Film music has a special place in terms of this relatively newly evolved landscape. Communicating and supporting a visual narrative in terms of music is a art in itself, and it takes a great deal of not only talent, but also skill and experience. One could classify a film composer as a musician, but might not necessarily classify a musician (even a brilliant on at that) as a film composer. Film composition is a finely honed skill that involves understanding of narrative, aesthetics, emotion, psychoacoustics, sound engineering science, technology on many levels, as well as musical skills such as orchestration, originality, timing and a sense of drama. A film composer must have the ability to communicate from the heart of the narrative without being bogged down my the technical challenges of the music and technology by which means she or he communicates. The other side of the coin is the ability to connect effectively and emotionally with the vision of the director in terms of the narrative and the characters of the film and the overall world that they inhabit in the course of the film. The composer should by definition become an extension of the director to tell the story in musical terms. A good film composer should be able to work under pressure and be able to handle criticism with grace and without an over inflated ego. On the other hand a good film composer should not be a push-over but bring something extra to the table that would not have been there before.
Many producers wonder why director can’t just use licensed library music for the narrative. These mediums could be effective for smaller, low budget productions, but should rather be avoided for film. Due to economic reasons producers are putting more and more pressure on directors to cut costs when it comes to sound and music. They often do this at their own peril. A lot of film music has degraded over the years because compromises were sometimes made at the wrong time for very important projects. Film music is sounding more and more similar, due to the fact that novice composers that are hired because of budget restrains. They are often put under pressure to bring the level of their music to that of A List composers. This happens especially if temp music is used by the editor. Novice composers tend to copy the styles that are native to some more established composers, since they have not yet been able to create their own “voice” and have to sacrifice originality for a low budget cheap copy of well established and legendary film scores. This has a very detrimental effect in the long run and is forcing the film music industry in the same trap as the current pop music industry where “everything sounds the same”, let alone serving the picture in an unique and perfect way these musical cues carry second hand emotions that fits the mold of the dull average. To some producers this doesn’t matters since they only see the short term financial success of the film and thereby leave the director and rest of the artistic part of the team in a compromised and regrettable frustrated position.