We know that a lot of these points seem obvious once you know them, but we wanted to cover the basics as well as the advanced things.  I certainly failed to do  lot of these things when I started out, and really wished there had been a list like this out here for me.  So, here goes….

1) When compiling a showreel we think it is very important that you create one which has sound to picture, and not just audio only.  Also try to and be clear if something is a demo or a real job.  We also think it’s a good idea to use Vimeo as it is more professional, and used by most people in the media industry.. You can also back this up with compositions on Soundcloud (or similar)

2) Follow up.  Although it may sound like the basic thing in the world – when contacting Music production companies – don’t just send one email with no follow up.   Over the years we have received so many emails from hopeful composers, who never get beyond the first contact.  It’s always good to call companies and find out what they are looking for and to try and develop a relationship with people in those companies.

3) If possible go and work for the kind of company you want to get work from eg advertising agency or production company.  It may mean not starting in music straight away, but it will give you a good customer base to start with.  This is something that will reap many rewards in the following years.

4) Do some market research before you start sending examples of your work around.  Try and find out who you need to send you work to and what kind of thing they are looking for and what format they want to see it on, eg DVD, an internet link or whatever.

5) We have also found that making a specific showreel for a specific client is a really good idea – it will help you get the most relevant work to the right people.

6) We think it’s really worth while doing some research on your clients or potential clients – looking at their previous jobs and the styles they usually work with.  We find that one good place to start your search is Linked In – which also helps you see where people move to when they change jobs.

7) There are hundreds of other composers out there all trying to get work – what is your unique angle/what will get you remembered?  Did you do a great piece of work? did you send something unsusual in the mail? did you make a funny making of video for one of your tracks – try and stand out.  Marketing yourself should take at least 50% of your time…

8) Try and get as many face to face meetings with people as you can – it’s difficult to strike up any kind of relationship on email.

9)  A lot of work is based on who you know – so, if you have the chance to socialise with people in the media, this could help a lot.  It will always be more difficult for you to start out if you live in the Outer Hebrides rather than a major City like London or Manchester.

10)  Keep practising your craft – even if it means doing low paid music for student films, or low-end TV work – the more you practise the faster you get.  You will always build up a catalogue of material, which you can re-cycle for other paid work.  Also – it’s worth saying that you are busy and working on interesting projects, remixing or recording etc.

It may take a long time before you are financially self sufficient to compose full time.  You may have to supplement your income with other types of musical work.  However if you have talent and determination it can be one of the best jobs in the world.

Don’t forget to contact us if you think there are better tips for this top 10…