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Thought leadership on selecting a composer for your next film

A Precursor To A New SVA Course On How To Listen to Music And Select Film Composers

Matthew Vaughn said “Music is half the film.”  So why are music budgets at 5% or less? And why are scores written after a film is shot? They never used to be. Would you ask a composer to write music for a play after it is staged and ready to open? Never. So why films?

Film composers these days are selected the way that loan officers approved subprime home mortgages. Decisions without review of true underlying value. Now in film, substandard film scores permeate the marketplace. Composers are chosen based upon criteria such as how many credits, who do they know and are represented by, if they have a nifty library of samples for fake instruments, or have written music that “sounds like s0-and-so,” can we all get along, etc.

But what does this have to do with the most essential factor – what is the level of compositional capability?

I always heard that the smartest person in the room is the one that says “I don’t know, but would like to learn!” And learning in this instance is about tools for non-musicians to determine compositional capability. How can you tell the difference between one composer and another in a hands on manner? DIY – do it yourself. Make better decisions.

Seminar – Selecting Film Composers – NY School For Visual Arts – April 5, 2016 7PM to 9PM

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– See more information, visit the SVA website


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

  • 7:00 – 9:00pm
  • [Amptitheater information], New York, NY
  • Free and open to the public

Thought leadership for Directors, Producers, Music Supervisors and other senior Film Executives




Composing music for film music requires a set of composition skills and talent beyond the training and education of expert film makers. Film makers make use of selection criteria that often fall short of determining factors important in the identification of composer’s capabilities.

This two hour event in part one traces the history of how film composers were selected until the present, how the process has changed, and weaknesses that emerged. Part one will also cover the pros and cons of samples, live instruments, the combination, and the long term effects on the return on capital investment.

Part two of the event will introduce new and specific tools and tests for determining compositional capability on an arms length basis. These methods, designed by composers, are positioned to enable those without musical training to make better decisions.

Participating experts will include senior composers and teachers of composition, sound designer, and the leading European contractor of live film orchestra recording.

Read Steve’s blog here.