so sick of hearing music from Pearl Harbor, Armageddon,
or Braveheart used in micro-budget films. I guarantee
you didnt get the rights to that U2 song, either.
I now stop watching micro budget films if the music is obviously
taken. Not only is it stealing, but it's also unoriginal.
No, your movie does not fall under educational use
nor do you want it to. You want anyone and everyone to watch
your movie. Educational use has absolutely nothing
to do with whether or not you make money on your movie (why
does everyone think this?). It has to do with personal education.
For a movie to be for educational use, only the people in
the class that you made the piece for can watch it. You
couldnt even screen your movie in your school auditorium
with only teachers and students in the audience. If you
are like me, eventually you hope to fully financially support
yourself with your intellectual property. You dont
want people stealing from you. Stop stealing from other
securing the rights to popular songs is expensive. To use
any song, you need to obtain two different licenses: The
Master License and the Synchronization (Sync) License. The
Sync license grants permission to use a song's composition
(all the lyrics and the composed music)--this is often owned
by the performer/composer. The Master license is giving
permission to use a particular recording of that song in
your movie--often the recording label/company owns this.
And it is often cheaper/easier to get the sync rights to
a song than the master rights to the song. This is why so
many songs in movies are covers of the original.
of this is David Lynch's Blue Velvet. When they tried
to get the rights to the title song, "Blue Velvet"
by Bobby Vinton, they discovered it was cheaper to get the
sync rights from him and completely re-record the song with
him singing than to get the master rights from his then
record label, Epic. They did this, spending thousands of
dollars, but Lynch didn't like the way he sang it (it was
almost 35 years after the first recording and he wasn't
as good). Lynch went back and asked for more money to buy
the Master rights from Epic. So, lots of money was wasted
and the evil recording label won in the end. This gives
you an idea on how much master rights can cost. If Epic
is charging that much for Bobby Vintons music, how
much do you think a Britney Spears' song costs to license?
is a shortcut to the audiences emotional heartstrings.
It can set the mood in a film, foreshadow something to come,
or reinforce a reoccurring theme in the movie. More importantly
from a credibility standpoint, it is yet another thing thats
expected by todays movie-going audiences. You need
music in your movie. If you dont have music, there
had better be a real good reason why. Not knowing anybody
who makes music or not having the financial resources are
not excuses. Just agree that your movie needs music.
are two types of music in movies: music with a motivated
source and music without a motivated source. Music with
a motivated source is music coming from a radio, music in
a bar, a choir singing in a church, the car radio, and music
at a party. It is any music the audience should assume would
be there if the scene were a real place. Music without a
motivated source is music that can only exist in a movie.
In the final confrontation of The Good, the Bad, and
the Ugly, Sergio Leones masterful music probably
would not be playing from loudspeakers on Main Street in
a town like that if you were to visit it, right? These are
the two kinds of music in movies (according to me).
the movie" is when you watch the movie to decide when
and where to have music. First thing I do is figure out
where in the movie to put motivated source music. This should
already be known, so just get it on paper. Now figure out
where non-motivated music should go. Music is one of those
things that can be overdone (think Sally Fields' Movie of
the Week), but its important to use music as a tool
to reinforce the emotion and tone of the storyline in the
movie. Decide if every time the beautiful leading lady appears,
sexy music plays. Or when you cut to the villain in his
lair, evil music plays. When the main character finally
realizes that there is no Santa Claus, a music cue could
reinforce that revelation. In a thriller, if theres
music in the entire movie and suddenly the music stops,
something is going to happen. These are all cliché,
but fine if not overdone. Now that you know where you need
music and roughly what type of music, its time to
get the music.
first step in finding music for micro-budget movies is normally
finding popular music that you like for the movie. No, you
wont be able to use it in the final movie, but it
is a great reference when discussing music with composers,
musicians, or anyone that might possibly give you music
to use. Just don't get too attached to the popular music
you choose. Now find a composer that will work very cheap
or free. New composers are just as anxious to score a movie,
as you are to have your movie scored. You get a great score
and they get noticed. There are many, many onlinego
to various filmmaking forums. You can also contact a college
with a music department. Or, go to a music instrument store
and ask if anyones interested in scoring a movie.
There are more composers/musicians out there than filmmakers!
Dont select the first composer you find, do some searching
and communicate (phone/e-mail) with these people. Listen
to work theyve done before. Talk about the popular
music you chose for each cue and why you chose it. Discuss
technical limitations (e.g. live recording or synthesizer,
drums or drum machine). The composer will have a big influence
on the final movie, so make sure its an influence
that you, the moviemaker, are happy with. Although its
important to use similar music to reinforce the movies tone
and mood, dont be afraid to use a variety of composers
and musicians. For example, get one composer to score all
the unmotivated music, but find a local rock band song to
use at the party scene as background music. Then find a
jazz saxophonist to record a small song for the scene in
a seedy pub.
any of these wonderful, giving people, get good contracts
signed. Give the composer/musicians whatever credit they
want. Make sure theyre financially well taken care
of if you make money with your film, but also make sure
you have full rights to use all the music in the movie as
its synchronized in the movie, regardless of exhibition
format or distribution medium. If someones stupid
enough to buy or distribute your film, you dont want
to have to renegotiate with the musicians. Its best
to work all the legal stuff out while everyones still
a starving artist. As with anyone else working on your film,
communication is important. If you get some music back that
isnt right, discuss making changes. If the music is
perfect and better than you expected, call the composer
and tell them (theyve worked hard on it!). However,
if things arent working the way you want, you always
have the option to start over with another composer (but
remember the composer can say the same thing to you).
Internet is a great tool because it allows people to be
anywhere in the world and collaborate. If the composer lives
in South Africa, send her a compressed version of your movie
to score to. Then, she can send you music cues via e-mail
or any other file transfer. It's conceivable you never meet
the composer face-to-face. Doncha love technology?
it's time for the mix.