Re-creating Temp Tracks
Some of the most annoying jobs as a film composer are the ones where you are requested to “simply recreate the temp-track” and unfortunately, there’s no shortage of such jobs. Sometimes directors/producers get so used and comfortable with the temp tracks of their project that they basically cannot imagine having any other music for their project but can’t get the one they’re using for budget/license reasons. However, sometimes time and budget constraints also are a big reason why a temptrack needs to be recreated. If you find yourself stuck in a situation where you basically can’t or don’t want to convince your client to go a slightly more independent approach with the music than the temp track, your task basically is to find the essence of the temp track and try to capture that without drifting into plagiarism.
In such cases it is also essential to figure out what it is exactly on the temp track that your client likes (e.g. orchestration). If you figured that out, you can change the other elements of the music slightly to create something new. However, once in a while there is the client from hell who simply wants the same cue once again and doesn’t want to make any compromises. In such cases, you either find a way to replicate the cue without replicating it or you have the guts to cancel the project (or at least threaten to do so, which can go wrong as well).
But essentially, you are responsible for any copyright infringements on the vast majority of projects, so you have to be sure that the track you just created is resonably different from the one you’re being referenced to. So leaving a project might be a better option in cases where your client don’t want to make any compromises.