(Re-)Scoring Blockbuster Scenes

Many especially young composers are looking for film material to practice scoring. And due to many of them wanting to write so-called epic music, it becomes even trickier to find footage as it’s not particularly easy to find amateur or student films that offer scoring such scenes. While it might be debatable why as a young composer one needs to extensively practice scoring multi million dollar shots, many composers end up taking footage from blockbusters and score or re-score it.

While for practice this is completely fine, the problem starts when you use these as demos on your website or social profiles. First of all, the danger of running into legal problems with big studios is not to be underestimated as they very often have aggressive policies against piracy. Additionally, when using these things as demos hoping to get jobs, you can only lose. First of all, potential customers will most likely know the original movie and will know how it sounded like. As a learning composer with limited access to HQ samples (or orchestras) etc. you simply will not stand a chance to live up to or exceed the expectations that are set by choosing such a scene. Even if your music on its own is quite good, it will most likely not have a chance against the music of established composers who work with huge budgets to record and produce.

The other problem is that having a demo that consists of re-scored scenes will simply say: “Hey, I have so much time because nobody hires me that I can spend days to re-score scenes from other movies.” which is not really something a potential client is looking for. For them, people who are constantly busy doing jobs are way more attractive. The problem is that particularly such demos are without a doubt identifiable as “I got no job and I am bored.” However, if you just used that music without picture to demo your work, it could be a track from an actual project and the client wouldn’t know.

So the bottom line is: It is great practice to try and re-score scenes from blockbusters but there are several reasons why you shouldn’t use them in connection with the video as demo to get jobs.

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