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Dario D

Passing melodies to a composer?

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Hi all. Probably a more odd question: If a composer were to come here looking for a composing/arranging buddy with which to pass melodies to, is it likely that he'd find anyone willing to take those melodies, and arrange them? Here's the deal... I'm stacked to the ceiling with crap to do (www.deefrag.com), and don't have time to arrange some of the songs I want to produce. So, what I'm wondering is if it's likely that I would find anyone willing to go co-op on some these, for whatever purpose: whether to work on his arranging portfolio, or just create some cool music. I'm not looking for anyone YET; I'm just wondering if it's even worth trying. I know from the video game mod community that there are certain types of people you can find with ease, and certain types that you almost can't find at all. In the music arena, I wouldn't know what types of people are around. :) [Edited by - Dario D on May 14, 2008 3:10:39 PM]

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I'm sure you can find someone who would love to help out. However there are some things you need to address:

1) What kinds of credit(s) will someone get for helping you out? (Will their name appear and if so, how will it be listed in the credits? Or is this ghost writing, where you'll get sole credit but others helped you? Both are quite common.)

2) What are the terms with regards to payment(s) and royalties based off of your projects? (If the game does well and makes money, does the arranger get any of the pie?)

3) What would be the typical time line someone would get to work on these projects?

4) What freedom(s) are given to the orchestrator? Is he or she allowed to change your melodies at all? If so, what are the parameters?

This happens all of the time in the film industry. Heck, I would even be willing to help out if the terms are right. It can be tricky when beginning to share projects with other folks, but if you set up the terms clearly and both parties agree to it then the results can be fantastic!

Thanks,

Nathan

[Edited by - nsmadsen on May 14, 2008 1:55:08 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by Dario D
Probably a more odd question: If a composer were to come here looking for a composing/arranging buddy with which to pass melodies to, is it likely that he'd find anyone willing to take those melodies, and arrange them?


I actually do this type of work professionally.

The big question is whether you are looking for someone to...

A. ORCHESTRATE (take what you have and directly adapt it for a particular ensemble with little or no creative contribution)

B. ARRANGE (have some creative input to harmonize/reharmonize your basic sketch, adjust the form, etc. then lay it out for a particular ensemble )

C. CO-COMPOSE (use what you have as a starting point and then actually take creative liberty to re-write, embellish, add completely new ideas, fill compositional holes, et al. This would be a collaborative effort.)

These are very different roles, and I have worked on projects that have had a separate person for each role. It's rare, but it does happen.

I'm sure you could find someone who would be willing to work with you in any of these capacities. Make sure you are both clear about what role each of you is playing, and that you are both comfortable with the expectations. This includes expectations for credit and compensation.

If you don't have professional experience, it may be good to find someone who is at relatively the same musical level as yourself. This helps to avoid unreasonable expectations as to what each party can and will contribute.

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Outsourcing audio assets is probably one of the most common outsourcing jobs in the industry--and, as Nathan said, ghost writing is very common.

Establishing what of the categories your outsource job fits under is step number one. Second, you need to find someone you trust, who you feel is reliable, to execute the outsourcing.

Most of the ghost writing jobs out there are by people the composer trusts, has been referred to, or has worked with before, so it is important for you to locate who that is for you.

As far as credited work goes, many composers have assistant/apprentice relationships they rely on or they have a list of friends they can count on for overflow work.

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Original post by Dannthr
as Nathan said, ghost writing is very common.

Most of the ghost writing jobs out there are by people the composer trusts, has been referred to, or has worked with before, so it is important for you to locate who that is for you.


Just a little bit of info about "ghost writing." Usually this term is used for a composer who actually composes something which another composer takes the credit for. This is generally frowned upon as it is dishonest.

Most decent composers will give their assistant composers cue sheet credit which translates into royalties for film & TV. Usually the assistant composer is also given an "additional music" credit onscreen so he or she is not a "ghost".

There is no shame in working with assistants or collaborators when you give credit and proper compensation where it is due. Don't ask someone to ghost write for you.

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I've done some ghost writing in the past and while it sucks to not be able to say what project it was for- it did help me make a good impression on a A-list composer and network with the crew of that project. I agree that ghost writing isn't the ideal situation, but it is common especially in the film industry. Also, as a side note I would state that ghost writing is only used for when a composer writes material that the lead or head composer takes credit for. I've not heard this term used to describe any other kind of working situation. If it has been used in other situations, I believe it is a mis-use.

Dario sounds like he needs an orchestrator and/or arranger more than a co-composer. It would be ideal for him to give credit as well.

I only brought up the various points (like ghost writing, giving credit, paying a percentage, etc) to show Dario he needs to consider various topics and issues before asking for someone to help out. Flesh out those points and give others a deeper understanding of what kind of work relationship you're willing to offer.

Thanks!

Nathan

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Quote:
Original post by Muzo72
Just a little bit of info about "ghost writing." Usually this term is used for a composer who actually composes something which another composer takes the credit for. This is generally frowned upon as it is dishonest.


Happens all the time--ever hear of a composer writing/producing 4 minutes of music a day? ;)

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Quote:
Original post by Dannthr
Quote:
Original post by Muzo72
Just a little bit of info about "ghost writing." Usually this term is used for a composer who actually composes something which another composer takes the credit for. This is generally frowned upon as it is dishonest.


Happens all the time--ever hear of a composer writing/producing 4 minutes of music a day? ;)


Sure have. It's rare, but I actually worked on a film where the composer wrote nearly 8 min for orchestra in a single day -- himself. We recorded two days later, IIRC. (He also had a large, excellent support team to make it all happen.) The film even got the Oscar for original score that year. He couldn't do it every day because it's quite taxing, but there were days where he wrote over 4 min of music.

The point is that decent composers give appropriate credit and compensation. That's why there are credits for orchestration, additional music, arranging, music preparation, contracting, whatever. Heck, if the caterer gets a credit...

Sadly though, there are people in every industry who are less than ethical. Typically, they prey on those with less experience.

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Thanks for the very informative feedback, all! :)

Yes, my intention has always been to provide full credit to the arranger, and let him know well beforehand if the project involves any compensation (and if it does, of course he'll get what's duly his).

Creative input is also very welcome, for me. I don't pretend to know more about musical theory than someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes it, so I would *prefer* that the arranger feels free to rework whatever needs it. I've learned, from the art world, that this is often crucially important, especially if the other person knows more than you.

Thanks again, all! Now I know how to proceed from here.

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