Are you looking to add a composer to your film or game production team, but you don’t have access to one locally? Thankfully, many composers are working fully remote in the aftermath of the pandemic and can compose music for your project from virtually anywhere in remote sessions.
However, finding the right person can be a daunting task, so we’ve compiled this guide to help you find and work with the perfect remote composer for your next project.
Tips for finding a remote composer
Finding a remote composer is similar to finding a local composer, except you’ll have a bigger pool of options to choose from. Here are our top tips for finding a composer that will fit well with your musicians, project, and team.
Tip #1: Identify what kind of music you’re looking for
Are you hiring a composer to create film music or a game soundtrack? Do you want a sci-fi feel, or are you looking to recreate the golden age of jazz? It’s important to identify what style and application of music you’re looking for and seek out composers that specialize in that kind of music.
Tip #2: Ask for referrals from other creatives
A great starting point in the search for someone to collaborate with is to ask for referrals from other creatives. This will not only help you get a list of names more efficiently, but you can ask people about their experiences working with these people and get a preliminary idea of whether or not someone will be a fit for remote collaborations.
Tip #3: Find options on remote work or freelancing sites
Freelance creative sites like Fiverr or Upwork can be a great resource for finding remote composers that are available for new work. However, if your friends don’t have any referrals or you’re looking for additional options, a quick search for “composer” should yield several profiles where you can preview their experience and listen to samples of their work.
Tip #4: Listen to lots of portfolio samples
Speaking of work samples, any remote composer should have a portfolio of music they’ve created available for you to listen to. It’s incredibly important to listen to these samples to determine if you like the style of music a particular composer creates.
Tip #5: Set up interviews with your top candidates
Once you’ve found a few composers that you’re drawn to, set up a phone or video interview so you can talk to them directly, explain your project, and ask them questions about their background and how they would approach composing for your work.
This is a great opportunity to get specific answers about their skills and background and see how easy it is to communicate with each person. Communication is crucial in a remote-work relationship, so feeling like you can understand each other easily is an important factor in which composer you choose.
Create together remotely, in real time
How to work with a remote composer successfully
Now that we’ve covered how to find a remote composer, let’s talk about how to work with one successfully. Like any other remote team member, every interaction with a remote composer requires the right tools to yield a successful partnership.
Tip #1: Discuss the scope of the project and your expectations up-front
When you begin any new working relationship, it’s important to set expectations as early as possible. And this isn’t a one-way street. Ask your composer about their workflow and what information they need from you to enable them to work efficiently.
Be clear about deadlines and what needs to be delivered, when, and how you expect to communicate with each other throughout the project.
Tip #2: Set up open communication channels
Make sure you have a streamlined way to share information throughout the project. This can be through text or email, but many teams now prefer to utilize collaboration and productivity software to maximize clear communication and minimize inbox clutter.
We recommend having a productivity tool like Slack or Monday.com to help you organize tasks and communicate with the team and a video conferencing platform that allows you to review new edits face-to-face and brainstorm new ideas in real-time.
Evercast is a great option for the latter solution. Evercast allows you to stream any professional software to your collaborators, and it also allows those collaborators to chat face-to-face in a virtual collaboration room. This means everyone can not only see what’s happening, but they can have live discussions about everything that’s happening on screen.
In Evercast, you can virtually screen new compositions alone or with their corresponding video assets, and give specific, time-stamped notes as you listen. You can also record your Evercast meeting and quickly jump to specific segments in the meeting depending on which note you click on to get full context around what was mentioned.
Tip #3: Have a way to share files and get approvals quickly
We highly encourage investing in a cloud-based file sharing program that allows you to send large media files back and forth easily. If possible, look for one that allows you to also track versions and approve new edits with one click, such as Filestage.
How remote work is affecting composers
Professional composer Elena Maro recently wrote a blog post about how remote work has changed the workflow for composers across the industry, noting, “Well, one year ago, Covid happened, and, as of today, the composer job is basically 100% remote. This has changed the workflow in many ways, making us switch to new strategies to communicate, meet, share.”
She mentions how critical it is to have video conferencing software that allows you to connect with the director and the talent and share video files and record their feedback. Composing is an intricate art form, and she stresses how important it is to be able to give and receive detailed notes on the arrangement and performances.
We’re also seeing a shift in the audio production world towards “virtual studios.” This is a digital space where singers, performers, mixers, and composers can meet and share ideas, record new content, and review edits. Platforms like Evercast are providing creative teams with this option so they can work more effectively with full-time creatives all over the globe, since only an internet connection is required.
Traditional recording studios are certainly not going to end up on an endangered species list anytime soon; however, we believe that virtual “rooms” will become an important alternative to have available to creatives in addition to in-person studio rentals.
When talent is spread out in different locations, you would now have the option to join together in a digital space and use remote recording software to recreate the feeling and features of in-person recording.
Hopefully, this technology will open up an entirely new world of collaborative possibilities for creative teams, especially composers, and allow new opportunities to work with collaborators that would not have been possible before.