We Make Movies (Better): How to Score, Indie Style

The We Make Movies (Better) blog returns for a new installment about another new music option for independent moviemakers, by Sapna Gandhi, Editor-in-Chief of WeMakeMovies.org.

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Film is obviously a visual medium. Elements from the art direction, to the specificity of camera angles, to wardrobe, amalgamate to establish tone and elicit emotion from an audience. What is less apparent, yet equally influential in creating texture and mood of a piece, are the sound design and the score.  A well-crafted melody or single measure of sound can make as much of an impression on a viewer as witty or sparse dialogue, a saturated or bereft-of-color palette, and a charismatic or lackluster performance. And yet, after an indie film has gone through the rigorous and financially draining process of pre-production through to post, there is very little in the budget to accommodate this essential component of making a film.  Indie filmmakers rush to slap on some stock music that is title-free, license-proof, and “works,” tapping unsuitably tailored resources such as Craigslist or the director’s roommate’s brother’s best friend who used to be in a band in college.

Enter 27 year old, native Angeleno Jordan Passman, CEO and founder of www.scoreascore.com, an online marketplace that connects composers from all over world, with clients in film, advertising, commercials, web, television, video games, apps and podcasts industries seeking the perfect score.  Determined to revolutionize the sonic marketplace, Passman diligently worked out of his parent’s Beverly Hills home (he is the son of music attorney Don Passman) and launched scoreAscore in May 2010, with the goal to match composers with anybody who wanted to buy a sample of music for their projects.  Since then, the site has acquired such heavyweights as Google, NBC, Universal, Chase Bank, Burger King, Walt Disney Co. and more, while remaining the most viable option for indie moviemakers to procure choice scores for their projects.

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How it works? Content creators post projects along with the price they’re willing to pay, the terms needed (duration of the music) and the emotional themes they want the music to hit. They are able to include a clip (up to a three minutes) of a video they want the music to match. Composers then respond by uploading sample scores if they are interested in working on the project. Content creators select the score they want from the library of pre-existing music to bid on, weed through the original content designed for them, or pass on all of it.  No one gets paid unless there is a successful transaction.  The split is 40/60, with 40% going to the site and 60% going to the composer.

Composers and filmmakers alike have a dedicated platform to collaborate on one of the most vital ingredients to making a film resonate and become memorable. Composers work off of inspiration from the content they are presented with and indie filmmakers are allowed access to custom music fashioned by carefully selected composers they would not otherwise have been able to afford. In an industry imbued in stock music sites and non-exclusive libraries, composers need all the allies they can get. Despite diminishing resources and budgets for filmmakers, Passman aims to raise the level of everybody’s work through this inspired model. Passman hand selects composers from thousands of submissions from all over world and representing every genre, instituting a level of professionalism and quality control.  He has found that budding filmmakers with limited budgets can garner award winning music, because “if the content is good enough, people are willing to work for less”. Voila! MM

Sapna Gandhi has written as a poet and journalist for several publications, acted in an assortment of theater, film and television characters (check out her IMDb page), lyricized as a singer/songwriter, and toyed with words as an editor for feminist, literary magazine, Moxie. She is thrilled to be able to integrate her passions and contribute to the filmmaking community and We Make Movies team as an editor, event coordinator and development strategist. Born in England and raised all over The States, Gandhi holds degrees in English and Women’s Studies, and trained at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

2 Comments

  1. Ted

    October 23, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    i love this service…i’ve been using this for 6 months now. it’s saved me so much time because i dont have to scour through those massive libraries anymore.

  2. William

    October 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    My favorite resource for music for my web videos… aside from always being super high quality music, I always get tracks that fit the feeling of my videos perfectly. Highly recommended…

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