Film Scoring and Sound Design Advice

Hello everyone. From my last article I have been receiving private messages from people asking for advice/pointers of how to start/get into the fields of Film Scoring and/or Sound Design. The following is a conversation of one of the questions and the response I gave.

The Conversation

Hi Navid my name is (name withheld). Really impressed with your certification and I find it interesting. I’m interested in film scoring and sound design and was wondering if you had any pointers for someone starting out.

Good afternoon (name withheld) how are you? Here are some pointers.

1. The first thing you have to remember is that this industry (just like most industry) is relationship based. Having skills is one thing but that kind of information is ubiquitous. It is how you treat people and vice versa. LEARN this part and you will have a shot.

2. This career path is VERY long and harsh – especially in this country.

3. You would have to go where the filmmakers are – Go to the Film Festivals (there are a few that happen every year) and meet them face to face. Remember point #1.

4. Market yourself constantly, market your brand constantly . Repeat.

5. Join Facebook groups for Film Scoring and Sound Designing. They always have great tips during conversation. LEARN from them!! Remember point #1.

6. Become a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. Read / listen to his stuff and apply. Trust me on this!!

7. Get the 10X Rule from Grant Cardone. Trust me on this!!

8. Become VERY FAMILIAR with your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). If you do not know what those are (Pro Tools, Logic, Presonus Studio One, Cubase …. etc) you are going to run into issues. They are expensive so if you want to start out you can start by looking at some free ones here: https://producelikeapro.com/…/free-daws-best-available-2018/

By the way. Fruity Loops and Propellerhead Reason are nice to make beats but not for film scoring.

9. Get a piano keyboard that has a MIDI out to your computer. You do not necessarily have to have a MIDI Controller. Just a regular piano keyboard will do.

10. You can get MANY free instruments online. A lot of them will not be the best sampled and the file sizes may be a lot smaller than the professional sample libraries (I’m not talking about loops/sample packs). I would recommend stuff from https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando.html for starters.

11. Record your own samples for Sound Design. That way you would have a sample library that no one else has.

12. Get a website, get a website, get a website!!!! You can start with a free one on Wix.com or Squarespace.com and move up from there.

13. Get a Soundcloud account, get a Soundcloud account, get a Soundcloud account.

14. Get a Youtube channel dedicated to your works …. etc

15. Don’t be an asshole!! This industry is small and word gets around VERY quickly. Remember point #1. Don’t be a doormat either.

16. Become a listener of podcasts …. LOTS OF THEM … they have some of the best and most vital lessons I have learnt for this type of life from some of the world’s best Film Composers and Sound Designers. The ones I listen to are: Score: The Podcast, Art of the Score, Soundworks Collection, The Scorecast Podcast Show.

17. You are going to meet MANY disappointments, many people who (since some of them are the ‘gatekeepers’ to certain organizations) will hate you just for you and will love nothing more than to not see you progress. I have felt it (and continue to feel it) in this country even after all the work I’ve done. The good news is that there are over 7 billion people on this planet so …….. yeah the gatekeepers don’t really matter in the short and long of it.

18. Get your skills up to at least the baseline standard (being able to produce ideas – in a TIMELY FASHION). When you are meeting Filmmakers, Producers, Directors you are NOT going to them to look for a job. You are going to them TO ADD VALUE TO THEIR WORKS!! REMEMBER THIS!!

19. Film Scoring and Sound Design is not for you to show your ego. You are there to assist the Director’s vision. It is not your show. Be a team player.

20. Trust is VITAL. Safeguard your IP (Intellectual Property)

21. …….. and yeah ……. read #1 again.

 

I hope the advice was helpful especially for those who are starting out. Let me know what you think. Leave a question or  comment below.

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