Several Composers on One Project

In the current media world with increasingly tighter deadlines, it has become quite common to have more than one composer on one project, not only for different sub departments (e.g. one composer for score and one for songs) but even several composers working on the score at the same time. Sometimes, even whole teams of composers are involved. There come great advantages with this like sharing the workload in very tough deadline situations but it can also help tremendously when you have a writer’s block to have someone to give you a hint for a new idea.

However, there are also quite a few downsides and things to consider that come with it. Besides the obvious problems of still creating a homogenous sounding score with a uniform musical language and agreeing on thematic material, it is also very important to make certain things clear before you start a project this way. First of all, the percentages of the writer’s share should be agreed on. The second important issue is the crediting: Who’s credited how and with what title? Assistant composers? All equal? Etc. It helps to set up a small sub contract for these things with all involved composers to fix these issues, particularly when you have little experience working together with them.

Also, the working relationship needs to be cleared with the production as well. Will one composer be the main composer who hires possible other composers or will all be hired by the production company? If the first is the case, the main composer needs to be very clear about financial agreements etc. as the risk of a failing financing of a project with still having financial obligation towards any sub contracted parties can become very problematic if not dealt with properly.

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