Social Composers: Perspective

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Welcome to a new series of articles exploring the expanding world of online spaces where composers can interact and share knowledge. Some of the most prominent groups and forums have radically transformed the way we use social networks. Once a useless time sink, for me Facebook has now become a never-ending source of information and a way to stay on top of the latest trends/projects/tech-related news etc..

All thanks to a few illuminated people who sensed that the time was right to leverage on the power of socials to help develop the career of countless composers.

In every chapter of this series I will ask some of these people to share with us the story of how their social spaces came to be, how they evolved in time, what they look like now and where they are taking them in the future.

For this first entry it is my pleasure to introduce composer Miriam Mayer and the wonderful world of Perspective.

Miriam Mayer – Composer

Hi Miriam, many thanks for participating in this series! I think Perspective is such an amazing tool for everyone working in the industry. Before we talk about it can you tell me about your career as a composer?

I started out as a violinist and fell in love with composing in my teens. I’m a native of Los Angeles and once I realized I wanted to compose, scoring films seemed like the natural outlet. I played violin and viola on 100s of scores and games in the studios, and got a great feel for the process. I did sketch-to-score proof-reading for John Williams for many years on scores including, “Star Wars The Phantom Menace,” and, “Saving Private Ryan.”  

Now I’m scoring indie films and commercials.  It’s the most creative, fulfilling time of my career. I scored the award-winning horror feature, BUGS: A TRILOGY, which is available on Amazon Prime; the multi-award-winning horror feature, BLOOD OF THE MUMMY; the Cannes Film Festival-premiered short film, ESCAPE; the Cannes Film Festival comedic short film, SORRY, NOT SORRY; the multi-award winning short film ESCALA; and scored the nationally recognized PSA#METOO. I’m a voting member of the EMMYS.

Enter Perspective

Can you share the story of how Perspective came to be?

In 2016, Richard Kraft was posting advice and answering questions in a Facebook group. I practiced his advice and it worked—not surprising, considering he is one of the top media composer agents in Los Angeles.  Richard left the FB group, and I didn’t want to lose his voice from the internet, so I emailed his office, offering to start a FB group for him. I’m very glad he accepted my offer! I invited Adonis Aletras, Christy Carew, and Nicolas Repetto to be fellow admins and they have been fantastic to work with, and amazing friends!

The main purpose of Perspective is to support and offer advice for media composers from real working professionals. We also encourage more women composers and composers of color. We’d like to see the composer community reflect the community at large.

Why is Perspective unique?

Perspective is unique because it is geared towards professional media composers and those who want to become professionals. We try to moderate the group so the advice reflects that. Some of the very successful composers who post there include Hans Zimmer and John Swihart.

Can I join if I am a novice and why should I?

Yes novices are welcome, and encouraged to post questions. It’s an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business—for free!

Can I join if I am an experienced composer and why should I?

Yes, experienced composers are very welcome. The media music world is vast and no one has complete mastery of it all. There is always more to learn, and of course, Perspective appreciates experienced composers’ knowledge and advice.

What should I do to maximise my experience with the group/forum and its members?

Read the rules and follow them. Read the posts, read all the comments before you comment, consider the source of the information (is it a novice or a working professional?), post your own questions, and search the group for a question you have (it may have already been answered).

What should I never do and why?

Never be rude in Perspective. It tamps down the conversation for everyone.  Never belittle a member. We have blocked only about 1% of members, and that has been the main offense.

Members

What is your role today?

I’m an admin and moderator. I post the monthly ‘Whatcha Up To’ thread where members can comment on what they’re doing. I comment, learn, and keep things civil when necessary.

Are there well know professionals among the group members and do they actively participate in discussions?

The central well-known professional in the group is Richard Kraft, founder, with Laura Engel, of Kraft-Engel Management. Kraft-Engel Management is one of the most successful media composer agencies in the world and Richard is one of the most successful agents with many Academy Award winning composers as clients. His advice has given me the key to follow my media composer dreams.

Some of my favorite comments in Perspective have been from Hans Zimmer.

Additionally, Adonis Aletras has interviewed many Perspective members, to create a “who’s who” of working professionals in the business. Adonis’s “Five Questions For..” series is an essential part of Perspective and Adonis compiled the interviews in to a book, available in Amazon.

Have you ever witnessed new professional relationships born from interactions between members in the group?

All the time! It’s a great place to meet people and make connections.  Someone might have skills and specialities that others are looking for, more experienced composers look for assistants, and people get to know one another through the online community. Perspective is also a place to post a funny composer meme, enthuse about your experience, or grieve a lost gig or opportunity. And in that way, members get to know one another. Members get to have a sense of who they might like to work with.

Beyond Perspective on Facebook

Perspective also means a website and a series of events around the world, could you tell us about both?

https://perspectiveforum.net/ is Perspective’s website. Here you can find many of the core posts and advice. I’m not involved with the events outside of Los Angeles, but there have been meet-ups and events internationally, with our blessings.

Are you a member and active on other groups/forums that you’d recommend to your colleagues?

I’m fond of Business Skills For Composers.

Before we say good bye, can you share the best tip you have read on Perspective so far?

Oh my! So many! I think the main thing I learned is that to be a successful media composer, I have to think like an entrepreneur, not an employee. It’s not just about skilful composing. It’s about customer acquisition, meeting directors, willingness to be flexible, and getting along with the boss.

Thank you so much Miriam, for all you have done with Perspective, and for sharing its amazing story with us!

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Giovanni Rotondo

Editor in Chief of Film Scoring Tips. Giovanni Rotondo is an experienced film and television composer based in London. He has scored many award winning feature films (Elijah and the Rock Creature, Orphans & Kingdoms), TV movies (Il Giudice Meschino, Il Confine), documentaries (Ilaria Alpi - L'Ultimo Viaggio) and video games (Thunderbird: The Legend Begins). More info here: giovannirotondo.com

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