preparing the score nonstop
- probably 1-2 experienced ghost composers riding herd on the USC grads and orchestrators keeping things in the creative ballpark.
- 1-3 music editors busting @$$ to keep things organized
- 1-2 music engineers doing demo mixes, printing off .mov's with demo music for director/producer/studio etc., prepping for the orchestra record, recording misc. musicians, etc..

THAT score did not just get done in a month. Even with all those people working round the clock, the phone calls, meetings, spotting sessions, attention to re-writes, etc. would take more than a month of 9-5. I'm not buying it.....
Old 8th January 2017
  #30
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I'd bet that he started writing as soon as the contract was signed.... I would! Just to get in the groove, and to find some melodic themes, and hoping to get lucky with a few bits that could paste into the final. Sure the meat and potatoes happened in 30 days.... but it was definitely 100 people lifting that thing off the ground.
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