The Accurate Demo Guarantee
I love talking with directors. Not just because I love films and filmmaking, but I'm also curious about their experiences working with composers in the past.
Some people have had good experiences (great!) but others have had less-than-stellar experiences that leave very bitter tastes in their mouths.
When pressed further about their bad experiences, I normally get some variation of the following...
They delivered music late.
They didn't do the changes I asked them to do.
We had various communication breakdowns.
We had different opinions on how the score should sound.
As a filmmaker myself, I know how much effort goes into making a film. When you hand it over to someone to score, you're not just handing over a 90 minute feature, you're handing over something that you've spent months, possibly years working on. You should be upset if the composer doesn't do a good job!
I then ask the directors how they ended up hiring the composer in the first place, and I normally get the same answer: "They wrote a demo for us and we liked how it sounded so we decided to hire them".
Makes sense right? If a composer writes a good piece of music and you agree on a price and a timeline, then everything should be set. It's what they teach in film school so it must be true!
The problem with this approach is that if you ask the composer to write a piece of music then you're not actually getting a full picture of what it's like to work with them. You're simply getting confirmation that they know how to write (something which you probably already knew from listening to music on their website, or their resume or testimonials).
In order to avoid this and paint a full picture of my work process, I offer an accurate demo guarantee to directors. It goes like this...
1) After an initial conversation, if you want me to demo for a project you send me a scene from your project to score.
2) I write a piece of music and send it back
3) At this point, you give me feedback on the track and I make changes to it and send the revisions back to you.
4) Repeat step three 3-4 times. Max of 4 revisions.
Then you'll know what it's like to work with me.
But isn't 4 revisions a lot?
No, not at all. The projects I work on, all pieces of music go through at least 4-5 revisions. More likely it's close to 8-10 before the director finds the track they like.
Wouldn't having you write 4 different pieces be better so I can see your range?
It would initially seem that way, but again, you don't know what it's like to work with me. You would just know that I can write in different genres.
It might seem counter-intuitive, but take a look back at the top of this article to the list of common complaints people have about their composers. Late deliveries, ignoring feedback, communication breakdowns...all of those red flags could have been spotted through this kind of demo process.
At the end of the accurate demo, you'll be able to confidently move forward with your decision being way more knowledgable about what to expect. Everyone wins!
1) Simply asking a composer to demo for does not paint an accurate picture of what it's like to work with them.
2) By utilizing the accurate demo guarantee and seeing what it's like to communicate with me for revisions you can get a clear idea of what it's like to work with me.
3) You're likely to be more confident in your hiring.
Curious to give it a try? Drop me a line and we can take it further.