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Writing for different purposes


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I have not fully explored this site and I'm always discovering new things on here I haven't seen before.  I was just wondering if there is a blog or article or something that discusses how to write for different purposes.  It must be different writing for each of the following:

 

writing for streaming/radio/cd, etc.

commercials

theater

soundtracks for television

sound tracks for movies

More....

 

I'm pretty sure I saw something recently that suggested that writing for movie soundtracks and what they select likes a storyline, but a little more obscure and open-ended.  That opposed to songwriting that aims for details and tying it up tidy.  I'm thinking that to have this information would not only help me to direct my writing style for each lyric I create, but also help me in giving feedback if I know the aim a person is going for in a song. i.e  More detail if for folk, storytelling vs. open-ended, etc for Movie/television.

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I expect there is something this sort, but SS is a maze & I wouldnt have a clue where to start.

 

I always fancied writing for drama. You know, the incidental music that nobody notices but it works subliminally. Sound Tracks? Yes, love to do that too.

If you create musical ideas watching a few seconds of video, imagine how that can transform the interpretation of what you are watching.

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1 hour ago, Rudi said:

I expect there is something this sort, but SS is a maze & I wouldnt have a clue where to start.

 

I always fancied writing for drama. You know, the incidental music that nobody notices but it works subliminally. Sound Tracks? Yes, love to do that too.

If you create musical ideas watching a few seconds of video, imagine how that can transform the interpretation of what you are watching.

Phew!  At least I'm not the only one who has trouble navigating.  That search bar never seems to work for me.

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Here's a thought ... "in each case, you are writing for a customer," who badly needs to purchase a product which reliably dovetails into a very-rigorous(!) set of constraints which have nothing to do with the music.  In each case there are industry-specific websites and blogs ... e.g. taxi.com ... that are specifically targeted at composers who are trying to "break in" (or, "to survive").

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6 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

Here's a thought ... "in each case, you are writing for a customer," who badly needs to purchase a product which reliably dovetails into a very-rigorous(!) set of constraints which have nothing to do with the music.  In each case there are industry-specific websites and blogs ... e.g. taxi.com ... that are specifically targeted at composers who are trying to "break in" (or, "to survive").

 

 

In these cases the sites are more about tangible opportunities with the sites acting as gatekeepers... but they aren't helpful regarding improving the standard of your work. Film music jobwire is great for opportunities for film and TV.

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16 hours ago, john said:

Film music jobwire is great for opportunities for film and TV.

 

It may be great for opportunities but... it angers me that and many like it make money from those submitting.

 

To me it's the wrong way round.... If it were a regular job board it would be the other way round. In most industries when an employer or client seeks talent to fill a role or to complete a specific task, the employer/client pays to advertise the job, and as such receives promotion of the job listing to the sites members.... members or even guests apply free, and a successful employee or contractor is chosen. That's fair.

 

Doing it the way Film Music and other such sites do it seems to be purely to rinse money from a lot of desperate hopefuls. Paying to pitch is the same as paying to get a job interview, it's ridiculous.... 

 

I don't know whether they also charge the employer/client, but if so they're on double bubble.... and if not then it's a shame because clients will get used to not having to pay to advertise positions. 

 

Or maybe what actually happens is that Film Music don't even have clients advertising, but rather just find positions being advertised elsewhere and as such save their members time searching themselves...I know some sites claim to work that way... and again in my mind it's wrong. In that case Film Music are an agent, and should take a cut from the successful member rather than charge everyone to pitch.

 

Maybe I missed the reason for things working this way (other than to line Film Music's pockets) but I do realise I don't know about such things in depth and I'll gladly be educated if you know the reason? Maybe I missed an obvious reason, I don't know... but if I'm right... Imagine a site that did the same thing but fairly, and how that site would also need to vet submissions in the way a typical job agent does, saving the client sifting through a load of crap too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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46 minutes ago, MonoStone said:

Paying to pitch is the same as paying to get a job interview,

 

I was actually giving them too much credit with that statement. What I should have said was 'it's the same as paying for a SLIM CHANCE to get a job interview.'

 

Kind of like a job board lottery... except that in a lottery there is at least a chance that everyone might win ;) 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, tunesmithth said:

We're of a like mind on this one Dek. ;)

 

This paragraph pretty well sums up my views on the "Indie Business Model"

 

 

I imagine some creators of content have found ways to benefit from the current system, but I think it's safe to say it's designed to benefit the providers...not the creators. :blush: 

 

Tom

 

I actually agree with all of this. It annoys me that you have to pay to get them to upload everything onto all the sites/systems and then they take a percentage of any sales on top of that. The double dipping is not fair on someone who is starting out and trying to get a following. I can see why they do it, but being an internet based offering only, there really shouldn't be too many overheads.

 

It would be interesting to find out exactly what the costs are involved in taking a song or album and uploading it to all the sites/systems. I know that CD Baby create the UPC reference number etc, but does that normally cost a lost? How much does it costs for them to upload your song? How much does it cost for them to collect the royalties for you?

 

The other thing to look at, how much would it cost you to do this on your own? Would it cost just as much and when you factor in the time and effort, plus probable hassle, do the deals they offer seem reasonable? CD Baby are doing an album upload for $29 at the moment or $9 for a single, would it cost me more that that to do it myself?

 

I know the service will always take a cut before any moneys you make are paid out and that they normally hold it for a while, making interest off that as well no doubt, but to use their service we will just have to accept that.

 

i worked out s calculation the other day after speaking to John. Say for instance you managed to promote an album to the point where you got 10,000 people buying it off ITunes as an example. Now you could price the album at £5.99 to make it an interesting price point for consumers. By the time you pay Apple their cut and any other costs that may crop up, you could still be looking at clearing £40,000. You would obviously have to pay tax on this, but is that an unrealistic amount to sell if you can get it out there to people who would be interested. There are billions of people on the planet and most blogs/twitter users/Facebook pages have more that that amount of people following them. The ones I am looking to promote my music to have a combined following of around 100,000 people who like the type of music I am trying to produce. Does 10,000 then seem like a realistic number?

 

It might be a pipe dream, but I don't think it is a totally unrealistic one. Obviously you have to have the music people would want to listen to and buy and you would have to target that audience, but the chance is always there.

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@Pahchisme Plaid,

 

Robin Frederick's book, Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market, is loaded with all the information regarding writing for film/TV. I plan on buying it, myself :)

 

 

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26 minutes ago, ImKeN said:

@Pahchisme Plaid,

 

Robin Frederick's book, Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV: 114 Tips for Writing, Recording, & Pitching in Today's Hottest Market, is loaded with all the information regarding writing for film/TV. I plan on buying it, myself :)

 

 

I'm always wary of stuff like this.

 

Who is Robin? Which hit songs has she written? Which films has her music featured in?

 

I have tried to find out but there's nothing much coming up. Her own albums come up but they are certainly not hits....

 

I'm not saying she hasn't got the credentials but I would want to be sure she had before paying for her advice... and I do wonder if she should really be writing a book on how to promote yourself as something more than you really are and make money from it!

 

If you or anyone can post one hit song or a good number of notable movie/tv tunes she's done, I'll be grateful.... 

 

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17 hours ago, MonoStone said:

It may be great for opportunities but... it angers me that and many like it make money from those submitting.

 

Same model as taxi. I don't like taxi. lol

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Ok so... as far as I can tell, Robin Frederick once wrote a song that Nick Drake decided to record...a song no one remembers...  and she's been dining out on it a long time. 

 

And she is or was head of Taxi A&R....

 

Hmmm....

 

I don't know her... she might be a brilliant songwriter and a lovely person. I might have just not found all her hits.

 

But there are people selling dreams all over the place.

 

If you're a great potential movie/tv song/score writer with genuine talent... contact music supervisors or even directors. If you have the talent you'll get there. Or even try to get management... just don't kid yourself that paying to submit your work, even though it might not ever reach the ears of the supervisors, is a fine thing to do.

 

And if you want to learn how to write a hit song, learn from someone who's actually had a HIT song!!! 

 

Interesting that this ended up back to Taxi, since talk of that model came up... There's a whole load of money to be made from convincing wannabes that you're their golden ticket!! I hate it. But I wish I had a taxi style site, every board meeting laughing at the mugs making us rich... laughing at them like Cadbury's Smash aliens laugh at earthlings ;)

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MonoStone said:

 

If you're a great potential movie/tv song/score writer with genuine talent... contact music supervisors or even directors. If you have the talent you'll get there. Or even try to get management... just don't kid yourself that paying to submit your work, even though it might not ever reach the ears of the supervisors, is a fine thing to do.

 

And if you want to learn how to write a hit song, learn from someone who's actually had a HIT song!!! 

This sounds great if you have those contacts.  I don't.  Do you?  I've mostly been in learning mode, learning as I go, so that when I feel I am ready for this, I know that I write well and for for the target.  And that's what my original post was meant to be about.  I don't know how it became about taxi.  I am interested in learning how to write for different purposes and maybe finding my niche or possibly not and writing for various things and purposes.  Business-wise, I'm not feeling ready yet because there is so much I still need to learn about the craft and the different aspects of it. The OP is part of the things I've yet to learn.  I'm still hoping there's some resources I can access to learn these things.  

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1 hour ago, MonoStone said:

Ok so... as far as I can tell, Robin Frederick once wrote a song that Nick Drake decided to record...a song no one remembers...  and she's been dining out on it a long time. 

 

And she is or was head of Taxi A&R....

 

Hmmm....

 

I don't know her... she might be a brilliant songwriter and a lovely person. I might have just not found all her hits.

 

But there are people selling dreams all over the place.

 

If you're a great potential movie/tv song/score writer with genuine talent... contact music supervisors or even directors. If you have the talent you'll get there. Or even try to get management... just don't kid yourself that paying to submit your work, even though it might not ever reach the ears of the supervisors, is a fine thing to do.

 

And if you want to learn how to write a hit song, learn from someone who's actually had a HIT song!!! 

 

Interesting that this ended up back to Taxi, since talk of that model came up... There's a whole load of money to be made from convincing wannabes that you're their golden ticket!! I hate it. But I wish I had a taxi style site, every board meeting laughing at the mugs making us rich... laughing at them like Cadbury's Smash aliens laugh at earthlings ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah, she has her own songwriting site too. I don't know much about her other than her own site exists, she writes for occasional other sites and is involved with Taxi. Of course, maybe she's ghost written a bunch, or under a nom de plume? Even so. You can learn a lot about song writing from other writers, but there's a long way between that and writing "hit" songs... not simply good ones. A long way between writing songs and being an expert. That aside, there are many skills to getting a hit ong, many facets, that have nothing to do with song writing skills... such as marketing, the artist, the budget.... a whole load of others. So even if someone has written a hit song, they can only tell me part of the picture. Ever. Unless they did the whole thing themselves, beginning to end and supplied the money. Too few of them around.

 

Still, I can learn from a good songwriter, hit writer or not.

 

As to A&R. At Taxi. Really? If they were a label or publisher, maybe, otherwise it just sounds pretentious and contrived.

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18 minutes ago, Pahchisme Plaid said:

This sounds great if you have those contacts.  I don't.  Do you?  I've mostly been in learning mode, learning as I go, so that when I feel I am ready for this, I know that I write well and for for the target.  And that's what my original post was meant to be about.  I don't know how it became about taxi.  I am interested in learning how to write for different purposes and maybe finding my niche or possibly not and writing for various things and purposes.  Business-wise, I'm not feeling ready yet because there is so much I still need to learn about the craft and the different aspects of it. The OP is part of the things I've yet to learn.  I'm still hoping there's some resources I can access to learn these things.  

 

Contacts are useful. Knowing how to find them, or how to use them is even better!

 

My understanding is that Taxi does not give you the contact. They sit in the middle. You pay them, they decide what to do... and forward your "submission". I don't know how accurate that is, so I can't be completely sure. I have never heard of them forwarding a song that they have not been paid to forward. I have also never heard of one success story. Not one. Zero. Nil. Nada.

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27 minutes ago, Pahchisme Plaid said:

This sounds great if you have those contacts.  I don't.  Do you?  I've mostly been in learning mode, learning as I go, so that when I feel I am ready for this, I know that I write well and for for the target.  And that's what my original post was meant to be about.  I don't know how it became about taxi.  I am interested in learning how to write for different purposes and maybe finding my niche or possibly not and writing for various things and purposes.  Business-wise, I'm not feeling ready yet because there is so much I still need to learn about the craft and the different aspects of it. The OP is part of the things I've yet to learn.  I'm still hoping there's some resources I can access to learn these things.  

 

Well ... I have not attempted to get into music for tv/films in any serious way... and I don't have any close friends in that industry... but... I have made contact and exchanged messages with one successful film director, one successful tv/ad/music video director, and a bunch of people who do make music in those industries. And that's without really trying. I should be clear... I mean contact in terms of talking generally, I've not pitched at them because I'm not sure I've ever written a song or music that would suit and it's not been my intention.... but my point is it's not hard to get to know people, especially these days with the various social media and business networking sites around.

 

It's also extremely easy to find music supervisors....although getting one to pay attention may not be so easy!! I honestly haven't put any effort into that because, again, I've not been seeking getting my music into movies etc, or not in any more than a passing 'what if... hmmm maybe... that'd be fun... nah maybe not' kinda way.

 

And there are sites/labels (not sure which is correct) which will represent you without an upfront fee if they deem you to be good enough.

 

I should be clear... if I genuinely thought I'd completed a track which was 1) good enough in terms of quality and 2) seemed suitable for such things or for a specific director etc, then I wouldn't hesitate. I'm just a realist, and everyone should be, there are certain standards required AND known artists or songwriters will always be getting the lion's share of any really good movie/tv work. Music supervisors already have lists of people they go to when they need music. And from what I've read in interviews with several, none of them go to Taxi ;) 

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1 minute ago, MonoStone said:

And there are sites/labels (not sure which is correct) which will represent you without an upfront fee if they deem you to be good enough.

 

Agents is a nice cover all :) it does come under pitching in terms of putting the music in front of someone, though there are agencies that deal with general representation that will use specific pitching services or in-house pitchers

 

 

getting contacts can be relatively easy by comparison to getting the ability to pitch, which are quite different things. You are absolutely right about how much smaller the world is, yet still info and connection is king. To get around a lack of connection some innovation is needed. Talking to people socially can work (hence party schmoozing) but often they want an intro to talk business or they switch right off as soon as they think you are after something. A bit like saying "I have a manuscript" at a publisher's party... it's like the parting of the red sea with you stood in the middle. You may as well ring a bell and chant "unclean" lol

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3 minutes ago, john said:

or they switch right off as soon as they think you are after something

 

I dunno... I think people are people. I'm not going to mention names ... but I've found so many really good people very willing to help. No doubt an equal number wouldn't give you the time of day but... that's people. 

 

I think being an obvious schmoozer will turn anyone off. 

 

 

18 minutes ago, john said:

Agents is a nice cover all

 

Yeah, agents. IF (big IF) you have great quality product (or rather - great quality product of the type they want or that's in demand) then agents are happy to represent. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Oh actually I do have one very close friend (guitarist from my old band) who makes 'production/library music'  for Universal.... and that's another aspect - Music made in certain styles and moods which goes into a library that music supervisors just pick from when they need something... 99% of the time instrumental... the music in the background. But honestly the quality of performances (he hires session people, so there's an initial outlay required) and production is so high! And it's something you have to have the right mindset for I think... not for people wanting to just creatively express themselves... or people making morbid singer-songwriter-rock-whatever-it-is like me ;)

 

In his case it took a lot of years learning from pro producers and getting to know the right people. No Taxi style shortcuts. 

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Very true. There are good people out there. Some people are on power trips, and some really have lost touch with reality surrounded by too many industry yes men and sycophant hangers on. I tend to find most good people have good people around them. Others get a kick out of laughing at the little people. Admittedly I think it makes a difference where in their careers they are. Some think they are talented and lucky. Some think they are talented and special.

 

Schmoozers... yup, apart from the party events that seem to be eternally populated by schmoozers

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