Q: How can I become a film composer?
We get an email like the above probably 2 or 3 times a month. Unfortunately, there is no good answer. Here are subsets and variations of the question:
Q: How can I submit my music to Hollywood?
A: There is no particular place known as “Hollywood.” There is, alas, no one place you can send music for it to be considered for a film. It is not like writing a letter to Santa Claus and directing it to the North Pole, although that might bring you better luck. Movies, TV shows, and other media are made by many different organizations and people who tend to be spread out in networks of relationships. The business works on relationships which is why most thriving film composers have already “made it” in other forms of the music industry and come to film via one of those connections.
We suppose you could get a hold of the addresses of production organizations, agencies, and music supervisors, but they are incredible to take it seriously and may just return it saying they do not receive offered submissions.
Q: How can I get an agent to become a film composer?
A: One of my friends once said, “The time to have an agent is when an agent wishes you.” What he expresses is that he cannot certainly help, and is not involved in helping, someone who is not already film scoring as it would be an upward battle for him to try to “sell” someone without credentials. It is the classic catch-22 of the movie business. You cannot do it without credits, and you can’t get credits without having planned it already.
Q: Where should I go to school to become a certified film composer?
A: Often, many schools can provide you with the opportunity of becoming a certified composer. The list of these schools are:
- Berklee College of Music in Boston,
- USC and UCLA in Los Angeles, and
- To a lesser extent NYU in New York City
Additionally, there is also the North Carolina School for the Arts. There look to be more schools giving film scoring courses, at the undergrad, graduate, and extension levels. Whether they are any good to choose or not, I don’t know.
So, these are some of the crucial methods to understand the process of becoming a film composer.