How to Collaborate with another Composer (A Helpful Guide)

THE MEETING

There are two sides of the meeting that you should have. The first is the business aspect and the second is the music aspect. Let’s begin with the business side.

Here, you will assign duties and come to an agreement on the type of team you are forming. There are various ways to structure the relationship. Maybe you will be the lead composer and the other will be the assistant. Or, perhaps it will be an equal 50-50 partnership.

Another possibility is that one person writes the melody and chord structure while the other orchestrates it. Whatever it is, decide this now or at the very least, aim for something then if it doesn’t work, adjust accordingly.

After you have decided the structure of the team, the next step is talk about the pay, time commitment, and ownership rights. Now, depending how serious the project is, having a contract will help to clearly define the terms and expectations for everyone on board. So, it wouldn’t hurt to have this all down in writing.

Now, on the music aspect, there are at least five main points to go over. These cover most of the important questions:

  1. Purpose or Function?

    • What is the purpose or function of the music that you are making together?

  2. Palette of Sound?

    • What sounds will you be using to create the music? Synth heavy? Orchestral? Acoustic? Sample-based or recording?

  3. Style & Feel?

    • What’s the genre of music? How fast or slow is the tempo? Classical or Modern?

  4. Duration & Scheduling?

    • How much music do we need to make? How does that fit into the schedule of the production and when should we set the deadline by?

  5. Sharing System?

    • Will you be sharing audio files through Dropbox, WeTransfer, or Google Drive? Will these tracks be in stems or individual prints? 48 khz/24bit or 44.1 khz/24 bit?

Now that we covered the essentials through the meeting, here are a couple of activities that I would suggest you try to help further explore and organize these concepts mentioned above.

ACTIVITIES THAT FACILITATE CREATIVITY & ORGANIZATION

The first one is to create an inspiration board. Similar to how interior designers and graphic artists create a collage to gain ideas, you and your team can create an online board of inspired audio tracks for the same purpose.

Do this to help inspire the creation process and as a point of reference for new ideas. Having a few reference tracks will help get everyone to be on the same page without having to explain a lot through words.

The second activity is to create a cue sheet. A cue sheet organizes the music tracks in a clear way with columns such as description, mood, genre, tempo, approved, duration and timecode for film scoring. On there, you can also assign who will be responsible for each track.

If it’s for a game, then it is probably called something else like an audio assets list, but the same principles apply. Having a live document shared between you and your team (i.e. Google Sheets) will clearly communicate expectations so that you are on the same page (no pun intended) every step of the way.

CONCLUSION

During the course of your time together spent, you may find differences in opinion on certain tracks. Learn how to giving constructive criticism and be professional about it.

So when the time comes to say to to him or her that you felt like the music didn’t serve the purpose of the project, then it should be communicated in a way that is not personally attacking them. Hopefully, there will be a better product in the end because of it and your working relationship will not be detracted.

This concludes our blog about collaboration. Having a good sense of collaboration will help you to build great working relationships that can last a lifetime. Start collaborating and build yourself a team of awesome music makers.

Joshua Sohn

FILM & GAME COMPOSER

E | sohncompositions@gmail.com

W | https://sohncompositions.com

 


My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist, video creator, coffee lover, and true nerd…

PS. Join my Email List for Special Bonuses, Updates etc. =)

Join my Email List for Special Bonuses! =)

2019-02-16T10:11:32+00:00