Why have a Music Composer?

Posted 3rd August 2022

Music is a key part of cinema, the importance of having the right music can not be overstated. It many ways music is often what holds films together and makes it all work! A score can unlock emotion, and elevate the entire film. 

It can be tempting to quickly layer some pre-existing music on to your film, however you can quickly run into copyright issues if you don't have the rights to use the music. A solution is to get a musician on your team to write, perform and record an original score over the weekend. 

An original soundtrack can breathe new life into a movie, making it feel alive. Instead of editing your film to fit existing music, a composer can craft an original bespoke score that is reacting authentically to the emotions and rhythms in your film.

48Hours can be the perfect opportunity to reach out and connect. It is also a fantastic opportunity for emerging composer to practice their craft, and to meet filmmakers. 

Finding a Composer: 

Finding a composer for your 48Hours film might seem daunting, but there are many young passionate composers who are looking for opportunities to collaborate with filmmakers. 

There are various ways you can find places where musicians congregate, but I would recommend starting on Facebook. Your first port of call would probably be the 48Hours - The Group page, many composers who are keen for 48Hours or have done 48Hours previous will be hanging out on this Facebook page.

Then are also large groups where just musicians congregate, for example New Zealand Musicians Networking. There are also specific Facebook groups for each major city, and most University music programs have their own Facebook groups, for example Wellington Musicians Society is an active Facebook group with over 5000 members. 
The most complete directory of NZ screen composers is the directory of the Screen Music & Sound Guild of New Zealand; Even though many of these composers may be too busy to work on your 48Hour film, they might be able to point you towards an emerging composer who is keen! 

Working with a Composer:

It’s important to remember that your composer is a key creative member of your team, and not just an afterthought at the end. Make sure your composer is involved in your early meetings so that they can start writing music as early as possible, and they have enough time to work to an edit of the film. Ask your composer how they like to deliver and receive files, and make a schedule and timeline for when music will need to be started and finished.

Written by William Philipson - Composer and Screen Music and Sound Guild Committee Member.