How to Become a Film Composer
For those who are looking for a great career in music, like Costa Damoulianos film composer, becoming a film composer is one of the most rewarding jobs you can get. Musicians very often find movies very inspiring when it comes to composing music and strive to be able to work with directors to score movies one day. According to a poll published in Vanity Fair, most film composers found their calling very early in life, finding themselves wanting to write music for movies from a very young age. However, as you might have already discovered, there aren't any set guidelines for the steps you need to take to land a job in this very fulfilling career choice. As a matter of fact, many well-known film composers have taken very different paths in order to arrive at their ultimate goals. For example:
• John Williams, who is well known for scoring such major motion pictures as Star Wars and Harry Potter and has won five separate Oscars for his work began his musical career as a piano student at Julliard. He later began working as a jazz pianist in several different New York night clubs. It wasn't until he met Bernard Herrmann that he began working in film.
• Howard Shore, who is well known for his work composing the original work for Lord of the Rings graduated from Berklee College of Music to play in a jazz group before be became the musical director for Saturday Night Live. It wasn't until he met and collaborated with David Cronenburg that his film career took off.
• Danny Elfman began his musical career as the lead singer of the group Oingo Boingo in the 80s. It wasn't until he began working with Tim Burton that he began scoring movies. He is responsible for composing the original music on most of Tim Burton's films as well as on such box office hits as Batman Returns, the Men in Black series, and Spider-Man.
If you are looking to take a similar path, there is no set path for you to take. However, you can increase your chances of landing the career of your dreams by:
Getting a college degree in music or a related field. Getting a college education in an arts program gives you the proper educational foundation you need to be successful. The University of Southern California or NYU have great programs that focus on music composition and film composition and scoring that can help you get the education you need while also helping you get vital experience by working with student film directors that will help you add to your portfolio.
Work on different types of films. Odds are you won't start your career in the majors. Most film composers will cut their teeth by creating jingles for commercials, student films, movie trailers and more. These projects are vital to the development of your skill set as well as your portfolio, so working in these varied genres is important to your career.
Make connections with directors Many people will tell you that in the entertainment industry, it's not what you know, it's who you know. And while this isn't 100% true, it can't hurt to start building your network sooner rather than later. Building relationships with those in the business will help you stand out among the thousands of others that are vying for the job you want. And directors will often find a single reliable source for original film composition and use them in the bulk of their films.
Go where the jobs are. It's important to the success of your career for you to be where the work is. Some people say that the Internet has erased all of the geographical barriers we used to have, this simply isn't true. If you are looking to become a serious film composer, you will need to be in Southern California or New York as this is where most of the films we see are made.
Last but not least, be persistent. If you want to become a film composure, you have to work for it. And this will mean hearing a lot of nos before you ever hear a yes.