Finding the Right Composer for Your Project: Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Guest post by Jordan Passman 1. Hire a professional, and choose carefully! If you have the budget, call a top agency and hire John Williams…I mean, he really is the best! He did the theme for Star Wars! Unfortunately, for 99.9% of filmmakers today, (and those who aren’t Steven Spielberg) this is not a feasible option. The first instinct and most commonly used method of finding a composer is by asking your immediate group of musician friends. So many musicians are willing to try scoring your film for cheap, so this may be seem enticing…

My advice: Don’t do it! You want to hire a professional composer, not just any musician and be especially careful with a friend—if it doesn’t work out, you could damage your friendship. If you don’t know already, composing for film is a true art. It helps you tell your film’s story. It enhances emotions you are bringing to life. When integrated correctly, this music will compliment your film so much, that you won’t be able to imagine watching it without it! The right composer will likely be your friend by the end of collaborating together, but it’s probably best that he/she is your composer first, and friend second.

Now if you don’t have enough money to call one of the top agencies, (they likely won’t take your call unless you’re offering over 60K, and that would be for one of their “small”, up-and-comers), then there are still great options to find professionals out there. I’ve noticed so many filmmakers scrounging Craigslist for a composer, and that seems like a big waste of time. One risk-free option is try my service. I created scoreAscore as a platform to connect you with pro composers. Post your project and say what it’s about. State the price you have budgeted for a composer, and a description of what you want musically (and even post a video of your film for composers to score) and the pool of pros will submit original scores for your consideration. There’s nothing to lose, as each composer is carefully selected.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, find other composer agents, like myself. I am happy to discuss what you’re trying to achieve with your film’s music, and what kind of composer would best compliment your creative goals. If this doesn’t appeal to you, every composer has a website. Check them out, they put a lot of time into making them pretty, though it takes a lot of your time to find and review them! And lastly, check Craigslist

2. Plan it out: find your composer early! If a composer is attached in beginning stages, he/she can gain a greater sense of your vision as a filmmaker from the very start of the project. By sharing this perspective from the get-go, he/she will feel as an integral member of the project, a great sense of how to compliment and share your creative vision.

For example, a composer I represent, Joachim Horsley was attached to a film in its early script stages. He noted a scene where a man sat in a church, praying while listening to an inspiring children’s choir. Joachim wrote the music for a live children’s choir to perform for this scene, before they even started shooting. Having Joachim on board before the shoot spared this filmmaker one more headache during production

3. Set aside a budget, and don’t touch it! If you want your score to be amazing, make your composer feel amazing. Even though you don’t pay for music till the end of your production, (and you always feel like you’ve already spent it all, and you’re way over budget), it is very important to make your composer feel valued. Not only will you get an incredible project, but it makes working together that much better! Of course there will be times that you have absolutely no budget for anything or anyone (everybody on the film is doing it for backend points and you’ve been surviving on Cup O Ramen for 4 months), and in those cases, be sure to treat your composer like you do your editor, producers, etc. Your composer will just want to feel valued, and not taken advantage of! On that note, think about the tremendous amount of time and energy it takes a composer to score a film. Writing, Orchestrating, Arranging, Recording, Editing, Producing, Mixing, Mastering, etc. A composer I represent, Jacob Yoffee, says that it takes him at least 300 hours of hard work to complete a film!

Jordan Passman, one of Bloomberg Businessweek's 2011 Finalists: America's Best Young Entrepreneurs, launched in May 2010. scoreAscore'sinnovative approach to the film music business was recently featured in the LA Times. The Los Angeles based Entrepreneur and Film Composer Talent Agent's clients include: Disney, Burger King, DirectTV, Crayola, Google, Skechers, Ally Bank, Sargento Cheese, Old Navy, LEGO, Universal, NBC, CBS, BRAVO, Electronic Arts (EA), Hasbro, the Gates Foundation, Castrol GTX, & more!

One Way To Reduce Cost While Increasing Quality

I once had dreams that our movement away from an impulse buy based entertainment economy, over into one based on choice and commitment, would lead to greater demand and thus increased funding for diverse, ambitious work of quality. Sigh... It seems, though, that the planet I live on asks those of us who care about such things to do more for less. Unlike some, I think there is a surplus of immensely talented folk out there with great stories to tell in interesting ways. Unfortunately, it is really hard for most artists to do great work on their own. And that's where producers come in. So it's completely frustrating when we are trying to do more work, but there is far less funds available to work with. What are we supposed to do? Fortunately, not only does the technology improve, but there are some people out there who keep coming up with good ideas for our benefit. Today, I have a new one of those for you, one that can help you produce good movies for less money: scoreAscore.

I am going to let xcoreAscore's founder tell you all about it:

I’m Jordan Passman, founder and CEO of I created scoreAscore to connect professional music composers and quality media producers. Why scoreAscore? There are big project owners who can pick up the phone and call one of the top film composer agencies to find what they need. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are film producers scrounging through overwhelming music libraries looking for great music.

With our Name-Your-Price system, gives you original music in an easy-to-use, safe and efficient environment. Each composer is a professional who has been personally screened; some have even won Emmys and been nominated for Academy Awards.

We offer 24/7 access to composers and their music, with a mission to pair the next John Williams with the next Steven Spielberg. Our current clients include: Directors, Producers, Ad Agencies, Video Game Publishers, Trailer Houses, Music Supervisors and more! Check us out. Feel free to reach out to me directly at anytime.

Take 50 seconds to check out this animation, explaining how scoreAscore works:

Happy Scoring!

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.