Music Composer: The one-stop-shop


In Australia, we are limited in many ways in the creative arts industries. Limits are not always detrimental and in many cases can have positive creative impacts; dub music for example is a genre born out of poverty and and hip hop was born out of adversity (there’s so many more examples but we can talk about the interplay of music and society another time.)

My point is, limitations can spark and encourage us to embark on creative ventures that we might not otherwise subject ourselves too.

However, the reason I am focusing on the Australian Industry is because, well I live and work here, but because as citizens, residents and visitors it is within our best interest to work towards making our creative arts industries more sustainable, financially supportive and economically supportive. 

As a music composer I have found myself in other sound and audio fields that I (was not) initially trained or experienced in but out of necessity  for a project or at the begging of a producer obtained the skills and knowledge I needed to fulfil the following roles:

Sound Designer
Music Supervisor
Music Producer
Sound Producer
Sound Editor
Dialogue Editor
Foley Artist
Sound Recordist

This seems like a ridiculous list and it is and I am in no way promoting that I am a master at all of these things, that would be practically impossible (thought I know there are some genius people out there, I unfortunately and not that gifted.) 

In other countries and communities around the world with a stronger industry and supporting system (both from the economy and government) the roles set above are assigned to individual people or companies with multiple people. For example in Los Angeles a Dialogue Editor and Foley Artists are completely separate roles, which is obvious because they require different skills, equipment and expertise.
In Australia however, we do not have this luxury because we do not have the financial support, the government support, the education support nor do we have the promotion to generate the desire of going into these fields. Therefore if you find yourself skilled and working in one era you are likely to be enquired after for other roles.
I have personally worked very hard to up-skill not just for my own personal gratification and for a higher quality of my own music and music productions but for the benefit of my clients who create films, games and other multimedia projects. If I can generate a higher quality product, their product in turn will be of a higher industry standard that will help grow our industry. Action, reaction, repeat. 

I hope one day to spend all of my time (simply) as a composer for multimedia. That is what I really want to do and now that I am receiving a higher volume of work I am able to financially delegate other roles such as sound design, sound recordist and mixing to another person or party. This is the way to continue to build our industry; it will involve more people which means there will be a larger number of employees in the industry and there will be a higher quality of work because there will be more hands on deck ensuring the roles are completed as professionally as possible. 

When working with other creatives make room in your budget to hire multiple people for your sound team where you can, we know it’s not always feasible or viable but large companies, large scale independent projects and those with funding should be more diligent with how to delegate those roles. Musicians and sound producers need to take responsibility too and ensure that you have the skills and knowledge to fulfil the role/s you have been employed to complete and if you cannot you are equally responsible for delegating those roles. 

For instance, I can’t play French Horn, I could drop everything and practice it 8 hours a day for the next 4 years to be able to, but I’m not; so when I need French Horn I will delegate the role to a player to fulfil the part.

It just makes sense. Hopefully we can work towards promoting our industry by seeing each other as assets not just as competition.