Networking is a huge topic and also one you hear about all the time. “Your network is everything” “This business is all about who you know”. While these statements are both very true, how do you start networking? When should you network and with whom? In this blog post, I will attempt to answer some of these questions based off of my experiences and that of my peers! As much as I would like for the job of a media composer to be just sitting at my desk writing music all day, there is a whole different side to the profession that requires just as much care and attention as the music does, or else you won’t have anyone to write music for! To get the first thing out of the way, when should you start? It is never too early to start building connections. I mentioned this group in my last blog, PERSPECTIVE: A FORUM FOR FILM, TV, AND MEDIA COMPOSERS – on Facebook. Perspective is a great place to start networking if you are serious about being a media composer and want to learn more about how the industry works. They also have a great mentorship program where members of the community volunteer their time and expertise to whoever reaches out and asks for it. There are a number of people that take part in the program from all different sides of the business from editors to social media experts. Even if you don’t reach out to people on the group, it is still a great place to interact with industry professionals and learn directly from the source! So at the very least, join that group and interact in it as much as you can to dip your foot into the pool a little! We will talk a little bit about ways to approach reaching out to people later on.
During the class of 2022’s first composer-in-residence, we had the distinct opportunity to work with The Dynamic Music Partners. (Pictured below) The Dynamic Music partners are a group of three composers who work together on projects such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Part of their residency involved a module where the composers were tasked with reaching out to 15 new people each week and starting a conversation with them. Part of the challenge of the exercise was to get people to respond and to create some sort of relationship with them. When you are first reaching out to industry professionals, it is important to make them feel at ease, so do not to ask for anything and do not send your music to them unless they specifically ask for it. Instead, try to compliment their music (or whatever role they performed in the given project) in a genuine way. It could also benefit you to ask a question about their work as well at the end of the email/message to maybe prompt a response. I reached out to a composer I liked recently and just explained that I was a big fan of the film that had just came out and the composer went to my website and listened to my music on his own. I never asked that composer to do anything like that, he simply did it on his own out of curiosity. Basically, do not expect anything in return and approach the conversation with genuine interest and sincerity. People like being treated with respect, and chances are if they feel like the only reason you reached out is to get something from them, they probably won’t respond.
To summarize, it is never too early to start reaching out to people and making connections. The best ways to form a good lasting impression with your connections is to make the interaction about them and their work and do not expect anything in return. Approach your conversations in a sincere manner and treat the people you are reaching out to with respect. If you do these things, you will have a much better chance of those people remembering you and forming a genuine connection with them.