Composing Career Bootcamp

๐Ÿผย How I Got to Compose for Kung Fu Panda on Netflix

โญ๏ธ highlights ๐Ÿค networking Jan 16, 2024

If you’re trying to find paid work composing for media, I’m sure you’ve fallen into this trap.

You Google “film music jobs” on Google, or see an opportunity pop up on social media.

Your heart races with excitement as you imagine the thrill of working on that project. ๐Ÿคฉ

And then you read the job requirements.

Your heart sinks.

You’re not qualified. โŒ

They want:

  • Music for a genre you’ve never composed for.
  • 5+ years of previous work experience.
  • Referrals from clients you don’t have.
  • Software proficiency you’ve never touched.

At this point, you probably feel like you’ve got two options:

  1. Apply anyway.
    Create a custom portfolio and cover letter for the job, learn what you need to learn to (hopefully) get hired, and “fake it ‘til you make it”.
  2. Pass it up.
    Wait for something to show up that looks more “in your zone of expertise” (though work like that doesn’t seem to show up often, or at all).

 

But what if I told you...

You’ve been playing the game ALL WRONG?

If you’re trying to pivot and optimize for every job offer you find online, you’re going to lose.

Because there will  ALWAYS be another composer who’s spent years becoming a specialist at the very thing the hiring parties are looking for, someone willing to do the job for less money (or free), or someone with a beefier portfolio than you.

So...

The only way to win this game is to NOT PLAY.

But if applying to jobs are out, how can we find work WITHOUT the work experience/credentials to get hired?

It’s simpler than you think.

When I moved to LA in 2019, I’d been composing for indie projects for several years prior.

I had a decent portfolio, but no high-ticket clients or notable large-scale work.

While trying to network, I met Bob Lydecker, a film/TV composer who’s worked with Brian Tyler (and who coincidentally graduated from my high school 7 years before I did.)

I’d reached out to Bob on the premise of us being from the same hometown, and he agreed to meet up for a coffee.

Over the next year, I stayed connected with Bob through periodic emails and the occasional hangout.

And one day in January 2022, I opened my computer, and saw an email I’ll never forget.

It from Bob, with just one word in the subject: “Pandas.”

With a baby on the way, Bob was looking for some help scoring the upcoming Netflix series Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight.

He knew that I’d had an interest in scoring for animation (because I told him constantly), and even though I’d never scored for TV, he took a chance on me.

Over the next year, I had the privilege of working with Bob to score numerous episodes, gain  incredible work experience and credits, and get paid to do what I love.

(Here’s a scene I got to score:)

So...

What’s the takeaway here?

At this point in your career, you need someone who’s willing to take a chance on you.

That is NOT going to be someone looking to farm work through a job application.

It’ll likely be someone in your close circle who likes you/what you do, and trusts your ability to learn on the job.

For me, that was Bob.

But for you, it could be anyone.

It’s not that I “got lucky”. โŒ

Instead of applying to jobs and honing my portfolio/cover letter, I used that time to reach out and expand my network.

I spent a LONG time building relationships with good people like Bob, positioning myself as someone who was ready and available to be of help.

And one day, the “luck” I constantly positioned myself for occurred. ๐Ÿ€

(P.S. If this story resonated with you and you’re ready to start focusing on building your network, definitely consider enrolling in the **Composing Career Bootcamp.* I’ll teach you step-by-step how you can leverage the relationships you’ve built and build new ones from anywhere in the world.)*

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