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Trying to put together a film music demo reel


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#1 FM

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 10:33 PM

http://zazmusic.band...ly-long-version

This is basically a longish reel full of excerpts music I've made more or less in the past three years that might have any relevance at all to film. I'm trying to turn it into something tighter that might be more enticing to directors, since something this unwieldy is obviously a bit much to go through.

I've always been meaning to put together a really fancy frilly film composer website with all kinds of tracks and video samples and all that, but even this first step proved to be strangely challenging.

Any feedback would be great including stuff like: comments on the individual excerpts, comments about how well you see the excerpts working as film music, feedback on the production quality, or just general advice about starting a career in film music.

Thanks!

#2 Calum

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 12:16 PM

Just a quick thing - i prefer soundcloud - plus when people comment on the tracks that'll make the director/whoever think "oo this person's good". Bandcamp is good too but because it's about whole albums it looks strange (just to me really) having that one really long track as an album. Plus maybe think about making a header/background/album artwork - at the moment it looks really plain and amateur. These little things count for a lot! I really need to give my website an overhaul.
Also it'd be good to include descriptions - i kinda hate the idea of stock/genre music but you need to generalise your tracks like "Orchestral/Epic" "Comedy/Slapstick" "Tense/Horror" "Fun/8bit" something like that because if someone's come with a specific need genre wise (and they usually do) they'll want to go straight to that one instead of going through track a, b, c, d, e, f, g etc.
I haven't got time to listen properly right now so i can't comment on the music itself. But good luck with this endeavour, i'm trying to do the same really... : )

#3 dannthr

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 05:03 PM

Your first cue is too long and too wandering to play as long as it did, if I were someone with a ton of tracks I had to listen to I would not have made it through the first cue.

There is some HORRIFYING compression on your tracks, clipping/distortion--it's really, really awful--it has a really add threshold with a soft knee that just makes dynamics on the edge waver awkwardly.

All of your tracks with any dynamic range seem to suffer from this compression issue.

Nothing looks better than actually writing to a visual.

A film composer doesn't merely have to fit the style, there are a lot of timing and technical issues that need to be demonstrated that are not just about writing theme or motiv--you seem to have a style, but this reel is all over the place, too long, and just doesn't sell your work.

You can't just throw everything together on a montage and expect it to all fall into place--there needs to be direction and contrast and thought put into the order.

Most importantly, you need to grab my attention in the first 15 seconds.

Also, I hate montage demo reels--maturity in composition is development, everything else is just magic tricks.

Nonetheless, you do have to satisfy that demand to grab attention in the first 15 seconds.

It's still going--sheesh--dude, you can't expect to bend someones ear for 19 minutes when you're lucky to get 15 seconds.

If you insist on having a montage reel, make it less than 5 minutes, probably less than 3 minutes, and only put your best stuff on there.

A demo reel isn't about your indulgence, it's about selling you at your best. There are some tracks here that just sound like noodling.
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#4 dannthr

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:56 AM

If you're curious, here's a demo reel from a Film and TV composer:



Having a visual component shows us how Ned's music serves the filmic moment--a definitive demonstration of what he will bring to the picture and how he weighs in as a candidate among all the other demos we might be looking at today.
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#5 FM

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:04 PM

If you're curious, here's a demo reel from a Film and TV composer:



Having a visual component shows us how Ned's music serves the filmic moment--a definitive demonstration of what he will bring to the picture and how he weighs in as a candidate among all the other demos we might be looking at today.


DUDE, you probably don't remember me at all but you absolutely crucified a Zelda mix of mine on VGMix like 9 years ago (and introduced me to the concept of parallel 5ths to boot). I was "Standing Man" then. I can't believe you're still around (I wasn't, for ages, but I came back to make MORE ZELDA MIXES!!!)! Hope things are well.

You're right about the length and the lack of visuals, but, and maybe I didn't make it clear in my description, this isn't something I'm planning on sending to directors. Essentially the goal of this exercise was to see what excerpts from cues people here find interesting for a future 5ish min reel variety demo (while it's true that montage reels are kinda shitty, sometimes the job I might be applying to is so vague that showing a lot of range exceeds being able to develop (and though I disagree with your comment about 'everything else being magic tricks' for being overly harsh, I do understand the point and the fact that inevitably directors will want to see that)

You're also dead right about the compression, I'm not sure what I was thinking there. Well, I was thinking that it was a 19 minute reel with a ton of different styles that I didn't want to go in and adjust by hand for feedback on forums, but that's actually idiotic and lazy and I didn't want to admit it!

Thanks for still giving wonderful feedback nearly a fuckin decade later! Such a trip..

(Also, your example reel got deleted :( )

#6 dannthr

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 05:39 PM

Well, first of all, let me tell you, I was a huge douche bag back then.

And I was a bit of a jerk even here.


Film composers aren't about a sound--there isn't music that is inheriently filmic in style because EVERYTHING can be put in film--if you're interested in exploring that path, then you should start where the film composer starts.

Scoring to a visual.

Grab a trailer, a cut of a film you like, maybe a cut of a film you've never seen before, and set it to your music.

Drop every other sound away and figure out how your music can serve the narrative.

Get in with indie film directors, there are more than you can count.

Score to a visual--serve the picture.
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#7 FM

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 07:02 PM

I think anyone who sticks with this stuff long enough grows to appreciate "harsh" feedback so long as it's on point and constructive. Cheers!

(Any word on Ned's reel? I'd like to see it if possible...)

#8 dannthr

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 12:47 AM

http://www.vi-contro...pic.php?t=25850

Here's the thread where he posted his reel and the constructive criticism following.
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#9 FM

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 01:41 AM

Very interesting, thank you. How do you feel about the dialogue/sound design in his reel? Even though it's obviously a demonstration of a certain skill to be able to work around the dialogue and sound, I feel like the B-rate acting (and sometimes editing and directing) inevitably reflects on the reel, at least unconsciously. Like, "This seems like a movie pretending to be a bigger budget movie, so therefore the music must be similar." At least, it was all I could think of during the more cringe-worthy scenes. I dunno, thoughts? I'm not planning on much dialogue if any in my video reel, but I feel like that might be going a bit far..

(Also I'm already working on a video reel...this exercise is for the eventual tight audio-only reel, but I'll certainly post the video reel when I feel comfortable)

[By the way, since this is in the MC&P forum, this thread doesn't need to just be about me. Anyone looking for advice or feedback can post their film reels or demos.]




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