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How to Get Into Writing Music for Film and Video Games


Writing music for film is a dream for many composers, and a very tough one too. If you’re looking for tips on how to get into writing music for film and video games, check out our article below for ideas:

How to get into writing music for film

In Person

Sometimes, nothing beats real in person interaction when it comes to building relationships and consequently, your network. There are plenty of ways to get started meeting future directors and film industry professionals. Just note that this can be more difficult if not impossible depending on where you live, but give it a go and see what comes up.


Film schools are a great place to meet students pursuing a career in film, whether that be movies or commercials. You can try attending events, as well as posting on a job board in the school, with permission. A (high) paying gig might not land on your doorstep right away, but it can be great to learn how to compose for picture, build relationships and add to your showreel. You might find you write for a variety of student short films. This can also give you practice writing music for film in diverse genres.

Another potential avenue is to search for open positions as a composer’s assistant. Not only do you learn a whole range of useful skills, you might find one day that a composer gives you a composing gig if they themselves don’t have time to complete it. This could be your foot in the door.

If you already have good skills in a specific area, for example, MIDI mockups, notation or arranging, mixing and mastering, you might find a position in a production company or at a record label. This can be an excellent way to ‘prove yourself’ while at the same time meeting others in the same field. In this area, as well as becoming a composer’s assistant, you might have to begin further down the hierarchy and work your way up.

Video Games

In terms of writing music for video games, some cities have regular events where game designers meet up to create video games together in game jam sessions. They may need music and this can be your chance to meet and write for game developers. Try a Google search for indie game jams in your local area to see what might be available.

As with everything in life, it’s good to be amiable and professional. If you are easy to work with and get along well with people, it helps. A lot. So always remember to be friendly.

Through the Internet

This section could become very long – here are some of our best ideas to make a good start:


Make a list of directors you admire, especially up-and-coming ones that you have a better chance of reaching. Maybe you’ll have seen their work on YouTube or Vimeo, or from watching indie / independent movies. Craft a genuine email to send to each one, without copying and pasting the same thing to everyone. Let them know what you admire in their work, and how you think yours could complement it well. Make sure to include some examples of your music or preferably your demo reel. It might take hundreds of emails to get somewhere, so keep trying and don’t give up if you don’t hear back at first.

Last of all, animation schools are a great place to find current and future directors in need of music. You can get in touch with schools online, as Zach Heyde demonstrates in this excellent video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2C2vUtQY0A

Video Games

If you’re thinking about how to contact indie game developers, you could try looking at Google Play or Apple’s App Store, and going through each game you like (and maybe some you don’t) and writing to the creators. Another excellent avenue is Steam, where there are a large number of indie game creators. There are probably thousands of possible contacts here.

An additional option is to offer your music writing skills on forums used by developers. On indie game developer forums, you may find games which are in-development. This can be an excellent moment to get in contact as they may be looking for music while creating the game.

It may also be helpful to learn about the tech used to incorporate music and sound into games, such as Audiokinetic’s Wwise, to give you an advantage over other composers. And think about whether you can offer sound effects as well as music. For a small indie developer it might be easier if one person can supply all of their audio needs.

If you’re looking for a huge list of game developers all over the world, check out this site: https://www.gamedevmap.com.

Writing Music for Commercials

Not easy to break into in itself, but a way to work up to writing music for film through expanding connections, building experience and improving your showreel. A good start could be to send your current showreel to publishers that work in the commercials / advertising space. You could introduce yourself and let them know that you admire their work (be truthful and specific if possible). You can then say that you would like to offer your music and writing skills to their clients.

Attending a Film Scoring School

Likely to generate strong opinions both ways, although you can learn valuable skills attending a film music school, it does not guarantee you any form of employment in the industry afterward. The most important thing is to learn and get good at music theory, music production and perhaps an instrument (piano is particularly useful). It is also very advantageous to learn about orchestration, MIDI and arranging. We would personally not advise going heavily into debt to learn these things. Avoiding going into debt will give you a big head start in life.

Demo Reel (Showreel)

When considering how to get into writing music for film, it is very useful, if not essential, to have a high quality demo reel which you can present to potential clients and publishers. It’s also useful to tailor the showreel to the client you are aiming it at. For example, an advertising showreel may look very different from a showreel for horror video games. If you can, design a unique showreel for each major client you contact.

Make sure to showcase your best work (of course), while at the same time not making the showreel too long or complicated. We would also suggest leading with your very best piece to capture their attention from the start. If you don’t yet have visuals from projects you’ve worked on and have permission to use, you can create a showreel using royalty free visuals, and sync them to your best music. A pure audio showreel can work too.


As with almost all parts of the music and film industry, it’s very important not to take rejection personally. Don’t let it get you down. We have all been rejected, more times than we can remember, so know that it is an inevitable part of the journey.

Furthermore, be very careful about working for free. If you believe in your work, strongly consider charging for it so that clients feel you value your own work. If you give it away for free, it may become expected that you will continue working for free.

Overall, writing music for film is a tough career path that benefits from a healthy dose of luck. However, if you seek artistic satisfaction, rather than worldwide acclaim, you have a better chance at fulfillment. Put more bluntly, we can’t all be A-list Hollywood composers, but we can still be satisfied with our life’s work nonetheless, and make a living from it while we’re at it!

Check out and continue the discussion here on how much to charge for indie film projects: https://musiclibraryreport.com/forums/topic/composing-for-indie-projects-how-much-to-charge

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