Online Master's Degree Course

Professional Film Scoring Skills 1: Collaboration and Communication


Authored by Jeanine Cowen


Course Code: OCOMP-577

Next term starts January 13, 2020

Level 5 - Degree Only

Level 5

This course focuses on maximizing the composer’s relationship with a director or producer. We’ll explore different collaboration and communication styles, as well as how to manage the process of a collaboration from being hired through the final delivery. You will work with student filmmakers to gain experience collaborating directly with a client and managing a working relationship. Business skills for film composers are also covered, focusing on contracts and rights, and working within a budget.

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By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Present a director with suitable demos
  • Revise and rewrite themes for a director
  • Present cues to a director and receive and interpret feedback in a positive spirit
  • Anticipate the steps of being hired to score a studio picture
  • Develop strategies for how to aesthetically and stylistically approach a film
  • Negotiate fees and contracts
  • Interview and take a meeting successfully
  • Navigate power struggles between producers and directors
  • Make effective use of a budget for a package deal
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors Request Info


Syllabus coming soon.


Requirements coming soon.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in live chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of  Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software (available in the course when joining your first chat)
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal Microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection




Jeanine Cowen, Vice President for Curriculum and Program Innovation at Berklee, is a frequent lecturer on the topic of music technology and new media industries. She is an active composer, music producer, and technologist, working primarily with sound and music for visual media. Jeanine studied at Northwestern University as a classical percussionist and graduated with a degree from Berklee College of Music, completing a dual degree in film scoring and music production and engineering. Her graduate coursework focused on interactive design and game development at Savannah College of Art and Design.

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Jeanine has worked on development teams at the Education Development Center, Inc., Turning Point Software, and Turbine Entertainment. Her compositions can be heard in a wide variety of art and media, in works that include the documentary The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo, the critically acclaimed off-Broadway play Rapt, and Midway Games’ MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar. Her work as a percussionist can be heard on fellow Berklee composer and music technologist Stephen Webber's Stylus Symphony. Jeanine is an active advisor to the Alliance for Women Film Composers. Read Less



When Alison Plante was appointed Chair of the Film Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music she became the first female chair of a collegiate film scoring department, before moving on to head up the online program. Her scoring credits range from documentaries for PBS and the History Channel to national television ads, independent films, live action and animated shorts, theater, and multimedia museum installations for the Smithsonian Institution and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. She is also the founder of her scoring business, Treble Cove Music.

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Plante’s composition honors include the Janet Gates Peckham International Award for Excellence in the Arts and the Olga and Paul Menn Foundation Prize. 

A native of Concord, Massachusetts, Plante studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Cambridge. She also plays keyboard and wind instruments; performed for three years in a gamelan, a traditional ensemble of Indonesia; and has conducted for both orchestra and choir. Read Less


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at

We can also answer basic questions in the comments below. Please note that all comments are public.


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