Super-star composers’ agent Richard Kraft provides a few key tips to maximise one’s experience with online groups/forums in this very insightful chapter of our ongoing series on networking in the social networks era.
I am very excited to introduce my guest for this story:
Hi Richard, thank you so much for being a guest in this series! Can you sort networking venues/activities from least to most useful for composers?
The biggest variable isn’t the venue/activity, but the composer’s engagement within it. A passive approach to an hour of ridesharing with J.J. Abrams would yield worse results than a proactive person spending 3 minutes with him in a bar.
In general, in person trumps online to make an impression.
Do you feel it is easier or harder for a composer to network his/her way to success now than it was before the advent of socials?
Easier for gathering information. Worse for using it as an excuse or substitute to venturing out into the world.
Can you remember what was the first film-music online forum you were active in?
Maybe something like rec.alt.soundtrack or some such thing.
How has the experience changed for you over the years?
The Perspective Facebook Forum has over 10,000 members from all career stages. Incredible information and opinions are shared and discussed there. Access to info is surreal.
In what ways do you hope the online forums scene will evolve in the next few years?
I Hope a wider range of people actively participate. Every voice adds to the tapestry.
How important is it for a composer on this day and age to know how to project the right image on social networks?
Increasingly mandatory. Media Composers are artists, and brands and entrepreneurs. Social media is the platform where so much is shared and presented and positioned. Ignoring that does not serve future composers.
What are the mistakes in “netiquette” you most often notice with composers?
Worst netiqutte is not engaging. Better to brave sticking your neck out and fumble than playing it safe lurking in the background. Recovering from a few thuds is far better that never venturing out.
Have you ever considered to start exploring the possibility of a professional relationship with a composer based on her/his activity on an online group/forum?
I signed Bear McCreary and Tom Holkenborg for many reasons, including their command of social media.
I have worked with people I have met on online groups/forums on various projects.
Aside from Perspective are there other groups/forums that you feel are a valuable resources for composers and film-music professionals?
I occasionally look at some others when they pop up on my feed. But my primary focus is Perspective.
Could you share one secret tip to get the most out of the online groups/forums experience?
My tip towards everything is to be brave, bold, kind, helpful, curious and supportive. Media music is a HIGHLY collaborative field. Practice collaboration on these forums.
These are amazing tips, thanks so much for sharing them with us!
Richard Kraft is the co-owner of Kraft-Engel Management, one of the world’s leading agencies specializing in representing film, theatre, television and video game composers, songwriters and music supervisors. Kraft-Engel clients have been nominated for 77 Academy Awards and have won 17 Academy Awards.
Richard was the director and producer of the highly acclaimed Disney’s The Little Mermaid in Concert at The Hollywood Bowl which premiered in 2016 starring Sara Bareilles, Rebel Wilson, Tituss Burgess, Darren Criss, and John Stamos and returned to The Hollywood Bowl again in 2019 starring Lea Michele, Harvey Fierstein, Cheech Marin, and Peter Gallagher. Richard has also directed and produced shows at the Hollywood Bowl including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast starring Zooey Deschanel, Rebel Wilson, Taye Diggs, Kelsey Grammer, and Jane Krakowski, La La Land, and Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory starring John Stamos, Ingrid Michaelson, Finn Wolfhard, and “Weird Al” Yankovic. He also directed Alan Menken’s one man show A Whole New World of Alan Menken and he directed and produced Evil Dead Live in Concert: A Halloween Experience which premiered at The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Richard is also the executive producer of the upcoming ABC TV special The Wonderful World of Disney: Little Mermaid Live starring Auli’i Cravalho, Queen Latifah, and Shaggy.
Richard and his partner Laura Engel are also the producers of stage productions and live film music concert experiences including Danny Elfman’s Music From The Films of Tim Burton which had its premiere at Royal Albert Hall and has toured around the world. Richard and Laura produced the Emmy Award-winning PBS broadcast Live From Lincoln Center – Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton and Disney’s Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas Live in Concert at the Hollywood Bowl which ran at the Bowl for three years starring Danny Elfman, Catherine O’Hara, Ken Page, and Paul Reubens. Additionally, they executive produced the historic Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box which received a Grammy nomination.
Prior to starting his own company in 1991, Richard was an agent at ICM and started his career working with several of his musical heroes such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein and Henry Mancini. Kraft once ran Varese Sarabande Records where he executive produced over 150 soundtrack albums. His award-winning feature-length documentary, Finding Kraftland played at over 75 film festivals around the world. He is also an über-Disney fan whose That’s From Disneyland! exhibit and auction garnered great attention and money for charity.