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Your thoughts on "donating" a song to a indie film/documentary for nothing more than
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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SpikeWolf's Avatar
 

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Your thoughts on "donating" a song to a indie film/documentary for nothing more than

Receiving credit on the film? Good idea? Bad idea? Why?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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shabbyroad's Avatar
Bad idea. It contributes to the race to the bottom.

If every other person who worked on the film worked for free then maybe consider it...though that's unlikely isn't it?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Mrx
Gear Maniac
 

It may occur like a great idea initially but I think you'll regret it at some point. All good intentions go out of the window the moment other people get involved with the film. Always get some sort of payment for your work.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Gear Head
 

Nobody gets to profit off of me without paying, sorry. That's not how the world works.

That's just me and anybody I personally know that's a smart businessman/woman, though. So do what makes you feel good!
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Ask yourself, what does this do for me?

And what is the answer? Does receiving credit on the film help you in any way? If you contribute a song, will other directors and producers be calling you to score their film? If you can put on your resume that you contributed a song - not that you scored the film, but contributed a song to it - is that going to help you get more gigs?
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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Lenzo's Avatar
Maybe you could ask your electric company to provide you power for credit on the film....or the grocery store...how about a few months worth for credit. Why is it people think musicians should always work for free. And why is it that some musicians give all of their work away?
L.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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Astronaut FX's Avatar
Every profession has it's hoops that have to be jumped through on the path to success. Music is fun and enjoyable. Because of that, there are a hell of a lot more people who would like to do it for a living than there are paying gigs. So yeah, doing some free work to demonstrate your skills can, if an individual chooses to do so, be a way to pay their dues, and get their foot in the door.

Attorneys do pr bono work to gain notoriety. All kinds of industries do volunteer work. While there is a component of altruism at play, most also take into consideration the marketing value of that volunteer work. Companies give out free samples of their products with the expectation it will drive future sales. So I'm not sure I understand why musicians get all worked up about this. Many seem to want to be part of music business without understanding business, or at least, expect the rules of business not to apply to their business.

I fully support anyone who finds creative ways to expand their portfolio and prove their worth on the path to greater success. But I tend to be more of a long term thinker than a short term thinker. YMMV
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Head
 

Giving is it's own reward, plus you get brownie points in your Karma account. Perhaps the kindness you do for someone will be returned one day... or not. Do it anyway.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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drBill's Avatar
Give it away if you love the film and want to be involved. But do not be mis-led - giving music away is not a career starter or leg up in the business. It paints you as a person without a clue who is desperate. No one wants to work with people who don't know what they are doing who are desperate.

What do I do when someone asks for music or production for free? I tell them how many hours it will take me to do it, and then politely ask them if they will mow my lawn and wash my windows for the same amount of time. Funny how they miraculously end up with a budget to pay me.....

BTW, as an aside - if it's a profession project, there is ALWAYS more money in a film budget no matter how much they say they are broke and/or out of money. They can always find a way. And if it's not a professional project - why are you wasting your time? The odds are astronomical that nothing will happen with it.

Even on mega successful projects, a "screen credit" has never gained me anything. Hard work and networking is what moves you forward. Not a placement.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
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Lenzo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
But do not be mis-led - giving music away is not a career starter or leg up in the business.
This big time. I've been around for a lot of years and have been fortunate to have made a good living over the years. I remember even in high school bands, that people would try and give us the "it will be great exposure" bull. I cannot think of one occasion in all of these years where working for free would have done much more than waste my time. I will say that donating to a well deserving charity might be the exception. But don't kid yourself. Tons of people love to play that work for free card. Refer them to someone else. Actually, most of the time I wouldn't waste my time even doing that.
L.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Even on mega successful projects, a "screen credit" has never gained me anything. Hard work and networking is what moves you forward. Not a placement.
Nothing could be truer than the bolded, but in my experience successful placements were directly responsible for what turned out to be some of my most lucrative networking opportunities.

I'm a big believer in doing whatever it takes to get you in the room. If that's giving something away, that's giving something away. Not always a direct path but the spoils go to the folks who can figure out how to connect the dots.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by miradoclassic View Post
If that's giving something away, that's giving something away. Not always a direct path but the spoils go to the folks who can figure out how to connect the dots.
Those dots never connected for me. And most of us I think.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeWolf View Post
Receiving credit on the film? Good idea? Bad idea? Why?
As everyone has noted above the benefits are slim - but you might learn a lot and meet contacts and that has a value independent of this project. Learning transferrable skills.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
Those dots never connected for me. And most of us I think.
That's a shame, but perhaps generational in a way? You've been posting on this website since before I was even in the industry, and I can't imagine getting where I've gotten with my freebies without leveraging smartphones + social media to amplify the effect.

I forgot to add that there's a huge difference between giving away music for free and crossing your fingers, which is almost certainly not going to work out, and giving away your music for free WHILE attaching strings designed to get you closer to where you want to go (costs nothing up front, but comes with conditions where if X happens, then I get Y -- I did this a bunch).

And don't think conditions have to be monetary, either -- invites to festivals, award shows, appearances on someone's instagram, ROFR on paid projects, etc. Those things can all be worth more than an initial paltry sum if you know how to maximize their value.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by miradoclassic View Post
I forgot to add that there's a huge difference between giving away music for free and crossing your fingers, which is almost certainly not going to work out, and giving away your music for free WHILE attaching strings designed to get you closer to where you want to go (costs nothing up front, but comes with conditions where if X happens, then I get Y -- I did this a bunch).
Nice. I believe that "free" is never free as long as you negotiate something else down the line.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

I've done lot's of free work for people and have never asked for anything in return. However, if I ever need a painting done or a model built, I'm covered. If I need a musician to play something I can't, I'm covered. If I ever need a job or $30 million to finance a film, I'm covered. You guys are free to do business your own way, just don't ask for anyone for any favors in return.
Old 1 week ago
  #17
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
if I ever need a painting done or a model built, I'm covered. If I need a musician to play something I can't, I'm covered. If I ever need a job or $30 million to finance a film, I'm covered.
Which one of these is not like the others
Old 1 week ago
  #18
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by miradoclassic View Post
I forgot to add that there's a huge difference between giving away music for free and crossing your fingers, which is almost certainly not going to work out, and giving away your music for free WHILE attaching strings designed to get you closer to where you want to go (costs nothing up front, but comes with conditions where if X happens, then I get Y -- I did this a bunch).

And don't think conditions have to be monetary, either -- invites to festivals, award shows, appearances on someone's instagram, ROFR on paid projects, etc. Those things can all be worth more than an initial paltry sum if you know how to maximize their value.
Agreed. I wouldn't call "strings attached" free - you're getting something in return.
Old 1 week ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desire Inspires View Post
Nice. I believe that "free" is never free as long as you negotiate something else down the line.
I beleive you're looking for the term "conditional"?
Old 1 week ago
  #20
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Astronaut FX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeWolf View Post
I beleive you're looking for the term "conditional"?
Most others businesses would call it an investment.
Old 1 week ago
  #21
Gear Head
 

You're missing the point. As I've stated, I've not asked for any favors in return. All I would have to do is mention a need to a friend and they would offer to help, although I'm fine if they don't. Even if they can't help, they probably know a guy. The variety of examples is because this works in a variety of situations. If you get in to film, it's more than just audio.

Worst case scenerio, I've helped someone. I don't see it as being for nothing.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Astronaut FX View Post
Most others businesses would call it an investment.
That term you used was the thought behind this post.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
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SpikeWolf's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilRoy View Post
Worst case scenerio, I've helped someone. I don't see it as being for nothing.
You're not so evil after all...
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeWolf View Post
I beleive you're looking for the term "conditional"?
Yes, always have conditions. Whether they are explicit or implicit, always have conditions. Never let people use you without getting something in return at some point in time.

Remember that you have value. The trick is to get other people to see your value and to leverage that value into tangible gifts and favors. Always seek out a way to capitalize on your value.

The other person is doing the same thing. And if that person isn't, exploit that person.

I listen to WII-FM everyday: (What's In It For Me)!
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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ionian's Avatar
I've never worked for free. I have a successful career as a full time musician. I don't consider these two points to be a coincidence.
Old 1 week ago
  #26
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
I've never worked for free. I have a successful career as a full time musician. I don't consider these two points to be a coincidence.
Quoted for truth.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
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Lenzo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
As everyone has noted above the benefits are slim - but you might learn a lot and meet contacts and that has a value independent of this project. Learning transferrable skills.
Funny, but I've met a lot of contacts and learned a lot on paid jobs. And the contacts I met were the kind that were used to paying people for projects. Not saying you won't meet those kind on a free job, but chances are the person you are doing the free job for has broadcast to all of his friends that you did the job for nothing. I think it's more than possible that will play into your next conversation with said contacts.
L.

Last edited by Lenzo; 6 days ago at 11:31 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenzo View Post
...chances are the person you are doing the free job for has broadcast to all of his friends that you did the job for nothing. I think it's more than possible that will play into your next conversation with said contacts...
Good. If it were me I'd explain to the new contacts that I accept payment for my work now.
Old 1 week ago
  #29
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drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Good. If it were me I'd explain to the new contacts that I accept payment for my work now.
You'd probably never get the chance. It's a well documented fact of industry networking - successful people want to work with successful people. Generally speaking, undercutting, low bidding and/or giving your music away does not generate an image of success. Just saying....
Old 1 week ago
  #30
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SpikeWolf's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
You'd probably never get the chance. It's a well documented fact of industry networking - successful people want to work with successful people. Generally speaking, undercutting, low bidding and/or giving your music away does not generate an image of success. Just saying....
I do not agree with this comment. To me, it's the same as saying an author handing out some free books, or a professional speaker/comedian going to his children's school or back to his alma mater, for free. Doesn't mean that person is any less successful. Sure there will be press coverage which is good. Sure it would probably confirm it was done for free, but no where does it suggest this person is doing their craft fro free from here on out.
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