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Short film / scoring to picture QUICK TIPPS

Bluemount Score

Active Member
Hi together,
I'm starting to compose the soundtrack for a short film tomorrow.
It's my first time writing music to picture.

Regardless of genre and style, do you have any quick but useful tips? Did you make any mistakes when starting out that you could mention, or general workflow things?

In my case, it's a bigger project of me and a couple of friends, so there's no money or extrem deadlines involved. Still I'm curious what you got.
 

JeffvR

Active Member
Have a good spotting session before you start to compose any music. Have a good concept. Search for music that might fit the film and get inspired by it. Take a couple of days or weeks to do all this, don't compose anything yet! Take your time, it will make the process of writing way faster and easier. Create a theme or themes that sets the general mood of the film. Try to make them adaptable so they work in different tempos, different keys, moods etc. Set a tempo before you start to compose to each cue. Fill in the dots and you're done.
 

Andrew Goodwin

Active Member
Both maybe not entirely necessarily for a short film, but
-Have a spotting session with the Director and write down the notes. That way your brain doesn't scramble them
-get a cut of the film with timecode burned in. It makes it so much easier to pinpoint what your communicating about, when they have notes for you.
 

Montisquirrel

Active Member
Different people, different workflow.

I would never ever start a new score with listening to music made by other composers, only if I really get stuck or when the director has a clear idea about the music and it is something I have never done before (like one job that I did which was about Klezmer Music... so I listened to this kind of style at Youtube to get a feeling for it and studied some of its scales)

You asked which mistakes when starting? My biggest mistakes have been too much thinking before playing the first note. So my advice would be to just start and keep communication with the director/team, as you said that these are your friends and there is no deadline involved I think it is a very perfect and nice environment to learn and improve your film scoring. And always keep in mind that if the team don't like one idea you can sometimes just change one instrument or the speed or the reverb and it seams like a total new song for the crew ;)

Good luck!
 
OP
Bluemount Score

Bluemount Score

Active Member
Different people, different workflow.

I would never ever start a new score with listening to music made by other composers, only if I really get stuck or when the director has a clear idea about the music and it is something I have never done before
Interesting, that were my thoughts as well. I really hate the idea of a single reference track, stuck in my head while trying to compose something individual. Eventually we still decided to listen to what the director had in mind while editing. Turned out to be a good decision, I feel inspired, but not like I ran out of options.
You asked which mistakes when starting? My biggest mistakes have been too much thinking before playing the first note. So my advice would be to just start and keep communication with the director/team
That‘s what I did, started playing around with different libraries almost as soon as we were done watching the short film for the first time. Turned out to be great fun. Achieved the progress you could have hoped for after just one day!
 

Saxer

Senior Member
Listening to existing music while watching the film helps to make desicions. It's not made for copying other music or as a temp track. But you can see and listen what style of music makes a scene ironic or romantic or dramatic... or boring. To just try out things like that you had to compose tons of tracks. Where is the best place to start and end music? Which size of orchestration will fit? Often compsoers (like me) do things they want to do instead of what the project needs. It's a great process to get familiar with the film. After that process put everything away and make your own thing.
 
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