If you ever work on media projects that use music, this list is for you.
I know two things. One is that being a composer for picture means that I scrutinise pretty much every piece of applied music I hear. The second is that other composers, I know, also suffer from this. We love something, we hate something, we want to sound like someone, we think we could do something better, we can’t BELIEVE we just heard that rip off / sound library / synth / plug in.
After a while, you start to notice the same things over and over again. Composers will inevitably construct small huddles in the corners of rooms, debating these things, laughing, conferring, crying, tearing their hair out. If only the rest of the world knew our pain. So I decided to list a few for your enjoyment.
10 Ways To Ruin Your Video Project With Music
1.) You hire a composer who actually still uses cheap MIDI orchestra sounds (Watch this Heinz Salad Cream advert for details, 2010).
2.) Have the music track so quiet that the composer sits in front of their TV with a visible question mark above their head. Why were they even hired? Note – other composers watching the program instantly feel their hurt.
3.) You slap your newest favourite song on the video as a temp track and pay a composer to mimick it, not signing off anything less than pure plagiarism.
4.) You’ve scoured for hours in the endless depths of ten different music libraries, and pick something that barely fits but you’re bored of sifting through.
5.) Your mate plays the guitar and is writing the music.
6.) YOU play the guitar and are writing the music.
7.) You change your mind about what you want so many times during the project, that the composer’s mind and creative passion have simultaneously turned into something that resembles month old soggy Weetabix.
8.) Get loads of really cool bits of music just like on Top Gear – and then realise your editor couldn’t chop a carrot.
9.) Lay down all your audio tracks using Laptop speakers, speakers sat on a reflective desk, speakers near the ceiling, speakers on the floor, or anything equally ridiculous. (If you want to know how to position your speakers, please read this excellent PDF.)
10.) You use the originals of, or even worse, poor soundalikes of any of the below as these are officially the most overused tracks of all time*
‘Lux Aeterna’ (Listen from 1:23) from Requiem for a Dream
‘Angel’ by Massive Attack
‘Teardrop’ by Massive Attack
‘Clubbed to Death’, by Rob Dougan
Anything from Moby’s Album ‘Play’
* Official according to me. P.s, these are great tracks, but horribly overused. Music Supervisors, Post Production Supervisors and Editors, we beg you to find new pieces of music to use.
Comments below! See you next time :0)