Being a music director is no small feat, as there is a multitude of tasks to consider and few people are aware of them.
The role of a director is the same as that of a ship’s captain, who has the responsibility of carrying the audience along with soulful music and an exciting story.
When it comes to diving into the intricacies of film music, there are some considerations that a director must keep in mind.
However, to make the musical part easy to understand, we have researched it for you.
Top 10 Musical Considerations for Directors
So, let us explore the top ten musical considerations for directors that will enhance the overall impression of the audience.
1. Research It Smartly
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel; all you need to do is research how the music is idealized, drafted, composed, and produced.
Keep your music research high to learn as much as possible about how to get things faster.
As a director, be inspired by existing music libraries, compositions, and published songs.
Before you sit down at the composition desk with your team, research what kind of music will fit your story and whether the audience will love it.
What kind of audience do you want to appeal to, what are the current music trends, and how can you keep up with the ever-evolving updates?
Find out answers to all these questions to have a clear picture of what you want to compose. There must be similar music compositions that you can listen to in order to gather inspiration and essential aspects.
2. Organise Your Music Library
The easiest way to get a kick start on your music composition is to organize and prioritize your music libraries so your team can get started quickly.
Music creation is a time-consuming job, and you can not expect your team to work under time pressure.
The best way to get the best music out of your team is to share your vision and tell them exactly what you need from them.
If you spell things out clearly and concisely, expect much better compositions for your film within the established timeline.
Organize your music libraries, inspirations, and raw pieces handy for the team and give them the freedom to create masterpieces in their style.
Keep an eye on whether the music is consistent with your basic narrative and overall theme. Your inputs can help your team stay on track and build an emotional bridge of music for your audience.
3. Don’t Over Improvise
The importance of music for movies is known to all, but only a few realize that over improvisation can kill all the creativity and emotional hooks of the original piece.
Once you define what you need, don’t over improvise it and keep the rawness alive in the music.
The reason behind this concept is simple — when you keep things original that is not heavily influenced by other compositions, it gets more credibility.
By over-optimizing creativity, you only increase the stress and not the productivity of your team.
Encouragement of a team is an essential trait that you need to hone as a director. The director’s job is to ensure everything is synchronized and the message is delivered to all the viewers.
4. Don’t Shy Away From Collaboration
The best musical compositions are the result of collaboration, and as a director, you cannot overlook this fact. Remember, the film and the music aren’t just yours, they belong to everyone who works with you.
If it’s your first project, there’s nothing wrong with asking your friends or industry experts for help.
If you look at the best collaborations of all time, you will find that the artist would not have achieved this highest level of musical finesse on their own.
So don’t be ashamed to showcase your raw work or ask experienced professionals for help.
Contact professional music composers, send your work, and ask what they think of your creation.
Most people will not answer, and this is a known fact, but the people who are willing to help you and work with you can greatly enhance your music compositions.
5. Study The Art In Depth
It’s fine if you do not go as deep into research as described in the point above, but you need to understand inside and out the fundamentals of the art of music upon which you create your music.
Simply put, study the basics of the art form you are using.
For example, if your music compositions are based on a pop theme, then learning the basics of pop music can help you generate many creative ideas.
Break down the artwork and reverse engineer it to understand what made it super successful and evergreen. Then find the standard hooks that you could use in your music.
Remember, how you implement this learning is the game of experience, but never stop experimenting.
Always push the boundaries of your current work and dive deep to find unique aspects from the sea of music.
6. Copy The Creativity
Most directors copy work and ideas to lay the groundwork for their project. But the real achievement is to be inspired by their creativity that captivates the audience.
As a director, it’s your job to make the story unique and original, even if the audience has seen it 50 times before.
In this scenario, there is no scope for copying storytelling and music theme ideas. However, you can always emulate the creative hooks that have created anticipation in the audience.
Remember that technique can improve with time, but the basics of getting audience applause remain the same.
Take note of the elements you admire most and ask your music team to consider them when creating rough compositions. Through a little trial and error, you’ll get a clear idea of whether or not the experiment is worth pursuing.
7. Be A Feedforward Person
Being an obnoxious director will do nothing but drain your team’s creativity faster.
For ensuring your team feels good at what they are creating, always be an approachable and feedforward-driven person.
Take feedback and turn it into value-driven feedforward for your team.
The pressure of bringing the best work will impact your team’s performance, and it doesn’t even work.
So, instead of imposing the pressure of delivering the best artwork, express appreciation for the great work your team is doing.
For example, if the whole team does not agree with your idea, don’t impose a bossy decision; instead, think it from their perspective and then make your decision.
And, if you still feel that your idea can move mountains, then consider a different approach to pitch that idea to producers and team members.
8. A Touch Of Humanity
Creating music for films is a magical experience, and several people have worked day & night to make it happen.
The touch of humanity goes both ways — while creating the music and once your art piece is live to an audience.
Regardless of the response and so-called critic reviews, always be empathetic and appreciate the work you and your team have delivered.
Both the good and the learning experiences are here to strengthen the foundation of your work.
So cut the noise and pay attention to the constructive and information-driven feedback you get from your audience.
These experiences are a goldmine for you to create more compelling art pieces in future projects.
Always ask yourself, did I learn and implemented enough from my previous experiences?
This simple question is enough to get the best out of you whenever you work on a new project.
9. Study The Core Audience
No cinema or documentary is generically made from the perspective of earning applause from all audience categories.
As a director, you know what kind of audience you are catering to, and the same thing goes with the music.
What is the core genre, what type of audience will appreciate the music work, or what region do you keep in mind will play a vital role in the success of your music.
Keeping your target audience clear of hundreds of things and avoid you being in a dilemma at the post-production stage.
Experimenting with ideas and introducing a new concept is fine, but it’s important to respect your audience and deliver what they love to watch and listen to.
10. Keep The Writer In The Loop
No matter how much work you are doing alone and how long is your to-do list, it’s essential to sit with your writer and discuss the music composition.
Then, as the writer (whether that’s you as the director or someone else) has created the story plot, they can give precise advice and even ideas to improve the music and thematic synchronization.
Keeping the writer in the loop works as a source for real-time creativity, and it helps you identify the scope for better bonding the story and the music.
Musical Considerations For Directors – Final Thoughts
Music creation is tricky, and you hone it with years of experience. But, considering these points will make most of the job easier and quicker for you and your team.
Follow these simple tips and stick to your originality while creating anything for your audience.
Hi, I’m Aanya, a freelance writer based in India with a passion for filmmaking and music composition. I have a particular interest in the powerful emotions that can be created when both are combined together.
A quick thanks to Spearheads of God for always taking the time to answer my (many) questions. Be sure to check out my other film and music related articles!