There is a great article here at Film Score Monthly about people inquiring how to become a film composer. The best part of the article is at the end where it asks “if you have the talent and wherewithal to do this”. It’s talking about talent, discipline and people skills.
There are many facets to becoming a film composer that don’t seem obvious to start. You could easily assume that once you had an agent or a manager working for you, that business would be taken care of. They would take care of the business end leaving you to focus on making great music. This of course isn’t true in any facet of the music or film industry.
When learning to become a musician (or composer, or producer) a huge part of your job is going to be getting the work in the first place. This means networking, developing social skills and being great when working under pressure. This are skills that aren’t taught in a music theory course. These are skills that can’t be developed in the studio.
I’ll get to the point of this short article right here: it’s all about your people skills! Success in the music industry, all facets of the industry, are built around relationships. It’s not just who you know but how you deal with people and situations. You can be the greatest composer of all time but without these basic skills you’re sunk. These skills not only involve dealing with people but how to get people motivated, how to create lasting relationships and how to connect with the right people.
For the aspiring composer, this is also one of the areas where there seems to be the least amount of info and training. Most composers I know don’t like dealing with this issue and would rather talk about films and music. Getting people motivated can be hard. Dealing with difficult people can be even harder. Most of all, most composers are musicians, not salesmen. But to become successful, salesmanship is always part of the equation.
People skills, discipline, attitude and preserverance. Skills that must be developed along with your craft. Skills that are crucial to your success. Skills that can’t be learnt out of a book. Good luck.