Hard Lessons

Composers who create music for film and television need thick skin. It's a hard lesson to learn that it doesn't matter how much time you spent creating the track or how great you think it is; the only thing that matters is whether it works for the user or not.

I was once hired to create music for a short film for IBM. It was a big break for me, and I worked like crazy to create a track that had the excitement and energy the visuals and editing style needed. I was up all night getting it perfect.
Early studio days at Omni. Aaah, analog!

The next morning the producer from IBM showed up at my studio to hear the track. I played it for him and held my breath.

"It doesn't really work for me," he said. "What else have you got?"

I was devastated. I started to protest that the track was great, that it fit the picture perfectly and that I had almost killed myself to get it done. But he was unmoved.

That afternoon I created another piece that was, I thought, not nearly as good. The producer loved it. And hired me again for the next job.

Lesson learned. If the music doesn't work for the user, nothing else matters.


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