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Composer: What I do and how much I make

Video transcript

my name is Brian Fenton I'm 34 years old my job title is composer and small business owner and my salary is complicated it fluctuates but last year with $250,000 my small business is called hook and line and it's a small music production company that services the advertising industry there I I write music for advertising and hire other composers to write music for advertising I'm in addition to that I have a film agent my film agent tries and goes around to picture work and then I also go around to procure work and then I score I score films outside of that I also produce artists I also perform with other artists and I would say that's pretty much what I do for a living I'll get a phone call from an advertiser or an agency and they'll ask me to write certain kind of music for a client of theirs at which point I'll negotiate terms negotiate a contract with them if I can't do it entirely on my own all hire other composers and kind of manage their schedules so that they're you know they're meeting the deliverables that are needed for the client when it comes to film composition I don't negotiate the contract my agent will negotiate the contract but from there I'm negotiating the arrangements with the musicians that I will hire sometimes they'll hire a contractor to hire musicians but oftentimes I'm the one hiring musicians individually the collaboration process is great you know you want to form like a really good friendship with a director and be able to get your stuff on the same page as them creatively and aesthetically at which point you're just bouncing ideas off of each other I know how could l have a director come here and we'll work together sometimes but it's it's it's fun you know specifically with film and then also with producing artists as well obviously with advertising the role is more to just meet whatever expectations they have for whatever kind of style they're trying to envision for their product when I produce other artists usually an artist comes over and share some work that they have usually it's kind of in its nascent form it'll just be them on guitar them on piano at which point we'll discuss kind of production influences that they may have maybe reference bands or records that they have in mind and then I will begin the process of producing the work which is kind of removing it from from that Nathan stage and providing all the different production elements and arrangement elements that we would see fit let's just say somebody comes to me with a song that they've written on guitar you know maybe they want to produce the song in kind of more straightforward folk singer-songwriter direction then maybe I could suggest that we bring in a pedal steel maybe a string quartet maybe have some piano maybe use an upright bass so I'll range it in that in that respect and then we'll discuss whether or not we want the music to kind of have a more vintage feel have it played naturally in a normal acoustic setting or doing are we thinking more strange or interesting Audio space the reproduction techniques like reverb or different kinds of distortion or you know play with these different kind of tools that that may be out there I think to be a composer today you have to be able to do a bunch of different things and you know excel at a bunch of different skills both in terms of how well you write and how well you produce music and how you manage your own business and how you manage your own finances and deal with other people so I think what makes somebody successful in music specifically is that is that understanding of managing one's creative interests and what they need to achieve and want to achieve creatively and how they're going to be able to execute it from a business standpoint
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