Online Master's Degree Course

Professional Film Scoring Skills 2: Building Your Career

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Authored by Jessica Rae Huber

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Course Code: OCOMP-650

Next semester
starts April 1

Level 6 - Degree Only

Level 6

This course explores how to build your business acumen as it relates to the film scoring industry. The course teaches you how to build your professional network, create your own opportunities, and craft a life and career of scoring films and other media. You will explore how to maximize your strengths and use them to navigate the nuances and intricacies of the Hollywood film and TV scoring business. In addition, you will learn how to create polished demos and other marketing materials that distinguish you from other composers. 

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

  • Work and communicate more effectively with directors
  • Understand passive income streams
  • Produce and submit cue sheets
  • Employ effective networking strategies
  • Work as your own agent and find upcoming projects with production charts and other methods
  • Contact decision-makers and submit for projects in a way that increases responsivity
  • Distinguish yourself from other composers and uniquely position yourself in the marketplace
  • Create persuasive and clearly branded demo and marketing materials
  • Develop a personalized marketing and action plan
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors Request Info

Syllabus

Lesson 1: You are a Business

  • The Film Industry's State of Affairs
  • Current Trends
  • The Hard Truth
  • Analyzing a Case Study: Brian
  • Conceptualizing Yourself as a Business
  • Developing a Vision and Mission
  • Developing Your Mission Statement
  • Assignment 1: Solutions for Brian and your Vision and Mission Statements

Lesson 2: You Are a Brand

  • Developing Your Brand
  • The Composer’s Digital Essentials
  • Your IMDb Page and Social Media
  • Worst Digital Practices
  • Best Digital Practices
  • Assignment 2: Your Website

Lesson 3: Identifying Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

  • Strengths and Weaknesses: Know Yourself
  • Opportunities and Threats: Know Your Market
  • Analyzing Your SWOT and the Industry
  • Your Strategy Informs Your Research and Marketing Plan
  • Case Studies in Finding Your Market
  • Your Business Plan - Laying out the Framework
  • Assignment 3: Website Update, SWOT, Industry/Market Analysis

Lesson 4: Advancing Your Network

  • Developing an Effective Networking Mindset
  • Turning a Weak Tie into a Strong One
  • Knowing Whom to Network With
  • Developing an Effective Networking Strategy
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Your Marketing Plan
  • Assignment 4: Networking and Marketing Plan

Lesson 5: Workflow and Streamlining Technology

  • Defining Your Workflows
  • Production Workflow
  • Operations Workflow
  • Internal Workflow Organization
  • Creating a Backup System
  • Backup Programs
  • External Workflow Organization
  • Knowing When to Delegate
  • Assignment 5: Workflow

Lesson 6: Understanding Revenue Streams

  • Ways Your Music Can Make Money
  • Retaining Your Rights
  • Music Libraries
  • Monetizing Related Skills
  • Your Financial Structure
  • Assignment 6: Financial Plan and Metrics

Lesson 7: Working on a Team

  • Givers, Takers, and Matchers
  • Communication is Key
  • Sharing the Mental Load
  • Giving and Taking Credit
  • Assignment 7: Two Reel Pieces

Lesson 8: Exploring Composer Adjacent Careers

  • Music Editors
  • Orchestrators and Copyists
  • Composer Support Roles
  • Leveraging Adjacent Careers into Composing Careers
  • Getting Hired by Another Composer
  • Assignment 8: Interview a Professional

Lesson 9: Exploring Different Stages of Media Scoring

  • Flying Solo
  • Working With Contracted Help
  • Working With a Full-Time Staff
  • Working on the Next Level: The Auxiliary People on Your Team
  • Assignment 9: Genre Reels

Lesson 10: People and Culture

  • How to Hire Someone
  • Pay Unfairly
  • Diversity Among Media Composers
  • Setting Your Expectations
  • Assignment 10: Website Check In

Lesson 11: Professional Ethics

  • Major Ethical Approaches in History
  • Diversity in Contemporary Ethics
  • Pragmatism in Ethical Practice
  • Consistency, Coherence, and Sustainability in Ethical Practice/li>
  • Assignment 11: Final Business Plan

Lesson 12: Work-Life Balance and Review

  • First Things First
  • Determining What’s Important
  • Every Yes is a No
  • Feeding the Creative Side

Requirements

Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Professional Film Scoring Skills 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.
Students should be able to:

  • Understand the process and stages of film scoring.
  • Should have scored at least the film from Professional Skills 1, and preferably other films.

Textbook(s)

Media and Subscriptions

  • IMDbPro subscription

Software

  • Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), one of the following:
    • Cubase Pro (recommended option)
    • Logic Pro (recommended option)
    • Reaper
    • Digital Performer (limited support)
    • Pro Tools 2018.12 or higher (First, Intro, and Artist editions are not sufficient)
      • Note: While Pro Tools is required in certain Film Scoring Master's courses and can serve as your single primary DAW for the program, we recommend using Cubase or Logic for sequencing.
  • Notation software, one of the following:
    • Dorico Pro
    • Sibelius Ultimate
    • Finale (full version)
  •  High-quality algorithmic reverb, such as:
    • LiquidSonics Cinematic Rooms
    • iZotope Exponential Audio R4, Symphony, or Stratus
    • ValhallaDSP Room
    • Lexicon Native PCM Reverb Bundle
    • Note: Altiverb (industry-standard convolution reverb) can be used in lieu of an algorithmic reverb. 
  • Orchestral sample libraries (click here for list of approved options)
    • Note: Orchestral Tools' Berlin Orchestra Created with Berklee is strongly recommended.

Hardware

  • MIDI keyboard controller with at least 49 keys, mod wheel, and additional MIDI CC knobs/faders, such as Novation Launchkey 49
  • Audio interface
  • One of the following studio monitoring options suitable for mixing (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as necessary cables. Monitors with 8-inch woofers are recommended, such as JBL 308Ps or better.
    • Professional over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, etc.

Important Technical/System Considerations

  • Your computer must be powerful enough to run large film scoring sessions smoothly. You should consider:
    • At least 32 GB memory. 64 GB or more recommended.
    • Recent Apple M-series Pro (e.g. M2 Pro), Intel Core i7, AMD Ryzen 7, or better processor.
      • Note: The entry-level M-series Apple Silicon (e.g. just M1 or M2) is not sufficient, but we highly recommended a Mac equipped with an M-series Max or Ultra chip for this program.
    • NVME M.2 SSD primary internal drive (or Apple Silicon)
  • We recommend storing sample library content in a secondary internal or external SSD with 1 GB/s or higher read rates. Alternatively, you may opt for a Gigabit network solution, such as Vienna Ensemble Pro and secondary computer.

Other

  • Students are required to join a Performance Rights Organization (PRO), and may need to pay fees applicable to their chosen PRO.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu with any questions.


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
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection

Instructors

Jessica Rae Huber

Author

Jessica Rae Huber is a film and television composer who has written music for hundreds of episodes of television, feature films, production libraries, trailers, and podcasts. She is also frequently recruited to write additional music for other composers across many genres and types of media. Her work can be heard on shows such as The Walking Dead, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Outlander, and Black Sails.

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She previously worked as an Assistant Composer and Scoring Manager for a major film music production company where she hired and managed a large team, coordinated multiple simultaneous scoring projects, and wrote additional music. She has since become a highly sought-after consultant who has recruited, built, and maintained scoring teams and workflows for multiple composers.

Jessica is one of the original composers chosen for The Future Is Female: a Concert for Women in Film where she conducted her original orchestral piece for a sold-out crowd.

She holds a degree in film and video game scoring from Berklee College of Music, and a degree from Florida Atlantic University in Communications, Women's Studies, and History.

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Zack Lucia

Instructor

Zack Lucia is a media composer, creative producer and engagement strategist. Guiding the process and mediums by which stories are told–from beginning to end–and maintaining self in the midst is paramount to his work in storytelling. Musically, Zack has composed as an additional composer for many episodes of TV – his work can be heard on Outlander, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Black Sails and more. He’s managed creative teams for multiple studios; overseeing scoring projects for TV and documentaries, and produced audio (VO, SFX and Music) for games such as Wizards Unite, War Dragons and Vainglory. Zack is also involved in community engagement, currently working for Berklee’s Alumni Affairs and as a mod of the advocacy group for assistant composers; Teammates. He has a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music.

Questions?

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