On Landing Composing Jobs (Part 2).

So the response to Part 1. was better than I expected, at least on the platforms and forums that I was privileged to share my experience on. Note: I'm trying to post on the page every Friday on a consistent basis, so check back weekly for new updates.

I'm waiting to meet a sound designer who chatted me up on this exact topic as I write this, and in the last few months, I've had the opportunity to assist producers/studio owners/composers in this area. I've also completed composing for another mobile game, but enough about me.

Let's get to it.

The Approach:

In Part 1, I addressed how to obtain the contact information of TV producers & Music Supervisors that are involved in Network TV. Here's the issue: just cause you've got your hands on an individual's contact doesn't mean anything if you don't know what to do with it. You've got to pitch your talent/resume/services forth in a way that doesn't turn the listener/reader off.

Key: First Impressions count. More than you'd ever know. Give off the wrong vibes and you'll automatically be blacklisted from the get go. If you've ever had a telemarketer, insurance salesperson or real estate agent call you, you'd get what I mean.

If you are fortunate enough to live in the same country as the person you're trying to get in touch with, that's great. For those of you in this category - call. A phone conversation is ALWAYS better than an email or text message. Tone and wording often get misinterpreted over these mediums. Your phone call would provide a more personal touch to things and reveals how serious you are in wanting to get your foot in the door.

Now, there's A LOT of people out there who do not recommend cold calling, but trust me - this is one of the best ways to establish a relationship with the people that matter. IF (or when) the person on the line shuts you down rudely, I doubt you'd want to do business with that individual either.

Now for the folk (myself included) who would rather rely on email because you get cold feet or stutter when talking on the line, or simply because you do not live in the same location as the people you're trying to reach -

Here's how to craft your email:
*Note - there are different ways to go about doing this. Some supervisors have specified their requirements, and if you can find them online, please adhere to what they've asked for.

Subject: Music Cues For XX TV Show

This study reveals that approximately 269 billion emails are sent daily. Career Expert Amanda Augustine of TopResume further highlights that "a typical inbox reveals about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while a mobile phone shows just 25 to 30 characters". Therefore, it's quite a no-brainer to suggest that if you want your email to be opened, it has to stand out from the pile and the best way of doing that is by being succinct and (politely) direct in your subject head.

Disclaimer: This example caters more towards composers cold emailing creative producers that aren't necessarily and openly seeking music for future projects. Producers or Music Libraries consistently open to submissions will have a certain format they'd wish for you to follow. In those cases, the subject header may be specified to look something like:

Subject: Composer-TV Show Cue Submission-Date


Dear/Hello xx,

(TIME TO FLATTER) I'm writing in to let you know that I've just begun watching xx show on channel whatever on a weekly basis and I've been hooked on to it ever since.
Talk about an episode you ACTUALLY watched and liked. Talk about the show's characters blah blah. Yes, you are in fanboy/girl mode right now.

(PRODUCTION BEHIND THE SCENES TALK BUT STILL FLATTERING - EASE YOUR WAY INTO WHAT YOU REALLY WANT) The epic storyline to the outstanding production quality to the music cues used in each episode is testament to the incredible amount of effort you and your team have put in to make XX show a success. (I am obviously exaggerating here and using excessively descriptive jargon that you should cut accordingly to avoid sounding fake or spammy, but this is an example and you get the idea, I hope).

The Pitch:

(GET TO THE POINT - It's not as though he/she doesn't know what you're after especially since your subject title states it all). As a professional music composer and sound designer, I was wondering if there was any way I could assist your audio department/music supervisor in providing TV cues for your show, or even on future projects? I'm fortunate to be able to work out of a professional studio and thus am able to meet tight deadlines. (If you are in the same city, ask for a meet up.)

Note that what I'm doing is OFFERING a service. I'm not saying "hire me because I can provide better stuff than the stock library crap you're relying on at the moment".

The Sign-off:

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to your reply! (Now - leave your phone number or a link to your showreel/soundcloud or whatever you'd like them to see in your signature, so that you do NOT have to ask for permission whether you can send in demos in the event you do receive a reply. If the people on the other end are curious or keen to know more about you, this information is already present and accessible to them.)

What will happen next?

In most cases, nothing.

Yes it sucks, but it's true. And the reason for that is because most of these companies already have partnerships with external vendors and production houses. Unless you're Hans Zimmer or something, it's unlikely that these companies would risk a contractual agreement to work with a relatively unknown individual. 

What CAN you do next?

Keep trying to contact as many people as you think would be beneficial to your career in a STRATEGIC manner. You can do followups (though not everyone likes to be followed-up on). Or you can keep a conversation going to establish a long-term relationship, which SHOULD actually be your ultimate goal.

Because if you haven't realised it by now, music licensing and placements very rarely happen overnight. Sometimes, these things take years and if you have a long-standing relationship with a reputable individual, you'll find yourself ahead in due time. However, if you're in this to make a quick buck in a short span of time, you're better off finding a day job.

The trick to this "game" is to ALWAYS offer value to the other party first before asking for anything. Make it apparent that you have a valuable skillset that you'd like to utilise for the purposes of helping and assisting others. Make no mistake though, the rejection rate in this field is VERY high, just as this email "template-guide-sample" does NOT guarantee a response at all, much less a positive one,  but ultimately, one good placement or better yet, one good relationship can elevate your standing in the industry significantly.