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  • abellboy

    I think it means different things to different people as I have had stems mean slightly different things depending on the context.

    I just delivered a soundtrack to a director and there was a “theremin stem” (don’t ask)….
    This allowed the mixer to used it or not depending on decisions down the road.
    In this case I gave him a “full mix” (Theremin included) and a “full mix minus Theremin” with everything except Theremin, and then a “Theremin stem”. When the sound person puts the “full mix minus Theremin” and “Theremin stem” faders to 0, it sounds EXACTLY like the “full mix”.

    I have worked with libraries that want “stems”. The stems were meant to recreate the track if all faders were set to 0 much like the above example.

    A few other libraries have asked for “alts” and are usually versions that stand alone and have no intention of being used to reconstruct the original mix. IE. “Orchestra Only Mix”, “No Choir Mix”, “No Drums Mix”.

    As for mastering. When I’m asked for alts I just apply the same mastering chain and adjust to taste. I’m not sure this is best practice, but some of those cues have been placed, and none got rejected for sounding measurably different.

    in reply to: Changing Trends in Micro/Major Sales #37860

    I don’t know if this is a trend, but I’m seeing a real lag in Libraries registering my tracks with a PRO. I don’t think I’ve ever had a label register them in under 6 months, and I’m waiting over a year for some. I take this as a “vote of confidence” that they don’t expect to make money with most tracks…. at least that’s my (possibly naïve) interpretation.

    It does feel to me that doing any kind of production music will become an increasingly smaller part of the income pie. I’m not totally convinced of this, but I’m starting to get this feeling.

    in reply to: Doing Trailer Full Time #37447

    Hi Mark,

    Thanks so much for this information!

    I really appreciate it!
    This is exactly the information I was looking for.

    I have to say that there is a level of addiction to the stuff for me!
    When the orchestration is working, the mix is dialed in, and it’s finally hitting right, there’s no feeling like it!
    I think I’m just gonna keep doing it because it’s taken me so long to put all the pieces together to even get tracks
    that get signed, that I almost feel like I would be throwing away the years it took to get to this point.

    Thanks again,

    in reply to: BMI Payout #37308

    Thanks! My wife wants me to do more RF because I’ve made more on Pond5! :)) Not sure how others feel about the Sync vs RF ratio, but it was cool seeing royalties come in from other countries even if it was just (literally) pennies.

    in reply to: BMI Payout #37299

    I was up because last year was a milestone….. My first BMI royalty!!!! Funny how that small amount of money is more exciting than the large amount of money from my day job!


    I made the same transition, and honestly my advise is to not fear the drop in income!

    I have stopped adding to those libraries and been accepted into 4 exclusive libraries. Two Trailer (my main style) and two reality TV.

    Because this is still my “side hustle”, I couldn’t do both RF and Sync/Exclusive.

    I was making a little pocket change with Pond5, but the past year has seen a tail-off of RF as I submit to the Exclusives and no BMI royalties yet.

    Keep in mind that (at least with BMI in the US) the royalties are always in arrear. So if you get signed and the music gets placed today, you won’t see BMI payment until 1/15/21 (as I write this)

    That said, and I’m sure you feel the same way, the sync fees can potentially add up to a stream of passive income at some point… At least that’s my hope! 🙂

    in reply to: Orchestral music… where to? #32739

    I’m in the same boat! I came from indie film score, and most of that stuff doesn’t translate (at least in my experience) to production music.

    I’ve only been at this a few years, but I have been able to get placed with some trailer music houses.

    That would be my suggestion. Fit your orchestral writing into a trailer format….. HOWEVER…..

    You will need to be able to produce and mix like a savage!

    I can think of very few trailers that are entirely Orchestral, they almost all have synths, effects (Booms, Brams, Swipes, Rises, etc), and production tricks to enhance the experience.

    The good news is that if you can produce to that level, and happen to have what they need at the time, you may be shocked at how open some of these companies are to at least give you a listen and even sign you.

    in reply to: Composing for indie projects – How much to charge? #27557

    Yeah, I sort of gave up on “indie horror”….

    A decade ago (and about 25 movies ago) the movies actually had “crews”, now everything is done in a slipshod way with no real story or “polish” to them.

    It seems that just like with music, people are able to put together a finished “release” (ever look at the flood of cheap indie horror on amazon prime?) without the benefit of years of private mistakes!

    I’m sort of glad I’m old! Back when I started music, there was no way to get signed unless you convinced others that you were good enough.

    I wasn’t good enough, and I didn’t get signed!… Thankfully!

    There’s a lot of music of mine on cassette that will NEVER see the light of day! (Thank God!!!!)

    I sometimes wish there was a built in “cooling off period” for newbie composers AND filmmakers!

    Now everyone has an outlet….. there is a lot of good about that.

    This is the bad part!

    in reply to: PDQ Bach – Hilarious! #24427

    Oh Wow! One of my all-time favorites! I can remember commuting to college (music major) listening to PDQ Bach while driving to class to learn the “serious stuff”!!!

    Thanks for bringing back some very happy memories 🙂

    in reply to: Turning Off The Day Gig? #24079

    I’ve been doing this for 20 years. The “day gig” at times has included periods of heavy “crunch time” and lulls of almost nothing to do. In that 20 years I’ve worked my way up to an executive level position. Based on my 20 years of a day gig I’ve noticed the following:

    1) Oddly enough, when it’s busy at work…. I get more music done!!!!
    I’m sure this is different for each person, but for me, knowing I don’t have a lot of time to devote to music makes me use the time more efficiently.

    2) Most “Days off to do music” are not as nearly as productive as I think they will be. When I specifically take days off to do something (unless it’s for a very specific task like mixing) I usually don’t get as much done a I think I will.

    I remember 3 years ago juggling 3 soundtracks in addition to the day gig. It was a BLAST. The good part is that I had the flexibility to leave work early. The funniest part is that one of those projects was a “ghost writing” project for a hollywood composer who composed exactly 10 minutes of a 90 minute movie. I did the rest of the movie because the producer couldn’t afford for the composer to do the entire film!!!!!

    The funniest part of the whole thing is that even if this started making enough to replace my income, I think at this point I am so “conditioned” to do things this way I don’t know if I would trust myself to do only this.

    Also, the more I learn about how the film business runs, I’m not sure I would trust my livelihood to it!!!

    I’m fairly new to production music, but boy is it fun! I like the fact that I can determine what I write…. it’s a freedom you don’t really get in film music.

    But I also wonder if, because of technology, it’s become a total race to the bottom that will have almost all of us bound to a day-gig.


Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 20 total)