Following my last post, I got a question from a musician/songwriter that I thought I’d address with this post, which is–what is the secret to finding tv and film opportunities to pitch your original music to?
Before beginning the pitching process, I’d strongly recommend that you complete the steps I outlined in my first post: How I got two original songs licensed. I personally don’t think you will be consistently successful without completing those steps. Nuff said.
So…now that you’ve read that and you’ve got your songs or musical cues and your business head together, let’s talk about the secret to finding pitching opportunities…
Pitching to tv/film is all about research, persistence, and timing. The right way is to pitch (as best as I can tell) is:
1. Find out about potential projects by either:
-Watching tv shows and checking out the credits. If you find a show that uses the kind of music you have recorded, note the music supervisor’s name in the credits…and find the contact information of that person. If you can’t find it online via Google or IMDB.com, call the production company for that show and ask who handles their music licensing.
-Checking out the industry rags for tv & film listings–i.e. Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Look for shows that are in production or in post production. When you find a potential project, use Google, IMDB.com, and the plain ole phone or TV to find the music supervisor on that project.
-Checking out tip sheets and music supervisors’ websites for opportunities. Some music supervisors have email lists or project pages where you can get current info about their music needs. I like the job email list at Film Music Network. There are also tip sheet/pitching opportunities you can pay for like SongU.com, Taxi, and Broadjam.com. If you have a favorite, please leave me a comment.
-Meeting directors and asking them what projects they are working on. Follow this with a question about who is handling the music on those projects. You can meet directors at local film club meetings or by cold calling them based on in-production listings in trade magazines like Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Meeting local directors is a great way to build your credits while you get some experience. It’s also much easier to get placements that way…plus, it’s fun!
-Meeting music supervisors and asking them what their music needs are. You can get a list of music supervisors from musicregistry.com. Be sure to ask them what they need, not what they are working on. These folks are very busy and don’t often have a lot of time to give you a run-down on everything they are juggling. Be polite and brief.
2. After you’ve found an opportunity, find out as much as you can about the project and about who’s working on it…before you contact them. If they give musical examples of what they need, listen to them. Try to answer questions like: What genres of music do they typically use for this project? Do they use any songs with lyrics in the show? What have the key players worked on before? Are they currently in production? What is their company name and address? Don’t forget to watch the tv show or trailers if they are available.
3. Contact the music supervisor and ask what kind of music they are looking for. Be brief and let them know you have seen their work if you have. (And you should have!) Pitch only what matches their needs. If you don’t have what they need, tell them you’ll contact them again in a month or so. Also, ask how they’d like to receive the music–on CD, via an email attachment, via a link to a website.
4. Send them exactly what they requested. If you’re sending CDs, use a full-sized CD jewel case that is labeled on the spine…this will ensure they find your CD in their stacks and stacks of music. Make sure the CD plays, and label everything with your name and phone number–including the CD itself. If you don’t have what they need, send them your best CD.
5. Follow up in a couple of weeks or so to ask if you can send more of your catalog. If you can get a CD of your music into their office, it may get used months or years later. As you can see, that recently happened to me when I got two of my original songs licensed.
6. Repeat this process with new contacts and new music until you get your music licensed. If you want to get really serious about it (and you can write and record really quickly), you could write music for specific pitch opportunities. You need to be able to create and record music pretty quickly–like within 1 day to 1 week..2 weeks max. To do this, use your tip sheets or contacts with music supervisors to figure out what they need…then write a piece that meets those requirements, record it, and send it to them. If you can keep this going, it will produce results…and you may start getting specific requests from music supervisors.
Remember to keep a list of your credits (i.e your successful placements)…this will help you open more doors and will ultimately lead to more placements.
I hope that helps! Remember to post your comments and questions.