Guest Post: Jordan Passman "Value What You Use: The Film + Music Equation"

Just because you can do something, does that mean that you should. Do short term needs always outweigh long term goals? Does obtaining services for less than they are worth make you a good producer? Last month Jordan Passman introduced us to his scoreAscore service, allowing filmmakers to connect with composers at prices they set. Today Jordan guest posts to expand on his vision to stop the marginalization of music in the film biz.

We fight for film music, and here's why:

"We won't be able to pay you but it'll be great exposure for your work!"

"This is an unpaid request."

"Ultra low budget, so no upfront fee"

There are an overwhelming amount of posts with these phrases in them on craigslist and others, and we need to stand together against them so they don’t completely ruin music for film. Films have inspired some of the greatest music of all time (Psycho, Jurassic Park, UP, Pink Panther, Star Wars & Forrest Gump), and it is our duty to keep this moving forward!

When you break down the filmmaking process, it's easy to see why music gets so frequently marginalized. Music is a final thought. A composer is almost always the last one to join the creative team, and at that point filmmakers have already spent their budget on production, talent, editors, DPs etc. The filmmakers who are posting the above headlines on craigslist exemplify a major problem in this business. Often times, they already paid their DP, editor, actors, make-up artists...but now it's time for music, and they have no money put aside for a composer, yet they expect someone to do the job at no cost. It's like losing 500 dollars in blackjack, and then being upset over the two dollar charge for the valet who parked your car. The two dollar valet fee pays the overhead and the employees’ time, but it hurts to spend that money when you're already in debt. I am confident that filmmakers still see the value in music for film, however, we need to remind them that it’s crucial to compensate composers for their hard work.

Composers should not be a last thought, but rather a key aspect of a film, one that merits fair compensation. The composers I know put everything they have into every job they have. They always deliver their best, even when they know they are underpaid or even unappreciated. It takes hundreds of hours of focus and dedication to deliver a film score (writing, orchestrating, recording, producing, mixing, mastering, etc.), and yet it's sometimes expected to be done to perfection, with little to no budget! We're in a world where the perceived value of music is less and less, and people think it can be created instantly on a computer. But in fact it takes an incredible skill set to create a powerful score. How do we instill the value of music into this artform? The solution is to put the choice into the filmmakers hands.

Because I am passionate about solving this problem, I created I am a firm believer that "what you spend is what you get", and my experience running scoreAscore has proved this theory. Like all other creative individuals, the best scores are produced by composers who feel valued and appreciated. Anyone who has worked with professional composers on a project with a luxurious budget knows what they do to enhance a film. I want to create a healthy and fair way for media producers to find music, and for composers to contribute to projects. scoreAscore allows filmmakers to name their price for their music. The mission of scoreAscore is to value composers' work, so that all camps are happy. We can't afford to lose the professional composers in this industry, and if we don't pay them deservedly, we will lose the magic that music brings to films.

-- Jordan Passman

Jordan Passman launched in May 2010. Born and raised in LA, music has always been a huge part of Jordan’ s life. In his early career, he worked in the entertainment industry throughout college (Creative Artists Agency, Warner Bros. Studios & Warner Bros. Records). After graduating from Pitzer College, Jordan joined the Film/TV Membership Department of ASCAP (American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers) in New York.