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Tips for Becoming a Sound Effects Designer or Music Composer

Jul 19, 2008
Becoming a professional music composer or sound designer for film, television, and new media can be a daunting task. While the licensing and use of custom music for media is evident everywhere, an aspiring audio professional may be overwrought with choices on where to find gigs, how to market themselves, and how to eventually build a profitable business in the world of sound. Following is a simplistic, but tested and true, step by step method of going from a talented and skilled bedroom composer or sound artist to a paid professional.

1. Sift through all of your previous mixes and sounds to create a demo of 30 second clips categorized according to mood, genre etc. to give to prospective clients either on CD or hosted online.

2. Build a website which includes demo samples, a short relevant bio, credits, and a video reel of any previous work.

3. Armed with your demo and website, seek out free or low paying gigs in order to gain credits and experience, build your resume, and establish business relationships for the future.

4. Build a database of prospective paying clients by contacting producers, directors, video editors, animators, and post-production companies for film, tv, and web. Seek out these prospects by asking family and friends, joining professional organizations, finding gigs online, networking through online film forums, and cold emailing aforementioned companies.

5. Follow up on prospects and check in every few months via email and send out a periodic e-newsletter regarding your work, your services, and interesting industry information or tips.

6. Become a master of skills and knowledge in the audio profession such as audio sweetening and mixing and FTP uploading, conversion of video, sample rates and file conversion.

7. Create simple contracts for professional use such as music release forms and invoices.

These 7 steps will allow you to establish a career as a music composer or sound effects designer. The work is out there in many forms, music is licensed daily, and the entire world of media production can be accessed through the internet. This process may take a couple years but will bear fruit if your skills and talents are in order and you maintain forward momentum. The market for music and sound is huge but often hidden. Though, when the opportunities you create meets your preparation, your success will be imminent.
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Check out SFXsource's sound effect library and demo great sounds at Sound Effects Library and download free sounds and loops at Free Sound Effects and Loops
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