Writing Music For TV And Film

Posted by Aaron Davison on Monday, March 19, 2012 Under: March 2012
There's a lot to learn when it comes to licensing your music in TV and Films. There are different types of contracts, different types of deals, different companies and people working in the business, different ways of pitching your music and so on.  It can be overwhelming at times trying to figure everything out.
I think it helps sometimes to take a step back and focus on the basics -  the principles that are really crucial to understanding and perfecting in order to start licensing your music.  

Today's post will focus on one of the main areas that you should master if you want to license more of your music - how to write music that works for TV And Film.
This topic is a little tricky because it's not like there is an exact science to writing music that works for television and films.  However, there are certainly guidelines. Since music that is licensed into tv shows and film projects is used to enhance the story line of the tv show or film it's being licensed to, your music needs to be supportive of a broad variety of potential plot lines.

Think about it.  Your music has to work in the context of the scene it's being used in.  Of course, unless you're writing for a specific scene or project, you can't know exactly how your music is going to be used. So it's best to write things that might work in a broad variety of situations.  Subjects like relationships, overcoming obstacles, good triumphing over evil and so on are good, because they're themes that are universal and come up again and again in movies and tv shows.
Start paying attention to how music is used when it's licensed. Sometimes the lyrics will be an almost exact fit with the dialog that is taking place, sometimes a little less so, but there will always be a connection between the scene and the music that is being used.  If not in the lyrical content of the song, then in the overall mood of the song. 

I was watching a movie the other day, and the name of the movie escapes me at the moment, but the dialog was about a relationship one of the characters was involved in.  The main character was talking about how much he loved someone and as the conversation ended a song came on in the background that echoed perfectly what the characters had been talking about.  The lyrics were basically re-iterating exactly what the characters had been discussing.  

If you start listening to how music is used when it's licensed, you can get a really good idea of what works and what doesn't.  Learn to think like a music supervisor and anticipate their needs!

In : March 2012 

Tags: music licensing  music publishing  writing music for tv and films 
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