From scoring big-budget Hollywood blockbusters to writing mood-matching instrumental production music tracks that might find their way on to a reality TV show, there are a whole host of ways of carving out a living as a media composer. And if this is a world you have an interest in — or perhaps one you aspire to be part of — Adonis Aletras' book So You Want To Become A Media Composer?, which comes in paperback, Kindle and Apple Books formats, aims to provide you with an insight into what's required.
Running to 350 pages, the book (ISBN 978-1985705159, published in 2018 by DanaeDaphne Music and available via Amazon) is built from a collection of 65 mini-interviews with composers, performers and industry professionals in the media music business. The content draws together articles that originally came to life via the Facebook forum called 'Perspective: A Forum For Film, TV And Media Composers'. The group was created by a team including Adonis, Miriam Mayer and, as a guest contributor, industry heavyweight Richard Kraft (whose Kraft-Engel Management company boasts Danny Elfman, Mark Isham, Moby, BT and Captain Marvel composer Pinar Toprak amongst its clients). As part of this forum, Adonis used his connections in the industry to begin an interview series titled '5 questions for...'. The project proved hugely popular and soon became a regular feature. And as the interview collection grew, so did the idea of collating these interviews into a single place — hence this book.
The list of interviewees is impressive but also varied. The composers/performers section includes names such as John Debney, Bill Brown, Jeff Rona, Jeff Russo, John Ottman, Julie Elven, Mac Quayle, Dan Graham (who wrote an excellent 10-Part series for SOS about library music), Ryan Shore, Steve Vai, Pinar Toprak, Tina Guo and Tommy Tallarico. Within the industry sections, the likes of Richard Kraft, Eduardo Tarilonte, Dawn Soler, Robert Townson and Sarah Vovacs share their thoughts.
In every case, the questions were tailored by Adonis to the experiences of the interviewee and thus, while the style of the responses naturally differs with each individual, their responses offer a real insight into their experiences. There might be a discussion, for example, of how they got their careers started or the chain of events that led to their first work. Or the interview might be focused on a particular high-profile piece of work or project. Whatever the specifics, it is rather like listening to a personal conversation — by which I mean So You Want To Become A Media Composer? is engaging, entertaining, and always an interesting read.
OK, so if you're looking for a detailed, technical introduction to the processes of film scoring, writing game music or producing library tacks, this perhaps isn't the most obvious starting point. However, if you want to know about the mind-set required to forge a career in the media music industry, this collection of short interviews is full of valuable wisdom and insight. It also offers some hope, in that it illustrates the very many ways a career can be built within media music production. In short, Adonis Aletras' book is a great read and well worth the asking price. Oh, and while you are at it, get signed up for the 'Perspectives' Facebook forum that inspired it — it is populated by almost 10,000 members, and the community spirit is excellent!
Paperback £17.29. Kindle £7.85.
Paperback $22. Kindle $9.99.