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#1110946 - 07/19/16 10:46 AM Film and television pitch tips  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Today more and more writers are shooting for that elusive "film and television" pitch. While a lot of these are like tracking Bigfoot, (So and so placed two hundred songs in cable shows), some of them are legitimate. There are more television channels and more opportunities for placements. But like everything, you need some inside track information, and relationships in whatever you are doing. Every genre, every application has it's own language, own rules, own suggestions. Here are some things NOT to do, which are at least AS IMPORTANT as what TO DO.
Good luck,
MAB

https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2016/07/15/never-say-11-phrases-pitching-music-film-tv/

#1110957 - 07/19/16 12:20 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
It seems most if not all of them want finished product so I never bother.


Ray E. Strode
#1110961 - 07/19/16 12:57 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Thanks, Mark, that's good info to have. But regarding #3, wouldn't you want to contact them to ask permission to submit and also to inquire as to the manner in which to do so? Otherwise, if you don't do it their way, it goes straight into the trash, right?

Ricki

#1110964 - 07/19/16 02:02 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Ricki E. Bellos]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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I recommend Music Library Report: http://musiclibraryreport.com/ Massive info from composers/ musicians that use film libraries. Over 500 libraries listed there.

Best, John smile

#1110972 - 07/19/16 02:37 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Rikki,

No matter what you do, you are going to have to have a RELATIONSHIP with someone inside the music industry. Yes, they do have to have FINISHED PRODUCT. They don't have time to record anything and it has to be CLEARED in lisencing.

And John, you can go to a library if you want. I have never known of one music supervisor that uses libraries outside of their own libraries, and those of people they know. They don't have time or interest in going through hundreds of thousands of songs.

It is always going to be a business of RELATIONSHIPS. And as it gets more and more complicated, that is going to INCREASE, not decrease. In addition most music supervisors are writers themselves and have their own collection of things they go to first.

The "put it in a library with millions of other songs and people I don't know" days are long gone if they ever existed, which in my experience, never have. A lot of libraries making money from people who think that, but they have limited if any real results.

And with the new regulations coming out on songwriters, that is going to get even TIGHTER and HARDER to get a foot in the door.

MAB

#1110974 - 07/19/16 02:41 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Jim Colyer Offline
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The furtherest I ever got with TV was public access, and that was between 1997 and 2004.

#1111004 - 07/19/16 06:33 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Jim Colyer]  
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"And John, you can go to a library if you want. I have never known of one music supervisor that uses libraries outside of their own libraries, and those of people they know. They don't have time or interest in going through hundreds of thousands of songs” - Marc

Hey Marc,

First off... film music libraries are publishers. Just like song publishers, they sign material they think they can use. I know plenty of music supervisors that use film libraries. Yes, some libraries have thousands of tracks. But then, I'm sure song publishers sign many songs they'll never cover.

Yes, relationships are very important for film music libraries. Not only with the publisher, but also with their clients. I've had clients come back to my music many times. Even given me phone calls – yes, relationships.

Also, many libraries have their own in-house composers. I imagine, most often they get the cream-of-the-crop gigs. But not always. That’s why it’s important to have an unusual product; or a less abundant genre (unlike electronica).

Some libraries are owned and run by one person / one location. Others have an army of people and locations all over the World.

With nearly a thousand TV stations (needing music 24/7) in the USA alone, creates a high demand for all kinds of music.

Music libraries have search engines for music supervisors to use. So descriptive titles are very important. Also quantity is an important factor. The more tracks, the more likely your tracks will show up in searches. Make sure your descriptions are accurate. I’ve been told nothing frustrates a music supervisor more than having track searches pop-up that are nothing like the descriptions.

Be prepared to do a lot of the music library’s work. Many of them want the artists to do the descriptions, sub mix’s, etc. Here’s an example of a recent track I signed with a library:


Track title: “Strangled by the Heart”

Description: A post-romantic era piano solo. Elements of piano lounge. Heartbreak and bittersweet romance. Ideal for those reflecting moments in life.

Keywords: Classical Reflective Romantic Romance Relationships Marriage Heartbreak Emotional Lounge Cocktail Piano Melancholy Love Break-up Hurt Lonely Longing Sad Tender

Music Genre / Sub-genre Classical Music / Classical Piano
Duration: 3:12 Tempo: Slow
Arrangement: Solo
Instruments: Piano
Moods: Bittersweet, Caring, Dramatic, Elegant, Haunting, Heartbroken, Hurt, Lonely, Longing, Lost, Meaningful, Melancholic, Moody, Passionate, Reflective, Regretful, Romantic, Sophisticated, Tender, Touching

Styles: Commercial / Promo, Documentary, Film Instrumental, Film Noir, Film Theme Song, History Channel, Romantic Drama, Romantic Passion, Soap Opera, TV Instrumental

Extended Keywords: Touching Sophisticated Demure Drama Emotional Emotive Haunting Mystery Slow Intimate Melodic Yearning Sensitive Heartfelt Feelings Embracing Reminiscing Meaningful Beethoven Passive Pensive Memories Memoirs Poignant Acoustic Classy Expressive Polished Passionate Heartbreaking Atmospheric Sincere Tearful Reflecting History Channel Documentary Composers Endearing Film Noir


Yeah, I could go on and on about film music libraries. But for now, I have to knock more tracks off. grin Quantity matters. Oh, and yes, broadcast quality is an essential. Whatever that means. It differs from library to library.

Best, John wink

#1111012 - 07/19/16 08:16 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Good post MAB. There are a, b, c and d-teams in music libraries, but these pointers are valid cross the board.

The best tv/film composers have so many tracks they ARE a library.

Thanks for the detailed example on tagging, John. Check out this site for great tips on tagging as well http://tagteamanalysis.com/blog/


Buzz Tracks
Making media sweeter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buzztracks
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/buzztracks
#1111018 - 07/19/16 09:06 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Kolstad]  
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Good tips there John. Like anything there is, music for television and film has it's own language, it's own inside treks, it's own hireatchy. The point is to educate as much as you can about whatever genre or application you are trying to be a part of.

MAB

#1111022 - 07/19/16 10:56 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Originally Posted by Marc Barnette
Good tips there John. Like anything there is, music for television and film has it's own language, it's own inside treks, it's own hireatchy. The point is to educate as much as you can about whatever genre or application you are trying to be a part of.

MAB


Agree on educating Marc.

One other thing... new film libraries are opening up all the time. Some with a small (or no) client list. Placing tracks with them may be a long time waiting for placements.

John smile


#1111072 - 07/20/16 01:52 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
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Of course, second guessing clients is near impossible. One of my publishers said that there are so many young supervisors that don't know much about music, especially genres. He said they confuse New Age Piano with Classical Piano.

Here's a good one. My "Sabrina's Romance" (classical piano & violin) showed up in a Hip Hop TV show cue this morning. The show was "Love and Hip Hop Atlanta". Just shows you anything can be used anywhere. Makes the Film / TV business exciting. So much is about the mood fitting the scene. Then again, one of the lovely ladies could have been named Sabrina - which then showed up in a search.

Best, John smile

#1111138 - 07/21/16 08:29 AM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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They are a good source of info, I link to them from time
to time on my twitter account

#1111940 - 08/01/16 11:14 AM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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I had an interesting conversation on this Saturday. Someone I have known my entire career here, who has been my publisher for years and a really great friend had this recent experience. She is an incredible instrumentalist, playing steel guitar, guitar, dobro, banjo and has played with hundreds of people, including Rod Stewart and Shania Twain. She had been trying for years to "pitch" to the film and television industry with no success.

About a year ago, one of the contacts she had made over the years, asked her to get involved with an independent film project. At first it was to write one song. But as her skills seemed to fit the rest of the project, she was asked to score the entire film.

AS she sat and watched the film, to work on the score, she said she had an "Epiphiny." When you are sitting there, watching the film itself, you get a sense of the mood and pacing, the action the movement. That cannot happen with random "mail in" songs.
She was amazed and realized WHY it is so hard to get songs into movies unless you are tied closely to the project itself.

This is what I have always said about anyting in this business, from trying to pitch songs to artists, to publishers, to film and television. Unless you have really close ties, you are not going to be considered. Random "throwing songs about out there", has never been an effective way to do this.

the suggestions on threads like these can help up the level of the odds, but are never going to replace building relationships. But the one good thing is that there are nearly as many film maker wanna be's as there are songwriting wanna be's. So finding one in your home area, might be more accessable than you realize.
Never overlook your home territory.

MAB

#1111942 - 08/01/16 11:39 AM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Yes, I agree,
Many times when I was pitching a song to an Artist, I would like to hear the Artist if possible. I was "Chewed Out" one time by a producer who thought I was "Qualifying" the artist before pitching. No, I didn't want to send something that was too far from what the Artist would consider.


Ray E. Strode
#1111945 - 08/01/16 01:31 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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That is very strange advice there Ray. You are exactly correct about wanting to hear an artist, and if a producer told you that you were "qualifying" the artist, that artist is in deep trouble because the producer is an idiot. Learning about an artist, what they have recorded,what they are passionate about, likes, dislikes, etc is songwriting 101, and considered basic research. In fact, most pitch sheets will tell you, "listen to the artist for direction."
Then of course they will tell you to bring something "outside the box", which you do, then they tell you that it is "too" outside the box. A friend of mine, hit writer Karen Staley, once said on a panel discussion to a producer and label head, "Why don't we just write a verse and a chorus of a song and if you like it we'll finish it!"

All of this is incredibly random, and you just never know what is going to have impact with a music supervisor, a producer and artist or the public. I always have an interesting little question I ask my friends who are hit writers. I ask them, "When you wrote that song that became YOUR career song, your ICONIC song,the one you are most known for, did you KNOW it was going to be the huge hit it was?

Almost universally the answer is not only just "NO" but "HELL NO!!!!" Not only did they not think it was going to be a huge hit, most of the time they are those songs that pop out in about 15 minutes, and are almost discarded because they didn't even think ANYONE would like it, much less get recorded.

I have become great friends with a lot of legendary hit writers over the years and have had great conversations with them. A lot of the "backstage information" I bring here, come from them.

One of them was a guy I used to hang around in a local watering hole. I don't want to use his name or the name of the song, because he recently passed on, but if any of you want to know it, you can PM me. Trust me, you ALL know the song.

As we would hang around, people would always come up, mostly women,crying about how much that song meant to them. It was played at their weddings,children's births, graduations, even funerals. The song is HUGE!!!!
he would always wait till they walked away and shook his head and said "That song was one we we NEVER thought would do anything." He told me the story.

He and another writer were off on one of their "writers retreats", which are usually a week or two excuses to go drink, chase women, and party down. This was during the wild and wooley 80's, so there was a lot of that going on. He said they would go off, write about 20 songs, and then party all night. Sometimes they would write WHILE they were partying. This was one of those songs.
When they wrote it, it was one of those "fifteen minute" things that they actually laughed at. It was a big ballad, very syrupy, dripping with sentiment. When they went back and reviewed it, being much more sober, it didn't get any better. It was one of those songs you write when you are drunk, that when you go back and listen to it, sounds like a song you wrote when you were....well. Drunk.

A few weeks later they played everything for their respective publishers and they didn't care for it either. Was too saccharine and not what anyone was looking for. But they did a basic demo on all of them, and put on the pile of "songs destined for no where."
Interestingly enough, the song did get pitched AND got cut by a major country artist. It actually was a top 20 hit. They were all pretty shocked, was a nice paycheck and you never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Someone ended up getting it to a very famous LA based singer. This singer was trying to get out of her music career, which was on the decline, and get into feature movies. She had already done a little acting,was great and now figured the time was right to move on to that. But she had one more album in her contract. So she figured if she did something that was so lame, so over the top, so syrupy, the record label would let her out of her contract early, thinking, "if this is the stuff you are bringing in, maybe it's best you move on to something else." She even did over the top vocal trills and all kinds of things to make it sound unusable.

The song ended up as the theme song for a new movie she was doing. It hit the charts and became THE SONG OF THE YEAR. It was being played at every wedding, every birth. It was THE MOST PERFORMED WEDDING SONG THE NEXT YEAR. It because one of the most famous pop songs of the 80's and is still played all over the radio today.

Yet they never expected it. Just happened. A lot of things lined up, it connected with THE PUBLIC. Just one of those stories nobody saw coming.

It is the same with film and television, producers, record labels, etc. You don't know. You can only try and get as close to a project as you can, do your research, cover your bases as much as you can and hope for the best.

Good luck. Hope lightning strikes for you.

MAB

#1111952 - 08/01/16 02:52 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Yes, there are many strange stories of songs a artist hated but became pretty big hits. One I heard about, in the 50's was a song that was pitched to Al Hibbler at the time. He was the first to record UNCHANGED MELODY covered by a lot of Artists.
The song was AFTER THE LIGHTS GO DOWN LOW. I think you can Google it if you want to listen to it. He sang the song as crazy as he could. It is one of his premier songs today. You never know.

I actually don't have much hope of ever placing any of my songs but it is fun to try.


Ray E. Strode
#1111955 - 08/01/16 03:15 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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The beauty of the System is anything's possible! That's why people play the Lottery against insurmountable odds. Where there’s a free society, there’s always a multitude of possibilities. Don’t let me interfere with your discussion guys; I’m just feeling a bit philosophical today. grin

John smile

#1112626 - 08/08/16 08:16 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
Yes, there are many strange stories of songs a artist hated but became pretty big hits. One I heard about, in the 50's was a song that was pitched to Al Hibbler at the time. He was the first to record UNCHANGED MELODY covered by a lot of Artists.
The song was AFTER THE LIGHTS GO DOWN LOW. I think you can Google it if you want to listen to it. He sang the song as crazy as he could. It is one of his premier songs today. You never know.

I actually don't have much hope of ever placing any of my songs but it is fun to try.



Good to know the melody was unchanged, it would have been a tragedy had it been, but I think the song you are referring to is UNCHAINED MELODY, eh?

#1112644 - 08/08/16 10:41 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: Pat Hardy]  
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R&M Offline
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R&M  Offline
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This brings to mind of how to look at any sample or melody there is to where what represents the music and theme can be one's own (or so that perspective writer thinks).
Anything familiar in a sense is robbed.

Last edited by R&M; 08/08/16 10:44 PM.
#1112704 - 08/09/16 04:30 PM Re: Film and television pitch tips [Re: R&M]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Pat,

I saw that too and wondered if he was referring to the RIGHT CHUS BROTHER'S version.


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