Social Composers: SCOREcast London

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Welcome to chapter 4 of this series on the best online groups and forums for film music professionals. Today we will learn more about one of the most useful facebook groups for people working in the UK: SCOREcast London.

It is my pleasure to introduce my guests for this story:

Chris Nicolaides

Hi Chris, many thanks for participating in this series! Before I introduce our next guest could you talk a little bit about your career as a composer?

CN – I mainly compose music for television, and was in the fortunate position to be the lead composer for the BBC Arts department from 2007 until its recent demise.  I am now doing more library music but I still collaborate with a few of the ex BBC team working for independent production companies, though most of the work is still for the BBC!

Tristan Noon

Hi Tristan, many thanks for participating in this series! Some of our readers might know you already for the very insightful articles you wrote on FST. For anyone else would you mind tell us a bit about your work?

TN – I’m a TV composer, orchestrator, copyist and work on the music preparation stage of projects as well. I’ve had the good fortune of working on a wide array of jobs with synth pop legends like Gary Numan, to working on full orchestral sessions for LEGO: The Incredibles and (everything in between).

SCOREcast London

What is your role in the group?

CN – Scorecast London began almost 10 years ago when James Semple & Marie-Anne Fischer contacted me, Ian Livingstone and a few other working media composers, as well as a few amateur composers. We met for drinks at the Royal Festival Hall for the very first “Composium” as James called it. Shortly after this, James met Deane Ogden, the founder of Scorecast, and Scorecast London was born! Marie-Anne was the most recent director before me, and when she was promoted to a ‘global’ position within Scorecast, Deane and Marie-Anne forced me to take over as director of the London chapter, so here I am, hahah!

TN – I’m an admin, which means that I’m in charge of spotting any untoward activity/self promotion posts and jettisoning them.

Tell us a little bit about the group/forum. What are its values/mission?

CN – As it states in our ‘about’ info. “The group was formed with the express aim of avoiding competition amongst members, encouraging collaborative discussions and arranging social gatherings.” We take pride in treating each other with mutual respect, in an environment where composers of all levels are free to ask anything related to the craft of music creation and without feeling they might have asked something silly. Remember, we all had to start somewhere!

TN – Its missions are simple. To help and guide composers (and orchestrators etc) of all levels and experience. I believe it does so very well, and I’ve taken an enormous amount of information from its members advice. Most groups allow self promotion and it tends to become a bit of a free-for-all much like shark infested waters. With a ‘no self promo’ policy, the group stays united and everybody is more inclined to help each other when questions are posted which makes it an incredibly friendly group to be a part of.

Should novices join? How about experienced composers?

CN – Yes, we encourage novice members. I have personally been told by several young composers how grateful they are to have found our community, and how helpful the more experienced members have been on the forum. Of course we also welcome more experienced composers! You are never too ‘experienced’ to learn, especially the technology side of things where the younger composers excel. However, the knowledge of ‘elders’ in the group can be invaluable to the emerging composer.

TN – If you’re a novice, you should definitely join because there are so many opportunities to learn about everything from writing, to production to royalties. I guarantee that you won’t run out of things to learn about when you’re part of this group. If you’re an experienced composer, I still guarantee that you will learn various bits and pieces, but mostly it might be more useful to make friendships and enjoy the more social aspect of the group.

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

CN – Ask questions on the forum, share knowledge, and come to the Composiums!!

TN – Engage with other members and post about any questions you might have. It’s a great resource and the ScoreCast meet ups are very sociable and friendly. There’s lots to get out of it besides the music – namely, lifelong friendships.

Tell us a little bit about your members. Are there well know professionals among the group/forum’s ranks and do they participate in discussions?

CN – There are several professionals. Every day, experienced professionals are on the forum, sharing and helping. Even Hans Zimmer is a member and occasionally joins in the discussions 🙂

TN – Hans Zimmer sometimes pops up with various comments here and there. I tried to flog him my old number plate once because it read ‘NF56 HFZ’ – it’s almost his birth year and his initials which was a total coincidence.  On a more serious note, people like Dru Masters and Paul Farrer are part of the group and offer words of wisdom from time to time – two people who has had enormous success in TV music.

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

CN – Whilst I have not witnessed them myself, I know that many professional relationships have been created via Scorecast and many more will…

TN – I’ve experienced them first hand! I’ve met so many incredible and talented people through ScoreCast and I feel privileged to call them my friends.

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

CN – I am indeed a member of several, but rarely find the time to make the most of them. I would highly recommend, From DAW to Score and PERSPECTIVE: A FORUM FOR FILM, TV, AND MEDIA COMPOSERS for any budding media composers.

TNRich Aitken’s ‘Scoremix’ page is excellent to find out about mixing techniques. I’d recommend Rich on any mixing/producing gigs – a thoroughly nice chap and has a very calm way about him which everybody needs on a stressful job.

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

CN – There are SO many excellent tips I have learned from our forum that it would be wrong to single out just one. If you join Scorecast, just as in James O’Brien’s “Mystery Hour” on LBC, you will have more knowledge after your visit than before 🙂

TN – The best tip I’ve ever read was to take on certain jobs (even when you think you’re out of your depth) and worry about how you will get it done at a later date. There are always ways and you massively improve when you feel like you’re about to be swallowed up/fired.

Thank you both so much for your insightful answers!

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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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