Staying Up To Date
Watch as many movies as you can. If you want to seriously work in the film music field, you need to know what is going on in the “business”, you need to get an understanding of how music is used in movies and also what current developments take place in the field of film music.
It will not work to try and write film music if you don’t watch movies regularly. It is good to listen closely to the music when you watch a movie and see how it works, what it does etc. You can not study a stylistic feeling by reading books and talking theoretically about it. You can only get it by watching all sorts of movies and see how the music works with the pictures. This is just as important as mastering musical skills.
A fantastically written music that stylistically doesn’t suit a movie at all is bad film music, no matter how well written it is. Film music that sounds as if it was written 60 years ago will feel awkward in a modern movie context and just sound wrong, even if the musical execution is perfect.
Arguments like “Yes, I did it because I deliberately wanted to sound completely different than what currently is “hip”” are only valid when you ACTUALLY know what you’re avoiding. The good thing about watching many different (even bad) movies is, that you can only learn from it. Try to find out why the score in this movie is bad, try to think how you would have approached it differently etc.