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What should I include in my CV when applying for composer assistant jobs?

Sam Batchelar

New Member
When applying for the job of composers assistant, would it be valuable to include in my CV a kind of portfolio providing links to example projects I have completed, examples of sound design I have done and/or sample instruments I have made. Or would it be better to focus on formal music qualifications or something?

I'm mentioning this because I don't have many formal music qualifications (a couple of grade certificates for some instruments) but I have a shed load of things I have made such as completed projects, synth presets, EXS24 sample instruments etc.

Sam.
 

Daryl

Senior Member
1. Formal qualifications
2. Operating systems you can work with
3. Software you know how to use. Specify as to what level
4. Projects completed
5. Any sports etc. that you have done to a high level
6. Make sure everything is bullet pointed and no more than 2 pages.
 

Loïc D

Monkeying with libraries
I guess some IT soft skills would be welcome (like mac/pc maintenance, bit of scripting,...).
 

JohnG

Senior Member
definitely instruments

I guess the "sports" thing is a general note that you should put down any activity or sphere in which you've excelled or that makes you tick.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? Could be volunteering at homeless shelters or something that's not exactly an achievement, but that tells the reader Who You Are.
 
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Sam Batchelar

Sam Batchelar

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There are some really good points here thanks a lot.

Although when you say instruments what do you mean. Sample instruments or real instruments. I was already thinking of mentioning for instance that I play electric bass.
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
There are some really good points here thanks a lot.

Although when you say instruments what do you mean. Sample instruments or real instruments. I was already thinking of mentioning for instance that I play electric bass.

Real instruments. It's always good to know if a possible assistant is an ace on some instrument that the composer or his team doesn't already cover. Even if the job starts out by sitting in a room editing snare drum samples for 12 hours a day, if the kid can play guitar or whatever then it's great to be able to say, "Hey, get in here and play a porno movie wah-wah chick-chicka guitar for 8 bars on this thing."

If you play violin or cello, then you've got bow technique - so get in here and bow this piano-string fence-post thing I made. I can't do it right because I'm old and my wrist hurts.

So, if you play bass, then you can probably pick in time - so get in here and use this guitar pick to play straight eighth notes on this ghuzheng I bought off Craigslist while I bend the strings and beat you about the head and shoulders with this rubber chicken.
 

wolf

42
Real instruments. It's always good to know if a possible assistant is an ace on some instrument that the composer or his team doesn't already cover. Even if the job starts out by sitting in a room editing snare drum samples for 12 hours a day, if the kid can play guitar or whatever then it's great to be able to say, "Hey, get in here and play a porno movie wah-wah chick-chicka guitar for 8 bars on this thing."

If you play violin or cello, then you've got bow technique - so get in here and bow this piano-string fence-post thing I made. I can't do it right because I'm old and my wrist hurts.

So, if you play bass, then you can probably pick in time - so get in here and use this guitar pick to play straight eighth notes on this ghuzheng I bought off Craigslist while I bend the strings and beat you about the head and shoulders with this rubber chicken.

I do play e-bass (both with pick and fingers. Masters degree), guitar (know how to use a wah-wah), guitarViol, upright bass, cello (I know how to bow). I have serious endurance editing audio, including snare drum samples. And I am not phobic of rubber chickens - although I might fight back with my (admittedly rusty) TaeKwonDo skills. I also know EXS24 pretty well and live close by... at your service at a moments notice :whistling:

(sorry. couldn't resist)
 

wolf

42
on a more formal note and reply to Sam: I found educational accomplishments to be a mixed bag and give them only limited weight. I'd be much more interested in what you can actually do, which includes credits and hearing/seeing examples of work. Apart from your existing skill set, I'd mostly want to find out if you have a professional attitude, are good to work with. Are you able to take directions? Are you able to find creative solutions? And are you able to distinguish the two depending on situation?
Personal references, letters of recommendation, people one could contact are powerful persuaders.
 

JJP

I put dots and lines on paper.
Since I need people with very specific skills, knowledge and experience, I find references are only useful if it's someone I know and can pick up the phone and say, "Hey, what can you tell me about this person?" The opinion of a stranger isn't so useful because I don't have any reference for their judgement. (Does that person understand the work I do or the level of expectation?)

For example, a colleague form the other side of the country had one of their people coming to LA and wanted to hook that person up with some work. The colleague told me, "I have this person who has been working for me. They're spectacular, super knowledgeable, experienced, and lots of fun. I even trust them to cover for me at rehearsals and sessions when I can't be there."

I deeply trust this colleague, so the person would have to turn out to be a real jerk to not get called for the next project. I trusted the reference because I knew the colleague making the recommendation fully understood the demands of the job. Sure enough, that person is one of the most skilled and fun people with whom I've worked.
 

kunst91

Senior Member
Definitely tailor each resume to the gig. My first assistant job in LA was for a tv/film guy from the RCP camp. It was very clear from the outset that the gig was non-glamorous and non-musical, so I made a point of highlighting skills like server maintenance and removed any trace of a musical instrument from the resume. I learned later that this choice got me the gig over other kids who put all of their musical experience front and center.

That said there are other composers who dont compartmentalize their assistants and want to hear about any and all skills you might have.

So make sure to do some research on the composer and get a sense of his/her attitude and workflow with respect to assistants.

Horses for courses, as they say.
 
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