Are you one? Several of my friends in the songwriting community, although not vampires, have expressed interest in placing their songs in films and TV shows. That was always a dream of mine. In fact, one of my earliest goals was to step into an elevator and hear one of my songs piped over the speaker via Muzak. I know that dates me, but it just shows how long we can hang on to certain dreams. But what do we do about those dreams? If you’re still dreaming of placing your music in film or TV, don’t stay in the dark, like a vampire would.
A few years ago, and with the help of my music rep (Beth Wernick), I placed not one, but a few different songs on TV. Needless to say, I was over the moon at having achieved my lifelong dream. But meeting that goal just made me want more. So I put the word out to a composer friend to look for opportunities for me. One came in the form of an independent short film. The director asked me to write two songs, which I did. Then she asked me to include some Celtic instrumental music at the end of one of the songs. Yikes! Writing a song for a scene was fun, but it wasn’t too much of a stretch from just—well, writing a song. I didn’t really know how to score music for film.
So I rolled up my sleeves and started learning how to piece together some loops and tracks that provided a good musical bed for the instrumental section. Along the way, I also learned a ton more about my DAW, Logic X. The director liked what I did and I enjoyed scoring that section of the short film so much I wanted to do more.
Time to get the word out again. I told a few friends I wanted to “do the music for a film project.” Someone passed the word along to a friend in a writers’ group. This friend, Laura Conway, had been writing and directing a web series called, “The Vamps Next Door.” I thought the title itself was sort of funny and when I watched one of the episodes, I thought it was laugh-out-loud tongue-in-cheek hysterical. For this project, the director wanted me to score music for an entire 15-minute episode. Again—yikes! But I stretched to do it, and the director loved what I did.
Do you see what’s happening here? The point I’m making is that we don’t learn by wanting or dreaming about some lofty goal. We learn by doing something practical that needs doing. I’ve just finished scoring my second episode of The Vamps Next Door, "This Means War.” You won’t find the series on network television and I’m making cents to dollars when I add up the hours I spent on it. But if it follows suit to the series, it will get a ton of hits on YouTube and the credit of music composer will be added to my iMDB page.
So if you want to open up another avenue for yourself—perhaps music scoring or song placement—you may not have to look further than the opportunity next door. But you will have to do more than dream about it. So roll up your sleeves, offer to help someone out, and get about the business of learning a new practical aspect of your craft.