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Anybody w/experience w/directors?
Old 11th March 2003
  #1
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cram's Avatar
 

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Anybody w/experience w/directors?

I got a gig writing music for an indie film short to be shown at Sundance next year. It's been really fun making music that I think fits the screenplay at this early stage. Hopefully it will also fit the images on the screen.

Anyway, the director is a really nice person but it seems he/she needs to talk about every step of the process. He/she talks about his/her philosophy, his/her technique, his/her vision, for damn near every frame. I'm used to the usual discussions with bands and musicians to get everybody on the same page, but this is getting ridiculous.

I'd like to break into the soundtrack biz but I don't know if I can handle the constant hand-holding.

Is this normal behavior for film directors? Or is this person just a talker?
Old 11th March 2003
  #2
Gear nut
 

Its a real common part of the film scoring process to go through a rough cut scene-by-scene, and at the very minimum, note the hit points, or spots where the music will emphasize the action on screen, to note the mood, the pace, and so on.

You note the in points, out points, where downbeats should hit, etc. From this meeting, you go back with a copy of the rough cut that's striped with SMPTE, and note the frames and times where you needed downbeats, and from this calculate tempos that will best fit the required points.

It sounds like you're getting a bit more verbosity than is strictly necessary to begin work...but I'd pay very close attention!!

zowd
Old 11th March 2003
  #3
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Well, Dwoz there is where the problem lies. We haven't even gotten to that part yet! No dailies, no roughs, no nothin'. Shooting is slated for this summer, so I guess I have something to look forward to.
Old 12th March 2003
  #4
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3rdpath's Avatar
hi cram,

first, you're lucky to be involved in the process this early in the game...this is your chance to develop creative trust with the director. he's going to put his heart, soul and money into a project and he wants to make sure you understand his vision...listen to him, develop a relationship and then show him your musical ideas.

also, you can write experimental cues for him to temp the movie with as he works...then you won't have to deal with " temp love" which often leads the director to ask the composer to replicate someone else's work. not fun.

every director is different...some welcome creative ideas and some don't. i've learned a bit from some and others i just wanted to throw out of my studio because they we're a major pain in the butt.

and to the best of my knowledge, sundance is a festival that you have to submit your movie to in the hope that it will be accepted for showing( unless you're harvey weinstein...)..so if he's saying it's showing there before he's even started shooting....well, use that info as you see fit.

good luck.
Old 12th March 2003
  #5
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by cram:
No dailies, no roughs, no nothin'. Shooting is slated for this summer, so I guess I have something to look forward to.
Tom,

Yeah, you got something to look forward to alright! (LOL!)

Every time the director changes his / her mind about how this film will be shot and cut, his / her mind will change in regards to the music to go with those shots and cuts. These changes will begin on a weekly basis, and as the production progresses, those changes will come on a nearly daily basis, if not an hourly basis.

When all is said and done, you will have scored music for over 50 different films.

Tell the director, "When you have something close to a final edit, give it to me, and I'll score your film."

See if they actually MAKE THE FILM before you get yourself wrapped up with these people.

THEN you can be Mr. Attentive Service.

Trust your instincts: You're ALREADY put-off by this director. She hasn't even begun filming yet, and ALREADY you feel like she's wasting your time.

I dunno, dude.
Old 12th March 2003
  #6
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Curious G's Avatar
 

Sorta have to agree with Curve... no use talking about scoring a movie that isn't shot yet. The obstacles ($$$) to making a film are so huge that I'd limit my 'face time' with the director until seeing a rough cut. Otherwise you may find yourself putting a lot of time and effort in a low paying gig for a film that sucks... I mean, is creatively challenged. Although most directors have a vision for their soundtrack, I don't think many of them view scoring as part of the pre-production process. Even when a director comes to me with sound design requests for a TV spot I try to put him off until I see the edit because I won't really know what it sounds like until I can see it.
Old 12th March 2003
  #7
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That's kinda what I've been figuring guys. I just have no experience in this area, so I didn't know how it was done. It seemed a little early to be talking about music, but what the hell do I know?
Old 12th March 2003
  #8
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
posted by cram:
That's kinda what I've been figuring guys. I just have no experience in this area, so I didn't know how it was done. It seemed a little early to be talking about music, but what the hell do I know?
Tom,

If you REALLY want to see if they're serious, try this:

Tell them you use a 3-stage billing process.

50% of your total bill is due in advance. That's phase one.

After you've scored the rough cut, bill them another 25% when you show them the cut. That's phase two. They're gonna want you to make some changes to the score at this point, so tell them, "Be VERY specific, because you get ONE free set of changes, and you will be BILLED for subsequent trips back the the drawing board."

So make the changes, and bill them the final 25% upon delivery of the masters, BUT GET THE $$$ BEFORE/WHEN YOU DELIVER. That's phase three.

That is the safest method of getting the work done in the shortest time possible, getting your $$$ and getting these people out of your life...and when this is done, you WILL want to get these people out of your life.

Good luck and keep yer powder dry!
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