Misleading Briefs by Clients

One of the most annoying things are misleading briefs by clients. It’s not too uncommon to get a temp track or a comment by a client that completely sets you on the wrong track of what they actually want. One classic is the temp track which you understand as the way you are supposed to go musically but actually the client only likes a certain instrumental combination, or one musical element from it that he/she wants you to incorporate into your work but forgets or is not musically literate enough to communicate that properly. One also very popular possibility to be thrown off completely is musically uneducated clients trying to communicate in musical terms and throwing words around they think mean something specific they want but actually mean something completely different. There is no real recipe against such misunderstandings, the only thing that helps a little is to ask many questions, if possible also “trap” questions that might shed a light from a different angle on what the client said. This is all part of the job and composers who are just starting out can get really frustrated by that also doubting their communicative skills but there always is once in a while that client where this happens, also to the most professional composers. So get used to it and most importantly react professionally on it. For instance it is a very very bad idea to embarrass or lecture your client over his/her shortcomings in musical understanding even if you could. Just deal with it and let it go.

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