The capstone to the Music Composition for the Screen, MFA program is the summer internship in LA, where students intern with experienced Hollywood composers. Sean Pack, graduate of the class of 2014, had the opportunity to intern with Kim Planert, who has worked such projects as Castle and The Unit.
Who did you intern with and what responsibilities did you have?
I ended up interning with Kim Planert (Castle, Missing). I assisted in uploading cues of his to his website and performed some audio editing tasks in ProTools.
How much interaction did you have with the composer?
I got to interact with Kim every day that I interned with him. Kim is a great guy and was very helpful in bringing me up to speed in his studio and in giving career advice.
Was there anything else you wish you could know before moving to LA?
I wish I would have taken a business class or two before moving to LA. Being a composer is essentially owning your own business and I feel I could have been more prepared for that aspect of this career. Also, I wish I would have learned Kontakt more in-depth. I have always been more focused on synthetic creation, but sample programming can be very powerful and is a wonderful skill to have on your resume.
What have you been up to since this summer? Any new exciting projects in the works?
My whole summer semester was an incredible learning experience of patience and reality. My internship that was originally set up fell through, but I was very fortunate that Kim was able to bring me on. While other classmates landed jobs straight out of the semester, I walked the path of the freelancer; and I embrace this outcome. It has given me time to develop my business and find ways to make my sound unique. I apply for jobs and projects every day and just like my summer internship, some deals fall through, but open up doors for other projects. I write for a music production library, am writing music for two video games (one of them I am sound designing as well), and writing music for a children’s musical. I have a game that I scored releasing in the next month and other exciting projects coming up before the end of the year. I was recently chosen to be a participant in the Society of Composers and Lyricists Mentor Program which will begin at the start of next year. When I was a prospective student, I was only told about the graduates who landed jobs with name composers straight out of school. The reality is, that doesn’t happen for everyone, and that doesn’t mean you have failed. I feel fortunate for my time at Columbia and value the relationships I have made as a result. I continue to learn as much as I can, improve myself as a composer and businessman, and meet new people in the industry.
Take a listen to Sean’s score to “Bad Magic″, an animated short in collaboration with the Columbia Animation Department. This was recorded during the summer semester in LA at Capitol Records.