Five Essential Tips for Becoming a Film Industry Composer

It is rare for an aspiring composer to earn a living, writing songs. The field is highly competitive, similar to trying to become an A-list actor in Hollywood. It can be difficult to even get your first job or make a steady income.

It helps if you have a library of samples, loops, presets and more such as those available at, since you want to produce original work. Nonetheless, to make it big, you must be both talented and business minded.

Enjoy Writing Music

Some say that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Well, the world consists of many careers. And, many people in those careers hate what they do but need the money to pay bills. If you want to make it as a composer, it should go without saying that it is important to love what you do.

Then, when you get paid, nothing can compare. You can tell you love something if you would still be happy doing it for free. If you don’t love it, then you will add more stress to your life than is necessary. If you don’t enjoy writing songs, then you might as well do something else that will at least pay the bills.

On the other hand, if this is your passion, then you will make time to write, record, mix and put together the final package. Enthusiasm and passion will take you far when it is essential to stand out in the music industry.

Start with the Right Education and Training

When it comes to composing, it helps to have an impressive background. If you go to the right school, you can start to make connections with people in the industry. To illustrate, your music professors and advisors will probably know people who can help with your first big break.

Of course, you must show potential. Yet, education is imperative for a composer. The reason is you need to understand the structures of a simple song form. Furthermore, you must combine that with practical experience.

Yet, that is not all. You must also understand how to work with software. Modern composers work with technology, which means you will have a lot to learn.

Going into a college program such as “Scoring for Film” will help to get you on the right path. You should even consider an MA. Plus, if you want to get into to TV and films, it helps to be located where there is a prominent and booming film industry such as Vancouver, Canada, Hollywood, California or Atlanta, Georgia.


Have the Right Personality for the Work

It would be nice if you could come up with an amazing song that makes you famous overnight. But, that rarely happens. Even the so-called “overnight” successes were actually years in the making.

To become a successful composer, you must have a strong work ethic in addition to being flexible and detail-oriented. There will be many times where your clients request changes to your original piece. It would be difficult to make money if you view your work as the ultimate masterpieces, that cannot be changed. To make it big, you must change the frame of mind because you have to work with people who have different opinions and perspectives.

So, think of your music as a service and not a product. That helps during the times when your clients seem to be interested in cutting or rearranging your music. It may not be the original, but at least you are getting paid and getting credit.

Be Disciplined

Many composers work a lot of hours, and are willing to do so in order to fit the music to their recipient’s expectations. Some composers can work 60 hours per week and another 20 or more to meet deadlines and make rewrites. It can be highly stressful. Moreover, it is a world filled with rejection.

In the first few years, you will struggle to get established. Many people quit before they even land their first paid industry job. If you are really passionate about composing, you can make it if you put in the hours.

Attend Industry Networking Events

It helps to know people in the industry, especially if you are new. Of course, you can publish samples of your work digitally, but it can be quite effective to meet potential clients in person. At these events, make sure to bring various samples of your work–in different genres such as drama, comedy, thriller, horror, etc…

You must show that you have range and can produce quality work.

Final Thought

A composer’s life is not necessarily easy. And, there might be many times when you feel like giving up. Yet, if you love what you do and are willing to work long hours to share your music with the world, then you should do just that.

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