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How to get a gig as a new Orchestrator on the block?

Eduardo Lopez

New Member
Hey VI fellows!

So, I´m just wondering if anyone might have any ideas, suggestions, experience or inisghts on this question? How to get a gig as a new "young" Orchestrator?

I enjoy quite a bit doing orchestration, arragemenets and of course composing my own music, but it would like to get a few extra bucks, meet new talentend people, composers, producer, contractors, etc... and get more inisight into the orchestration world.

The thing is that I don´t have much credits to show to someone, and I don´live in any big "Hollywood-esque" city.
So, how do you get started on this? should I ask for remote assistanship to another more experienced orchestrator? should I contact an upcoming composer and ask to do just a few cues for them? (and If anyone knows... what is the current price of orchestration, for pros and for starting orchestrators?).

Thanks a bunch! :)


Senior Member
Contact orchestrators and find out if they need any assistants to do MIDI transfer etc. for them. Then when you prove yourself at that, you can start doing some easy, basic orchestrating for clients with a small budget. And then when you've prove yourself at that, you can start to move into named orchestrator status. And then you can set up on your own as a orchestrator.


Senior Member
Literally just do it. That's how I got my first professional jobs. Just do it. Force your way into a scene. Do it and charge afterwards. If you did a good job and hustled people will pay.

There are so few people these days that can do charts to use an old vernacular.

When I got my first gigs. I literally just wrote a letter to somebody and the next week I was working on my first major record as an orchestrator/arranger. Platinum selling producers calling me on the phone, ect. Exciting times. Then it died away and I "tried" to get work and really Yoda was right on that one. Do or do not. There is no try. Once I "tried" to get work there was none. Maybe my heart wasn't into it any more. Who knows.

Don't limit yourself to film TV. That would be foolish for an orchestrator. The field is jam packed and closed off. You will have nearly every contractor, orchestrator and studio working against you as a new guy. But, you can work your way into records and then move over into film/TV. I also know a guy that does Broadway shows. He is and was a big record arranger/orchestrator and now he's also doing Broadway.

Also, there are a lot of people that advertise for shows ect. Just work your ass off. There is so much opportunity if you hustle. It's one of the few things in our field that is nearly wide open.

I also met a guy that was doing orchestration for Trailer music companies. That was interesting. Some of it is of course glorified copying. Taking a midi file and turning it into a score but even that can be fun.

Also, part copying or music prep can be expensive. So do it all yourself. It's a little extra work but you'll be able to pocket all the money.

Work your local market or a nearby big city. Also, work online. That wasn't available to me in my day but there are a lot of people doing orchestrations online these days.

Personally, I didn't dig the work, but a lot of people do. And, orchestrators are some of the best paid people in the business. They make bank. sometimes even more than your composer on a package deal. Some composers will even spend most of their package on orchestration and music prep.

Work hard though. You have to work your ass off. More than you think is even humanly possible. Way harder than I ever needed to work as a composer. Deadlines are tight. If you have a full orchestra and you're doing the music prep copying all the needed parts can be time consuming. Partnering with somebody as part of your own business is also good. Work hard, be organized and be brilliant. It's an exciting field and some of the best press and reviews I got were on my arrangements and orchestration. I also got slammed too but that's just part of the biz. But cool thing is when you get slammed it's not that personal because it wasn't your music to begin with. When somebody writes something good or bad about my film scores the bad ones can make me bed ridden for a day. But, I never suffered that as an orchestrator.
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