5 Tips for Getting Your Music Signed to Films and TV with Saycet
My name is Pierre Lefeuvre and I am a musician, composer, and producer from Paris. You’ll perhaps know me better under my artist and project name, Saycet, which I have been operating under for around 15 years. My music has taken many forms and is influenced by many different artistic styles, but it is only since the more recent years of my life where my composition works for film and TV have become known. This year I have composed the music for a Canal+ nature documentary called Bastard Lion, which also features composition work from Laurent Garnier. Most recently, I composed the full soundtrack for Netflix France’s drama series La Révolution.
My approach to scoring music for film and TV is of course different to how I would approach working on, say, a standalone track, or even an album or EP, as obviously the music needs to sync up stylistically with the storyline of the film. A great soundtrack or composition in my opinion is crucial to visual storytelling, as it adds a further dimension to those who are watching, particularly on an emotional level.
Here, I’ve compiled some tips below which I feel are important to consider and be aware of for anyone who is looking to explore the field of music composition for film and TV.
Make a showreel
This is a really key piece of advice which I think people often forget. Start with short formats, like short films, or even remake music on film clips or commercials that you like. The showreel should contain a selection of your best work and ideally, across different styles to show your creative extent. Once you have a showreel, then you can present it to agencies that work in film. It is a world where your work can often be judged on the spot, so another tip — if you are just starting to enter this field, then you can also compose an original piece of music for an already existing film to showcase your compositions. Quality over quantity is always key, as it takes time and experience to be able to score a composition for a full film or documentary, for example.
Have a specific sound
This tip could on the surface sound obvious, but crafting your own specific sound and personal vision is key. This tip comes with time and experience, but you won’t get there if you don’t explore many different types of composition work, study composers, and of course be aware of certain trends. Your own sound is your own personal vision. It belongs to you, no one else. For example, if you want to copy the work and style of Hanz Zimmer or another composer, then this of course will help you progress musically, but for someone starting out, it won’t lead to many opportunities.
Build a network
I’m not going to lie, this is a profession which works on human relationships. Either we have a manager who takes care of that or we have to go and see people, introduce ourselves, and network. A physical visit with people working in film and TV music composition where possible is always to be favoured. In my opinion, it is better to introduce yourself and leave a demo in person rather than just sending an email with your work.
Make a library
Music supervisors or sync agencies often spot composers on tracks who already have a profile. It is not common enough that a composer’s first score to video is ultimately a re-adaptation of a title that an agency has placed. To expand further – keep building your library of tracks that can be synchronized to images according to your own style, and experimenting with placing your music to the background of already existing video work.
Proposals and offers for long formats such as films, often only come after a successful string of short format work, such as in advertisements or short films. On this tip, patience is key. I cannot stress this enough. Another point on this is that there is also a relationship between your own time management and stress levels which is extremely important in this profession. When you are starting out, it’s important to let your own creativity flow naturally and to not set yourself unrealistic milestones and goals which may cause you to burn out. Again, scoring music for advertising campaigns is always a good starting point as a short format test.