Career Story: Musical Composer

Bryan, 34, is a composer and small business owner based out of Los Angeles. Hear his advice on how to pursue a creative career out of college.

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My name is Bryan Senti.
BRYAN, 34
COMPOSER AND BUSINESS OWNER, HOOK AND LINE

I am 34 years old.

My job title is composer
and small business owner.

And my salary is complicated,
it fluctuates.

But last year it was $250,000.

My small business
is called Hook and Line,

and it's a small
music production company

that services
the advertising industry.

There I write music for advertising

and hire other composers
to write music for advertising.

Um, in addition to that,
I have a film agent.

My film agent tries
and goes around to procure work

and then I also go around
to procure work

and then I score, I score films.

Outside of that,
I also produce artists.

I also perform with other artists,

and I would say that's pretty much
what I do for a living.

I'll get a phone call
from an advertiser

or an agency,

and they'll ask me to write
a certain kind of music

for a client of theirs.

At which point, I'll negotiate terms,

negotiate a contract with them.

If I can't do it entirely on my own,

I'll hire other composers
and kinda manage

their schedule
so that they're, you know,

they're meeting the deliverables
that are needed for the client.

When it comes
to film composition,

I don't negotiate the contract,

my agent will negotiate the contract.

But from there,
I'm negotiating the arrangements

with the musicians that I will hire.

Sometimes I'll hire a contractor
to hire musicians,

but, oftentimes I'm the one
hiring musicians individually.

The collaboration process is great,
you know,

you want to form a really good
friendship with the director

and be able to get yourself
on the same page as them

creatively and aesthetically.

At which point,
you're just bouncing ideas

off of each other.

I'll have a director come here
and we'll work together,

sometimes, in tandem.

It's, it's fun, you know?

Specifically with film.

And then also
with producing artists, as well.

Obviously with advertising,

the role is more just,

meet whatever expectations they have

for whatever kind of style
they're trying

to envision for their product.

When I produce other artists,

usually an artist comes over

and shares some work that they have.

Usually it's kind of in its
nascent form

and it'll just be them on guitar,
or them on piano.

At which point we'll discuss kind of

production influences
that they may have,

maybe reference bands
or records that they have in mind,

and then
I will begin the process of

producing the work.

Which is kind of removing it from,
from that nascent stage

and providing all the different
production elements

and arrangement elements
that we would see fit.

Well, let's just say,
somebody comes to me with

a song that
they've written on a guitar,

you know,
maybe they want to produce the song

in kind of a more straight forward,

folk singer/song writer direction.

Then maybe I could suggest
that we bring in a pedal steel,

maybe a string quartet,

maybe have some piano,

maybe use an upright base.

So I'll arrange it that,
in that respect.

And then we'll discuss
whether or not we want the music

to kind of have a more vintage feel.

Have it played naturally,

in a normal acoustic setting,
or do we,

are we thinking more strange
or interesting audial space

through production techniques.

Like, reverb or um,

different kinds of distortion,

or you know,

play with these different kind of
tools that may be out there.

I think to be a composer today,
you have to be able to

do a bunch of different things.

And excel at a bunch
of different skills,

both in terms of how well you write,

and how well you produce music.

And how you manage your own business,

and how you manage your own finances
and deal with other people.

So, I think what makes
somebody successful,

in music specifically,

is that, is that

understanding of managing

one’s creative interests
and what they need to achieve,

and want to achieve creatively,

and how they're going
to be able to execute it

from a business standpoint.

If there's similarity between myself
BRYAN, 34
COMPOSER AND BUSINESS OWNER, HOOK AND LINE

and other composers it's that

we are definitely interested
in a lot of kinds of music.

Kinda of un-judgmental
in that respect.

We put it upon ourselves to study

and to study those
different kinds of music.

I mean, obviously I come from

the background of classical music,
so you know,

I already had known
a lot about Bach and Mozart

before I was 20.

So for me I had to kind of go back

and do it the other way,
or a different way

than a lot of other musicians
I know did it.

But then, you know,
you get interested

in the rest of popular music.

And then you try and learn
how that music is actually made

and how that music is
actually constructed.

And the better you are at that,

I think, the better equipped
you are to be a composer

in the film space, certainly
in the advertising space

and maybe even
as a composer in general.

Even if you're doing something
specific like classical music,

because you'll pull those references

and those influences
into your own music

and hopefully make yourself
a unique voice.

For somebody starting out
who wants to get into composition,

I think it's really important to

start listening to as much music
as you can.

And then start
to deconstruct in your mind

how that music actually works.

As you start getting better at that,

you can start applying
that knowledge.

You know, start to write songs,

start to write pieces on piano,
pieces on guitar.

And as you start
getting better at that,

you then will decide to pick up
probably some software,

and kind of learn
the mechanics of writing music.

Either from the point
of classical composition

which is, you know, notes on paper,

or through production
as a pop musician would do

or as popular music does.

Which is taking out Ableton,
Logic or Pro Tools

and start recording things

and then layering
different recordings

on top of one another.

But I was a classical musician
since I was a little kid,

I was a violinist, started age three

then started piano at age nine.

And also played saxophone
and played a little guitar,

too, while I was in high school.

But I studied violin very seriously

and I studied
with this violin teacher

at Manhattan School of Music.

But at that point, by the time
I was graduating high school,

I didn't know if classical music
was entirely

what I wanted to do,
or violin, rather,

wasn't entirely what I wanted to do.

So I thought composition
was really cool.

So I decided to go to Carnegie Mellon

to study classical composition

and then at the same time,
studied business.

So then I got a minor in business

and then I think I was in Argentina
studying abroad

when it occurred to me
it would be really cool

to get a masters in arts management

and maybe that would give me
some sort of understanding

of how the business of music worked.

And I'm happy I did that.

I went back to Carnegie Mellon

and did an accelerated master's
in arts management.

While I was at Carnegie Mellon

at grad school for arts management,

I started to feel like
I was losing my artist card

and so I kept writing
classical music.

And I spoke to a professor of mine.

If he thought that, you know,

I'd be a good fit for
grad schools in composition,

and he thought that I would be.

So I interviewed
at Yale School of Music

and the Royal College in London.

And also at Northwestern

for a PhD.

And then decided to be
as close to home,

my parents lived in New Jersey

and I had gotten into Yale
and a few others

and so I decided to go to Yale.

And Yale, fortunately enough,

was free that year.

Somebody have given it
a huge endowment.

I mean, Yale's cool,
it's an honor to go to Yale,

but when it's free,
you can't really say no.

And so I took a semester
off from Yale.

And I went to live in LA

to work as a fellow
with the composer on Law and Order.

And it was honor to work with him.
And I learnt--

I kind of got my first experience

of what it was to write
to picture, actually.

And I also fell in love
with Los Angeles,

so now I'm here like 10 years later.

While I was working
in grad school at Yale

I got this opportunity
to be an assistant.

It was the first time
he had ever written an opera.

And from then
it was essentially a two year

or two and a half year project,
flying around the world,

setting up computers wherever we were

and I would help him make
this opera of his.

It's called Prima Donna.

And I think at that time
I was paid 1750 a week,

which was enormous.

Just simply enormous
to be able to work with him.

Of course it was like, 12 hour days

at the whim of a pretty colorful artist.

He knows that.

But yeah, no, I mean,
it was an honor.

So I had that great gig

and, you know,
eventually it became time

to kind of leave that gig.

I got back to New York
and then realized that

my phone wasn't ringing
off the hook after that.

So I think for a while I was

still doing some score things
for him, some like,

orchestration, assisting for him,
freelance on my own,

but very soon after I realized
that I needed to get a job.

And not really knowing what to do

and kind of feeling not entirely

in the classical music space anymore.

So by that point
I was kind of disillusioned

as to what I wanted to do musically.

So I fell into, you know,

the primary business in New York,

which is Madison Ave Advertising.

So I got a job at Human

initially as a contract reader,

which is kind of funny.

I had taken one law class
in grad school.

They felt like that was good enough

to be able to read their
music contracts.

So I learned a lot about
music contracts doing that.

And the partner over there asked me

if I wanted to be a producer.

And it sounded really,
really interesting,

so I jumped on board.

And I think my salary from them,

I wanna say it was either
67 or 73 thousand a year.

So when I got offered the job
as a producer at Human

I was able to learn
the skills of negotiation.

Essentially, what things cost

in the advertising music world.

I also got to learn
the ins and outs of all the unions,

both AFM, which is
the American Federation of Musicians,

and SAG-AFTRA, Screen Actors Guild.

I learned a lot there.

Then after that I learned
how to manage composers.

Being a composer
doesn't mean that you

necessarily have the gift
of managing other composers.

Because composers are
their own colorful personalities.

But anyway, you know,
working at Human

kind of prepared me to learn
how to speak to composers,

also learning how to give them
creative direction,

in addition to learning how to talk
to them about finances and money.

Because invariably on a given job,

we'd have to talk about who they
were gonna hire for outside talent,

how much money they were gonna spend,

also if they needed other gear,

if they needed other plug-ins
to execute a certain brief.

So I learned how to handle that.

And then, of course,
I learned how to deal with clients.

Both to deal
with their personalities,

how to kind of read

in between the lines
on a creative brief.

Because typically a lot of clients

aren't musicians themselves,

so they're giving you more notes

as to feelings
they wanna feel in music,

rather than specific notes like,

I think that should be done
with a guitar versus piano.

And then, of course, how to navigate

and pivot between
discussing with a client

a creative direction that they want

and pivoting to how much money

that creative direction
is gonna cost.

As a composer, when you're starting

to think about
what your next step is,

and this touches upon things
that we mentioned before,

you kind of think of
what you wanna do

really creatively and then
kind of figure out a way

to be creative financially to make

whatever goal that you have possible.

Would I wanna be doing is,

I would love to get a TV show.

I think TV has become
just an incredible medium.

It also provides kind of
a stable lifestyle.

You get paid per episode or,
you know,

you get a package deal.

And you know,
there's certain stability in that.

You know, whereas you can do
a really incredible film,

even films that are up for awards,

that you'll get $30,000 for that film

and, you know, that's
probably not enough to live on,

especially if you have a family.

But a TV show
would be really exciting.

In a perfect world I would

right now, I think, it would be maybe

a four bedroom house
in the same neighborhood I live now.

Hard to do.

Where I have like,
some annex little studio there

and I have maybe two kids.

And I'm doing the same thing
I'm doing now,

but maybe just slightly more
profile work

or, you know, or maybe just
a little bit more lucrative.

I don't know, I guess it'd have to be

a little more lucrative
in order to have that house.

My name is Bryan Senti,
my job is composer
BRYAN, 34
COMPOSER AND BUSINESS OWNER, HOOK AND LINE

and small business owner
and my salary fluctuates

but last year it was around $250,000.

So when I got into Carnegie Mellon,

I was fortunate enough
to get a sizable scholarship

and I believe I was left
with $50,000 in student loans

and my father at the time told me
that he would pay it off.

And instead,
I convinced him to use that money

towards a down payment of a house.

So when I got into Yale,
he used that money to purchase

a house in New Haven
and I was lucky enough to live there,

I didn't have any room and board.

It was a two-bedroom
so I rented it out,

I rented the second bedroom out,
and at one point,

I actually slept on the couch
and rented both rooms out

but after I graduated from Yale,
we sold the house

and he got his $50,000 back
and I got the profit

which was around
40 grand at the time.

For me, living in New York
just in general,

people figure it out, you figure out
where to get an apartment

or sharing an apartment.

As a musician though
it's tricky because

typically

you're forced to write at home.

It was only until right before
I left New York

that I actually could afford,
I had an $1800 a month studio,

recording studio
that I was working out of.

But, you know,

when you first get to New York,
$1800 studio,

if that was your main apartment,
that would be too expensive

so,

so it's tricky on that front,
just figuring out

where you're gonna be able to work
is tricky as a musician.

But for me, also with New York City,

the lifestyle of New York City,
while beautiful,

exciting, energetic,
is such that you're constantly

spending money wherever,
whatever you do.

And it's expensive,
lunch is $40, dinner is $60,

a couple drinks here is $20,
it's just, every day

you're spending $100 plus.

Especially
when you're in the music field

where part of the game
is being a social person,

part of it is networking
and going to shows.

I was living in an apartment
that cost about,

I wanna say $1400 a person
so that was $1400.

I don't even think
that included utilities at the time

but $1400, downtown Brooklyn,

and then $1800 for a recording studio.

So $3200 not including utilities

and then trying to go out
all the time

and living this life that essentially
existed on the streets

from cab to cab and train to train

and I just felt
it was completely untenable.

I was just never gonna be able
to get any further

because whatever money I made,
it immediately evaporated.

So for me, moving to Los Angeles

while there are
definitely interesting benefits

and opportunities
from a creative standpoint,

for me it was more about
a lifestyle change.

I had been talking
to a music supervisor who told me,

don't move to LA unless
this is actually where you wanna live

don't move here
as a business move.

I felt

a little bit unhinged in New York,

I mean I love New York City

but you're constantly running around,
you constantly feel

a lot of financial pressure

and you feel a lot of competition
and a lot of just,

it's just very an intense lifestyle.
So for me,

LA was an opportunity
to create more of a nuclear home,

I eat at home,
I stay in my neighborhood,

I kind of go out a little bit less
and I would say

that I work more on my own stuff.

So my salary last year was $246,585

and I have an LLC charted
in New Jersey
SOME BUSINESSES, INCLUDING LIMITED
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FOR FEDERAL TAX PURPOSES.

THIS MEANS THESE ENTITIES ARE NOT
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and it allows me to do
or it allows me to be taxed

in a past-through manner
so I'm essentially taxed

as an individual.

As I mentioned,
my full salary's $246,585

and from there
I start to deduct business expenses,

the first of which on
my return was advertising,
BRYAN’S BUSINESS EXPENSES:
ADVERTISING $249

which was $249, then the big one,
which was commissions

and fees, which includes
all the people I hire,

including my agent and my manager,

and that amounted to $69,858.
COMMISSIONS & FEES $69,858

After that,

I have a line item for depreciation

which is the depreciation
of the gear that I have,

microphones and recording equipment.

That was $7,997.
DEPRECIATION OF EQUIPMENT $7,997

After that, we have insurance,
which is both for travel

and for my gear
and that amounted to $3,183.
TRAVEL & EQUIPMENT INSURANCE $3,183

So for legal fees,
which amounted to $9,050,
LEGAL FEES & INSURANCE $9,050

this includes my E&O insurance,
which is errors and emissions

so just in case

I were to accidentally

get into a situation
where somebody was claiming

that I had plagiarized their music

or one of my composers
had plagiarized their music,

that insurance is
to cover the legal fees

for a suit in that area.

After that, I have $12,133
in expenses for my office
OFFICE $12,133

which for me, for most of the year,

was in my own house
or in my own home.

Then I have $20,401 for gear.
EQUIPMENT $20,401

Every year I buy new equipment,
whether they be plug-ins

or microphones or instruments.

After that, I had $4,189
for supplies for my business.
$4,189

And then I had around
$16,376 for travel,
TRAVEL $16,376

travel to various clients
to pitch new projects.

And then I have $13,569
for meals and entertainment
MEALS & ENTERTAINMENT $13,569

and then
I have $8,811 for other expenses
MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES $8,811

and those include
additional advertising,

dues and subscriptions,
whether those be for the union

or for programs
that I have that require,

music programs that I have
that require subscriptions.

It also includes wardrobe,
gifts to clients,

and auto rentals that I had.

So my total expenses
were $165,816 so you need to deduct
TOTAL EXPENSES $165,816

that from my entire salary
and what you're left with

is a profit of $86,999

but after that,

I need to start
paying my own personal taxes,
AN LLC OWNER IS PERSONALLY LIABLE FOR
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so I have
a self-employment tax,

which was $9,423 last year.

Then I owed the IRS personally 7000

and I owed
the state of New York $3700

because I moved
from New York actually to California.

So my monthly salary at this point,

when you deduct that, is $5,583.

From there,
I have my regular monthly expenses.

So the rest of my rent,
which wasn't deducted

from the office was $500,
the rest of my utilities, $50.

Of course, the rest of the internet,
the phone, the car,

which amounted to $200,
my student loans,

which are $200 a month,
my gym membership,

which is 140 bucks

and the food that I use or food
that I make at home

every month which is $800.

So when you deduct that,
I'm left with the savings

of $2,893 a month

and last year,
I used every penny of that

to purchase my new home,

so I used that
in the form of a down payment.

Right now, I mean I have,
I've been playing

with a little bit of money
in the stock market,

though I don't know entirely
that that's the best place

to go about saving for the future,

it's more just fun for now.

But my goal
in terms of saving is that,

I have a project right now
that I'm working on

that's about to close and that's,
that chunk of money

I know is going
to a Roth IRA afterwards.
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And so I guess
that's how I go about savings,

I know, there are certain projects
that when they're big enough

and when they close,
I'm gonna start moving

this money into different areas
where I can actually save.

I think savings and an emergency fund
to me are different.

So for me, I kind of have a rule
that I want at least

20 to 30 grand
in my bank account at any time.

So I feel like if you can,
if one can stick to a number

that they always have
in their bank account,

that kinda becomes
a good soft measure as to

you don't overspend that.

In that 20 to 30 grand that I keep
in my business bank account

there is kind of
an implied emergency fund

within that.

So I don't let things go to zero.

Now with regards to savings,
I do wanna save more.

I look at the house
as a form of savings,

I took all the savings
that I'd had before

and put it in this house.

And so I'm happy with that.

Outside of that,
like I was mentioning before,

I had allocated
a certain project that I knew

that was gonna be
relatively lucrative to the goal

of putting it in a Roth IRA
or at least some portion of it

in a Roth IRA.

What I learned about money
as I started working is that

you can always make money
if that's your only goal.

It gets trickier as you start
to mix the goal

of making money
with creative pursuits.

But the truth of the matter is
if you took a job

in finance or threw yourself
simply into advertising,

you could make money,
people make lots of money doing

advertising music.
You know?

Now if you wanna have a career

in film and also do advertising,

film obviously makes less money.

Making a record makes less money.

So it's just, again,
parsing through how big of a divide

it's gonna be between the things
you actually wanna be doing

and what are the things
that are actually making money.

The other thing
that I learned about making money

because I think this is important,
is that it's important

to have, if you are fortunate enough
to be in the position

of the person hiring,
it's important to have

a code of ethics.
I think when you own a business

and things get tough,
sometimes of your own creation,

you can pass along the buck
to other people.

So if you're the one hiring people,
you could easily

run the numbers on them
and eyeball and pay them less

than you think is fair, simply
because you're trying to make,

pad your bank account
because of something

that happened to you.
And I think it's really important

that business owners
just have a code of ethics

so that we don't all suffer
from essentially the devaluation

of music,
which is happening right now.

You get a lot of advice
when you're studying a given field
BRYAN, 3COMPOSER AND BUSINESS OWNER, HOOK AND LINE

and specifically with music.

There wasn't a really
great conversation going on

as to how one
makes a living in music.

People end up
making a mistake, I think,

when they leave school
that by not having,

by virtue of not having
those conversations

spend so much time
trying to figure things out

that they get themselves in trouble
by the time they're 30.

And if people had just had
open discussions

about what a commission is,
what advertising is,

what is performing for AFM
or doing something with SAG-AFTRA,
AFM STANDS FOR THE AMERICAN
FEDERATION OF MUSIC.
SAG-AFTRA STANDS FOR
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD –
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF
TELEVISION AND RADIO ARTISTS

or all the variety of different things
that we end up doing

once we figure out
what it is to have a career in music.

If they had that conversation
earlier on,

you probably
wouldn't be doggy-paddling

in the ocean of the world,
so to speak,

that most of us do
for those first years out of school.

For me, living in New York
just in general

you know, people figure it out.

You figure out
where to get an apartment

or sharing an apartment.

As a musician though,
it's tricky because typically

you're forced to write at home.

It was only until right before
I left New York

that I actually could afford--
I had an $1800 a month studio

recording studio
that I was working out of.

But you know, $1800 studio,
if that was your main apartment

that would be too expensive.

So, it's tricky on that front,
just figuring out

where you're gonna be able
to work is tricky as a musician.

I think the reason
why some of the most talented people

aren't successful
is because you need to balance

that creative ambition
with the practicalities

of running a business,
even if that business is just you.

So for example, I'm working on
a personal record right now,

and part of my gut
wants to have there be no limits.

I'm going to hire anybody I want.

I'm going to buy
all the plug-ins I need.

I'm going to expand
my computer power.

And that list goes on and on.

And if I were to do that,
obviously, I'd go broke,

and this would be the most
expensive project I've ever done.

So you have to
really kind of fine-tune

what things you actually need,

how much money
you're capable of spending,

and get creative both
not only with your music

but on the business end of things

to make sure you stay afloat.

There is certainly some pitfalls

composers should be wary of.

One of them has to do
with the business of music, for sure,

which is that
you have to be careful, obviously,

not to overspend yourself.
Because money

is what allows you to be able
to feel comfortable

doing creative projects, I mean,
unless you don't have

that part of your mind
that gets nervous.

If you are concerned with having
a stable financial life

and maybe even having
a family at one point,

then you want to be careful
not to dig yourself into a hole

pursuing one music project

that may or may not be a hail-Mary.

My teacher, many teachers
have said that

music is something that you should do

if it's the only thing
you think you should do

or the only thing you can do.

And I think you can apply that
to different projects.

If you feel really compelled
to do a record

or to make a piece
of classical music,

you should do it.

But at the same time
you have to run the calculus

in your mind to figure out
what's the best way

to go about doing that project.

And sometimes there are huge projects

that you have to wait to do,
you know?

For example, in my own life
when I had gotten off the road,

I was really inspired
to do something theatrical like that

when I got back to New York,

and I had some savings
at that moment in time.

And I blew--
I don't want to say blew it,

but I spent $20,000 putting up
a ballet in New York City.

And I was really really proud
of that ballet,

and it was really important
for me as a person.

But I was too young to understand

at that time

how the business of music worked
in terms of putting up

live shows
and complicated shows like that.

For example,
a very simple example being

when you put up a show like that,

make sure you have somebody
to review it.

Make sure you have the press there

because if you put up a show

and you sell the whole show out
and no press shows up,

then it's almost
like it didn't exist.

It never happened.

So anyway, I had done this show,

really proud of it,
was completely attended.

Everyone loved it.

Had no press.

And the week after,
I saw $20,000 disappear

after paying all the musicians
and paying artists to do

to do all these video installations

and for costumes designed
for the dancers.

And that $20,000 I honestly believe

set me back probably
five years financially.

I was always thinking about
where I would be

with those $20,000.

And of course, that's a huge exchange

not only because
it sets you back financially

but let's say
you really need a guitar

for the next project
or a piano for the next project.

All of a sudden,
this money that you used someplace

you can't use in the next place,
and maybe that's the money

that you actually need
to get the next job.

One thing that I wish
I knew about making money

in the beginning before
I started embarking

upon this business career,
music career, is that

people had always told me

and teachers had always talked to me

about how difficult it is
to make a living as a musician.

And while that is true,
the truth of the matter is

if you work hard,
you'll make a living as a musician.

I mean, it's shocking.

People say that there's no money
in classical music.

I know many composers
who make a living in classical music.

They teach, they write music,
they get commissions.

And all this is to say is that

if you live in that kind of fear

where you think it's so difficult
to make a living

doing what you want to do
and then all of a sudden

start hedging your bets
from a career standpoint,

then you end up with a career
that you never wanted.

You should be doing what you want.
You should literally--

If you want to be
a classical musician

you should be writing
classical music,

and you should be doing it
all the time.

Obviously, you can do something else

as you're growing in that profession
to make money.

But you will eventually
create a career

by putting yourself out there
and by doing the work

that you want to be doing.

The same thing can be said
regarding film.

The same can be said
regarding being a songwriter as well.

So yeah, I guess I wish I knew that
10 years ago.

My name is Bryan Senti.
BRYAN, 34
COMPOSER AND BUSINESS OWNER, HOOK AND LINE

I am 34 years old.

My job title is composer
and small business owner.

And my salary is complicated,
it fluctuates.

But last year it was $250,000.

My small business
is called Hook and Line,

and it's a small
music production company

that services
the advertising industry.

There I write music for advertising

and hire other composers
to write music for advertising.

Um, in addition to that,
I have a film agent.

My film agent tries
and goes around to procure work

and then I also go around
to procure work

and then I score, I score films.

Outside of that,
I also produce artists.

I also perform with other artists,

and I would say that's pretty much
what I do for a living.

I'll get a phone call
from an advertiser

or an agency,

and they'll ask me to write
a certain kind of music

for a client of theirs.

At which point, I'll negotiate terms,

negotiate a contract with them.

If I can't do it entirely on my own,

I'll hire other composers
and kinda manage

their schedule
so that they're, you know,

they're meeting the deliverables
that are needed for the client.

When it comes
to film composition,

I don't negotiate the contract,

my agent will negotiate the contract.

But from there,
I'm negotiating the arrangements

with the musicians that I will hire.

Sometimes I'll hire a contractor
to hire musicians,

but, oftentimes I'm the one
hiring musicians individually.

The collaboration process is great,
you know,

you want to form a really good
friendship with the director

and be able to get yourself
on the same page as them

creatively and aesthetically.

At which point,
you're just bouncing ideas

off of each other.

I'll have a director come here
and we'll work together,

sometimes, in tandem.

It's, it's fun, you know?

Specifically with film.

And then also
with producing artists, as well.

Obviously with advertising,

the role is more just,

meet whatever expectations they have

for whatever kind of style
they're trying

to envision for their product.

When I produce other artists,

usually an artist comes over

and shares some work that they have.

Usually it's kind of in its
nascent form

and it'll just be them on guitar,
or them on piano.

At which point we'll discuss kind of

production influences
that they may have,

maybe reference bands
or records that they have in mind,

and then
I will begin the process of

producing the work.

Which is kind of removing it from,
from that nascent stage

and providing all the different
production elements

and arrangement elements
that we would see fit.

Well, let's just say,
somebody comes to me with

a song that
they've written on a guitar,

you know,
maybe they want to produce the song

in kind of a more straight forward,

folk singer/song writer direction.

Then maybe I could suggest
that we bring in a pedal steel,

maybe a string quartet,

maybe have some piano,

maybe use an upright base.

So I'll arrange it that,
in that respect.

And then we'll discuss
whether or not we want the music

to kind of have a more vintage feel.

Have it played naturally,

in a normal acoustic setting,
or do we,

are we thinking more strange
or interesting audial space

through production techniques.

Like, reverb or um,

different kinds of distortion,

or you know,

play with these different kind of
tools that may be out there.

I think to be a composer today,
you have to be able to

do a bunch of different things.

And excel at a bunch
of different skills,

both in terms of how well you write,

and how well you produce music.

And how you manage your own business,

and how you manage your own finances
and deal with other people.

So, I think what makes
somebody successful,

in music specifically,

is that, is that

understanding of managing

one’s creative interests
and what they need to achieve,

and want to achieve creatively,

and how they're going
to be able to execute it

from a business standpoint.