A Beginner’s Guide to Getting Your Music Placed on TV and Film
While the music industry is highly competitive, the Film and TV music industry is a niche that can serve as an avenue for great financial rewards for Songwriters and Composers. This sector involves getting songs, musical scores and compositions placed in TV productions or full-length movies. Several performing rights organizations such as BMI and ASCAP point out on their websites that the process, while sometimes difficult, can prove to be profitable for many.
There are new shows debuting every day, all of which require music to be placed in some parts. However, the supply far outweighs the demand, resulting in many artists having to find creative ways to connect with Film/TV Producers. Songwriters, Sound Designers, and Composers may have to network their way into a Producer’s professional circle before even getting a chance to send their material. Although demand isn’t high, it is constant, as TV shows and movies need musical compositions and songs in all forms and genres to heighten their entertainment value and make them artistically complete.
So, how do you get your music in front of these Producers, many of whom may not even have time to meet with you? The key is to be constantly making the right connections while being patient, in addition to creating high quality, original content. Having taken care of making high quality, radio-ready music, you should then focus on the process of networking to have a chance of connecting with a Film or TV Producer.
Among the best contacts that you can seek to connect with are Music Supervisors, Licensing Specialists, Creative Directors and Music VPs. Make a list of these and other people who are working on a project you are interested in and then put yourself in a position to meet them.
Finding the Right Connections
Making connections that could bear fruit requires a systematic approach, which includes defining your music type, developing the right attitude and personality, and figuring out suitable targets who may get you one step closer. Once you have developed your musical genre and style, it would make sense that you start networking among people who are into what you do. For example, if you write and perform jazz music, you may want to visit a few joints that play that kind of music or go to parties where that kind of crowd would normally hang out.
Knowing ideal locations is very important here. You will have to do some research to find out about projects that are being worked on, where they are, and who the people making up the production team are. You can find out a lot about people who are in the industry by searching the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Also, if you live in a small town, you may have to move to a bigger city where it is more likely for you to meet people in show business.
Get to know as many people as possible while you’re at it, and make friends with people who have connections to, or are directly involved in the music, TV and film industries. Among the best contacts that you can seek to connect with are Music Supervisors, Licensing Specialists, Creative Directors and Music VPs. Make a list of these and other people who are working on a project you are interested in and then put yourself in a position to meet them.
You could also offer to play a few gigs at popular entertainment spots where you can showcase your talent while networking with others in the entertainment business. This may not make you much or any money at all, but you will have started to get your name out there, making it easier for Producers to remember you if and when your name comes up for mention.
Be sure to only send relevant, high quality productions. A rough demo will get you on the “people to ignore list” with any Supervisor or Producer.
How to Approach Film and TV Professionals
Having laid the foundations for networking and meeting the right people with industry connections, you should figure out next how to approach them. If you have done your research and taken steps to put yourself in the public eye, it becomes easier to approach the targets identified.
Call them: When you have found the name of a Music Supervisor or Director for a project, try to get a hold of a number where they can be reached and call them. Since they are often very busy people, it’s best to get straight to the point while remaining polite at the same time. Tell them who you are, why you are calling, and the project that you’re calling about. Depending on how well-researched about the project you sound and how enthused you are, you may get an invitation to a meeting or get asked to submit your music for consideration.
Use social media: While you shouldn’t become a stalker, there is no harm in first, sending friend requests to your targets on popular social networking platforms, and then sending them a polite message to introduce yourself and find out if you can send them a demo. You may even send them a link to your music if you have a SoundCloud account or have music on YouTube.
Use traditional mail/email: It is no secret that much of the music that gets sent to radio stations, production offices and other outlets wind up in file 13. However, it doesn’t hurt to try anyway, as you might wind up among the lucky few who gets a listen and possibly a call. Be sure to only send relevant, high-quality productions. A rough demo will get you on the “people to ignore list” with any Supervisor or Producer.
How to Build Trust
Once you’ve made connections and been given the opportunity to present what you have to offer, you want to make a big impression–even if your material is not used right away. First off, ensure that you are always prepared for a meeting at any time and be ready to present content that is radio ready and of the highest quality. Be ready to show up for a meeting once a Film/TV professional gives you the time of day. Keep in mind they do not have the time to fix your music and will think you’re wasting their time if you present music that is of low quality.
You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot if your music is not up to par, as you may lose the trust of the connections and contacts that helped you to get a chance to present your music in the first place. Therefore, make sure your songs and musical compositions are mixed and mastered to the point where they are ready for public consumption. If they decide not to use your music for whatever reason, remain professional and pleasant and ask for tips as to what you should do to be successful next time. Keeping it professional will keep you in their good graces and possibly result in you being the first to be considered for future projects.
How to Ensure You Pitch to the Right Opportunity
It can be a big waste of time if, after working hard to make the right connections, a Producer’s project or intentions are not in alignment with your material or standards. To prevent this, make sure that your research is thorough, so you know exactly what the prospective Producer is known for and what the project currently being worked on calls for.
You want to ensure that the Film/TV Producer is conducting legitimate business and is working on a project that is legit. You wouldn’t want your music to be associated with a project that possibly never gets aired or winds up tarnishing your name. Be firm but flexible in your negotiations.
Getting your music into a major production is sure to be hard work but if you go about it the right way, it may only be a matter of time before you achieve financial and creative success.
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