Your music and the movies

The film industry can provide a great outlet and creative space for musicians. This has potential for all levels of experience, to show their work as a contributing factor of an artistic endeavour. Whilst licensing music can prove a big money maker, your focus should be on making the most of the exposure. Within this blog we’ll help you understand the role of music in movies.

Music and the movies

Exploiting the short film industry

Even as you read this, filmmakers young and old are slaving away at passion projects that might never make it. There is no money in making short films, that’s pretty much an industry rule – and producing one with high production values can be hugely expensive. Why are so many made every year? One reason is that short films are the perfect training ground, and allow budding filmmakers to create works that are then viewed by industry professionals.

Here is where you, the musician/composer comes in. Many short films and movies can’t afford to hire a composer, or license tracks from their favourite mainstream artists. This means they must find and use pre-existing music that is either affordable, or even better – royalty free. By making your music visible and available to these filmmakers you can attach your own work to theirs. Therefore, you can enjoy the fact that every time an audience watches their film, they hear your music. This exposure is unpredictable, but you can point people in the direction of your music being used in films.

What the right (and wrong) music can do for a film

Music can be one of the most transformative elements of film and can completely alter the tone of a scene; It can find new depths where before none were apparent. Music can serve to heighten the emotion of a scene, creating an incredibly emotionally affecting sequence. It can also serve to juxtapose the events unfolding on screen, and in turn completely turn a scene on its head.

As a musician, it is crucial that you understand how your music can affect an audience. Your job is to provide them with a guiding hand through the narrative, allowing them to experience the cinematic journey to its fullest extent.

Poor musical choices, be it on the part of the filmmaker or the composer, can of course have the exact opposite effect to making the right decisions in this area. All too often in films, poor musical choices can be found that wholly undermine the intended sentiments of the scene. These are lessons to be learned by trial and error, and short films are the ideal environment for this experimentation, and where mistakes can be easily afforded.

What filmmakers are looking for

Making a movie, be it a short, or feature-length, isn’t easy; and making decisions about music, especially when limited by financial restrictions, can be difficult.

As a musician, the most important thing you can do is provide music of the best standard you are capable. Research the (many) online platforms for the release of music for films/videos to find out which one is best for you before putting it out there. Every professional, creative relationship is different and we all have our other responsibilities and ways of working. However, being upfront about your expected timescale for completing your work is vital to a functioning collaboration, as well is being honest should your timescale for, whatever reason, alter.
The experience of having your music become part of cinematic work can be a tremendously rewarding venture. With passion and modern technology, there is no reason why you can’t begin seeing your music being used in films.


Also published on Medium.