It Happened Again, Part One

By Kelly Mahan Jaramillo, Oct. 26th 2007

Yesterday, Tomas’s web page got blitzed – someone was checking out many categories of music. This happens, but often there is no follow up e-mail if the person is interested. Hey, if they are not, they are not, and if they are trying to copy what he writes, good luck with that. His writing is so intricate that most of the time HE cannot re-create it.

But today we got an e-mail wanting Tomas to score a full feature length film. The person sent us still photographs, and it looks gorgeous. He spent $20,000 on what looks to be a very good movie. What did he forget to budget out?

THE SCORE!!!

If one goes back to the previous posts concerning budget, you can read about the issue with writing a film score for free. Honestly, even if we were rolling in dough, it would do such a disservice to upcoming filmmakers and composers to write a score for free.
Independent filmmakers have to learn how to budget for post production to get the best quality score. If a filmmaker has sunk his whole psyche into his story, does he really want a young hungry student composer to do the music for free, rather than a seasoned professional who will match the quality the filmmaker has put into his production?

DIRECTORS! Stop cutting corners in post. YOU are the ones who will suffer. YOUR FILM will suffer. After all of your hard work, is that what you want? At the end of the game, too many filmmakers sell themselves short with this “free” or “deferred” nonsense.

An average score can kill what could be a brilliant film. You do not have to offer Tomas an enormous amount of money, he does this because he loves to write. But you do have to show that you understand the importance of music in a film. Please have the courtesy to budget out a sum of money to present to the composer of your choice. Otherwise, you are insulting the whole craft of filmmaking.

Please do not approach Tomas Hradcky offering “free” of “deferred” payment, when you have paid other people. You will get turned down.

There are exceptions, these will be covered in the next post.

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2 Responses to It Happened Again, Part One

  1. Well put. While some new composers are looking to build their reels with indie or student films, that doesn’t mean that all composers working with indie filmmakers are amateurs. Music enhances the moving image, sets moods and is a PART of the film. Music is not merely the cherry on top. Watch some of your favorite films without the sound, and you will be sorely missing the score. Thanks for this post!
    ~living on gigging / Cheryl B. Engelhardt
    http://www.wrappedupmusic.com
    http://www.cbemusic.com

  2. Dear Cheryl –
    Thank you for commenting – I am really trying to get composers to band together and stop accepting free work, both for our sake and for the filmmakers sake. As I said above, the filmmaker needs to know how to budget out his or her film, and you are right, the music is not just the “cherry on the top”, it is an integral part of the film.

    Just the fact that “silent” movies were not silent, they had no dialogue. They had music. Although it was not on the soundtrack, there was a person in front of the stage playing music along to the film. So, technically speaking, music was the first sound to come along and help the visual come alive, before effects and even dialogue.

    (As it so happens, my great grandmother was a silent film organist, so I have that info first hand, sort of…)

    The music should be treated with as much care as the visuals, and Tomas and I are on a mission to get this across to filmmakers.

    Thank you for dropping by, I am going to go visit your site now.

    Best,
    Kelly

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