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Guerrilla Film Scoring


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction: The New Scoring Landscape PART I: PREPRODUCTION 1-Education 2-Team Building 3-Before You Begin 4-Time Management PART II: PRODUCTION 5-Writing 6-Demos 7-Score Preparation 8-Preparing for Sessions 9-The Studio 10-Performing 11-Producing PART III: POSTPRODUCTION 12-Music Editing 13-Mixing and Mastering 14-Finding Work 15-Career Development 16-Music Libraries APPENDIXES A-Sample Contracts B-Composer Bios Index About the Author

About the Author

Jeremy Borum is a film composer, orchestrator, and music engraver with credits on 15 features, 2 network shows, 17 shorts, and 35 albums. An active member of the Society of Composers and Lyricists, he is a contributing author to their quarterly journal The Score.


If ever there was a perfect book for describing and navigating today's film scoring industry, Guerrilla Film Scoring is the one.... If you have ever wanted to write music for movies, pick up this book and take every word to heart. It may just be the most important guide you'll ever read. * Film Matters *
Jeremy Borum's Guerrilla Film Scoring is the first guide to provide new cutting-edge solutions for composers to deliver quality music with ever-shrinking budgets. . . .Borum and 20 of his celebrity colleagues (including Stewart Copeland, Bruce Broughton, Jack Wall, Garry Schyman, and Austin Wintory) successfully navigate the reader through today's volatile music industry. With over 300 written testimonials and a 90 minute documentary film they deliver timely solutions for education, preparation, writing and recording a score, editing, mixing and mastering, finding work, career development, and sample contracts. . . .A straightforward do-it-yourself manual, this book is helping composers at all levels to create the best-sounding scores quickly and cost effectively without jeopardizing their art. * Virtual-Strategy Magazine *
Jeremy Borum argues with electrifying clarity that a film composer today must be a warrior with a multitude of survival skills. He and his widely experienced interviewees explain the why and the how, in an essential guide for every practicing and would-be composer for visual media. -- Bill Elliott, professor, Berklee College of Music
What a great book! I've been addressing some of these subjects for several years in my USC class, but nothing as thorough and all-encompassing as Borum has accomplished. He has addressed all of the current scoring issues with forthright and honest information. This book will be an invaluable tool for our next generation of film composers. I will certainly be adding it to the top of my mandatory reading list for my class. -- Eric Schmidt, professor, USC Thornton School of Music
Your book is awesome and I cannot wait for it be to officially available. I'll assign it to all my students as a mandatory read, and will adopt many advices from it in my own artistic and professional career. -- Milica Paranosic, professor, The Juilliard School
Guerrilla Film Scoring contains a lot of practical knowledge, and it systematically breaks down the realities and challenges facing film composers today. The book includes very useful contributions from professionals, and it will certainly be useful to anybody in the field of scoring. -- Peter Neff, professor, UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
This book provides useful and timely insights into the commercial realities of Hollywood filmmaking and the evolving nature film music practice. This should be required reading for any aspiring screen composer. -- Vasco Hexel, Area Leader Composition for Screen, Royal College of Music, London
Jeremy Borum has done something quite extraordinary. He provided a highly organized and comprehensive summation of what a film composer needs to know about the industry today. This is different from the books one finds in stores, in that it is written from an insider's point of view. In that way it is unique. -- Richard Danielpour, Grammy-winning composer; professor, Manhattan School of Music and Curtis Institute of Music
This is the sort of book I've been hoping someone would write for a very long time. It's an important practical outlook on the contemporary realities of scoring, and it will become part of my curriculum immediately. -- Barry Schrader, professor, California Institute of the Arts
This book fills a needed gap. There are several good technical books about film scoring available to students. But there hasn't been-until now-a book offering detailed, sage, and keenly practical advice about how to organize one's working life as a film composer and navigate one's way towards a successful career. I highly recommend this book to every aspiring student of film composition. -- Edward Green Ph.D, professor of composition, Manhattan School of Music; Composer-in-Residence, Imagery Film, Ltd.
I was immediately impressed with the easy access to the video clips online. What a great way to provide personal insights from composers from within the text! Guerrilla Film Scoring is a timely and well-informed book, full of relevant information for composers interested in entering the ever-evolving waters of film scoring. -- Don Wilkins, Film Scoring Chair Emeritus, Berklee College of Music
Very entertaining, and gives great advice to the newcomer while assuring more established composers that they're on the "right" path. -- Patrick Kirst, professor, USC Thornton School of Music
I like this book very much. It's the only one of its kind: informative, insightful, and pulls the mask off every aspect of the industry's practices. It identifies what the composer needs to know, what he/she is up against, and addresses film composition from the vantage point of what composers face in reality: low-budget, do-it-yourself production vs. the studio block-buster scores that most of the students believe they'll be working on. They may some day, but to get there they'll be facing exactly what is described in the book. I believe it should be required reading for every student thinking of a career in scoring for media or one that has already entered the trenches. -- David McHugh, director of Music Composition for the Screen, Columbia College Chicago
I founded and direct a film scoring program at California State University, Northridge and I intend to make this remarkable book required reading for my students. Jeremy Borum nails it with pithy quotes and street-level advice for the current scoring scene. Indeed this is "guerrilla" work. It takes guts, skill, talent, preparation and the ability to continually evolve to succeed. Jeremy's book should be front and center on every commercial composer's desk. -- Elizabeth Sellers, Head and Founder of Commercial and Media Composition Program; California State University, Northridge
What a wonderful book and resource! I couldn't put it down. Guerrilla Film Scoring should be required reading for anyone thinking about a career in music or expanding an existing career. Borum offers not only practical advice, but also insights into how technology has altered the landscape of music-making in one of the most competitive and mysterious fields of the music industry. Making a living in music and knowledge of business have always been intertwined, but never more so than today. Targeted mainly to working composers, Borum's Guerrilla Film Scoring offers up practical, technological, interpersonal, and real-world business advice that should be followed by anyone in any field of music. -- Dr. John M. Laverty, professor, Syracuse University Setnor School of Music
Jeremy Borum's timely book brings practical experience into the classroom. Enhanced with valuable advice from major figures active in the industry, Guerrilla Film Scoring equips students with powerful ammunition and strategic tactics to fearlessly conquer the film, video game, and multimedia scoring worlds. -- Juan Chattah, Frost School of Music, University of Miami
Refreshingly practical and to the point, and informed by the sound advice of well-known professionals. I found this book extremely useful. -- Pablo Ortiz, professor, University of California, Davis
Jeremy Borum's book contains a wealth of practical, useful information. He has broken down the complex, challenging and often hair-pulling world of film scoring into sensible, digestible bites. The advice from the pros is very illuminating. Guerrilla Film Scoring should be in the library of any modern composer, and would be a worthwhile addition to any curriculum that deals in music for media. -- Steven Mark Kohn, director of Electronic Music Studies, The Cleveland Institute of Music
A must-read for anybody interested in composing for films or media, and suitable for academic courses as well. Veteran composers contribute multiple perspectives throughout the book. Each chapter is chock-full of practical advice and information for self-motivated composers interested in not only surviving, but thriving in the current film and media music scene. -- Joseph Klein, Chair of Composition Studies, University of North Texas
Absolutely wonderful and informative. As a professor who strives to provide a practical worldview and skill set for my students, I greatly appreciate this book and will promote it to them. Guerrilla Film Scoring offers comprehensive advice on scoring in the 21st-century marketplace. Every young composer should own this book before making a decision to pursue this career and lifestyle. -- Richard DeRosa, Director of Jazz Composition and Arranging, University of North Texas
Learn to compose a melody or structure a chord progression elsewhere. But count on this book to teach you everything else that's important regarding how to prepare yourself for a career as a film composer, as well as how to best position yourself for success. -- Joel Leach, Founder and Professor Emeritus of Music Industry Studies, California State University, Northridge
Jeremy Borum writes lucidly and with an unparalleled depth of knowledge about the current and near-future world of scoring for film, television, and video games that rivals any book on the subject. Guerrilla Film Scoring will quickly get the reader thinking about his or her professionalism in terms of running a business, producing state of the art demos and final cuts, and navigating the ins and outs of working, and finding the next paying project; all with a sobering eye on the way it really works in the 21st-century. An added bonus is hundreds of highlighted quotes from over twenty of the busiest film composers in the business, each organized around the topics Borum writes about. It's a truly meaningful and relevant manual that will inspire and give direction to any composer seeking to make a living in the world of film, television, and video games. If that is you, you must read this book NOW! -- Bruce Dudley, professor of Commercial Music, Belmont University
Guerrilla Film Scoring is the Book of Wisdom for any composer. -- David M. McKay, professor, Belmont University
All by itself, the 12-page Introduction of Guerrilla Film Scoring is worth the price of the whole book. It's a must-read for anyone contemplating a career as a film composer in today's radically new scoring landscape. Then, if the reader still wants to pursue that profession, the rest of the book is an invaluable guide to the special skills one needs to be successful at it. Jeremy Borum's book is an invaluable addition to the film scoring literature. -- David Shire, Academy Award-winning composer, The Conversation, All the President's Men, Zodiac
Jeremy Borum's book is a great nuts and bolts look at modern film scoring as told by several of today's more successful composers. It's a valuable resource to hear real practical experience at work. Highly recommended! -- Jeff Rona, composer; author, The Reel World: Scoring for Pictures
This book confronts all the many challenges that a composer may have to deal with in writing music for film and television. -- Charles Fox, author, Killing Me Softly; Grammy- and Emmy award-winning composer, Foul Play
Guerrilla Film Scoring tackles specifically low budget scoring and all possibilities to make it awesome. The book deals with the most current state of our biz, truly the bleeding edge, and can greatly benefit media composition students-especially early career, fresh out of school composers. It's brilliant. -- Penka Kouneva, composer and orchestrator, Elysium, Ender's Game, The Matrix
With practical advice and street smarts, Jeremy saves the readers YEARS of trial and error in finding their way on their musical career path. What a thorough and practical resource for composers who want to actually pay their bills with their craft. I will definitely use this book as a resource in teaching my composition classes at the university. Bravo!! -- Ellen Tift, Worldwide Groove Corporation; professor, Belmont University
Guerrilla Film Scoring will make sure you remember all the balls you need to keep in the air from the moment you get the gig until you deliver the master. With a clear, easy to read style, Jeremy Borum breaks down each step of the film scoring process. Packed with in-depth conversations with industry professionals, Guerilla Film Scoring teaches you how to juggle being an artist, a craftsman, and a businessman in a constantly evolving environment. -- Andrew Grant Jackson, author, 1965: The Most Revolutionary Year in Music and Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles' Solo Careers

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