Film Scoring: How to Get Started in the Industry  

Film scoring is the process of composing music for films, based on the script and director’s vision, and includes writing original songs, arranging existing songs, and recording them. If you’re interested in working in film scoring, keep reading to learn more about this growing field! 

What skills do I need to get into film scoring? 

The job requires an equal mix of creativity, technical skills, and musical talent. Professionals need to know the basics of music theory, key signatures, time signatures, meter signs, rhythms, chords, tempo, and dynamics. Knowing how to edit and mix your tracks is equally important, as if the ability to be creative and work as a team. On every project, a unique soundscape is created in collaboration with directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, editors, and other crew members.

What is the process of composing music for a movie? 

Scoring for films involves four distinct stages: preproduction, production, postproduction, and distribution. 

  • Preproduction begins when the director hires a composer who writes the main theme song and other musical cues. 
  • Production starts once filming has begun and continues until the end of postproduction. Postproduction consists of editing the final version of the soundtrack, mixing sound effects, adding titles, and making any necessary corrections. 
  • Distribution occurs after the movie is released into theaters. 

How can I start learning about film scoring? 

The best way to start learning about film scoring is to watch movies and listen to them carefully. When you hear a piece of music that sounds interesting, try writing down what notes were played and when they were played. Then, go back and listen to the movie again, and write down any other ideas you think might be useful. This process may seem tedious at first, but it will help you develop your ear for music. 

Do I have to play an instrument to get involved with film scoring? 

There are plenty of opportunities for musicians who want to work in film scoring, especially those who play instruments such as piano, guitar, bass, drums, etc. Practice recording yourself singing, playing instruments, and writing songs. 

That said, hands-on musician training is not an absolute requirement in 21st century scoring! In fact, more and more film scores rely on ‘virtual instruments’ to create their masterpieces. Modern software now records real instruments with real players, and digitally transforms them into an electronic instrument. All you need is a midi keyboard and a computer!

Where can I access virtual instruments and get started? 

Here are two excellent resources for film score maestros to check out! 

If you want to make music in the 21st century, virtual instruments are a necessity, and  Cinesamples has innovated the process. Heard in thousands of films, tv-shows, and video-games, many of their virtual instruments are recorded on the legendary MGM Scoring Stage at Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, Cinesamples offers all the amazing sounds your score needs to truly shine. 

Get immediate access to a growing world of virtual instruments with Musio. Offering fast downloads and system efficiency, Musio virtual instruments feature the expertise in sampling, recording, and development time-tested by industry-veterans. Even better: Musio membership grants users full access to the entire content catalog, all for one low price!

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