Iain Campbell who runs the Modern Film Composer channel on YouTube has created an epic hybrid movie trailer soundtrack video tutorial for BPB readers and he has also joined us for an interview which you can read below.
Iain has already published two film soundtrack tutorials on Modern Film Composer and he is planning on adding more video tutorials to his channel in the future. He has also created a really cool PDF guide about free and affordable instruments for film music composers which you can download here (email subscription required).
We talked to Iain about the tools which are required in order to create professional sounding movie scores on a budget, online music marketplaces such as AudioJungle and different ways to sell your music online. Enjoy the reading the interview and feel free to post any additional questions you may have in the comments section below!
BPB: Hi Iain, thanks for creating such a cool video tutorial for BPB readers! Will we be seeing more video tutorials on your YouTube channel? Are you planning to cover more topics apart from cinematic composition?
Iain: Hi, yes more videos for sure! My mission is simple, I want to teach producers to make $1000+ per month selling their music online. Writing for TV, Adverts and Film used to be too difficult for home producers to consider but with new sample libraries, lower costs and increased computing power the doors are wide open. It took a long time to figure out how but I now earn more than I ever could in my 9-5 job selling my music online and have done so for 8 years with my company Ex Makina. In the first few videos and blogs I am showing you how to to create film/tv music: the software, plugins, techniques, step by step. Then we will learn the process of generating sustainable income.
BPB: In your opinion, how hard is it to learn this style of music composition? Also, is it necessary to have a deep knowledge of music theory?
Iain: Traditionally there have been 2 major barriers to entry for an aspiring TV/Film/Game composer:
1) Access to an orchestra. In the last ten years sample libraries have progressed so quickly that if you use the right software which I show you on the blog you can create very convincing orchestral scores. In fact on several film/TV sessions I have assisted on the virtual strings were so good they didn’t even use a real orchestra. For most adverts and film trailers, virtual strings are standard practice and they can sound great.
2) Ability to write for an orchestra. Learning the skill of orchestration used to be a tedious process, when I was doing my music degree at Surrey Uni we just plugged notes into Sibelius and the terrible sound libraries made it hard to envisage the final result. I break Orchestration down into the core components and teach you exactly how to craft your parts while hearing the results as you go. This accelerates the learning process greatly.
BPB: Which commercial sound libraries and/or virtual instruments would you recommend to up and coming composers and are there some free ones which you like to use?
Iain: The orchestral libraries I recommend are East-West Symphonic Orchestra by Sounds Online, Vienna Symphonic Library and the 8DIO instruments. I’ve created a definitive guide to the exact software currently being used on film and TV scores which you can get for free on our mailing list, it includes loads of high quality free software options. For the first time in history it’s actually affordable for a bedroom producer to use these orchestral libraries if you know what to look for, for example Sounds Online who make East-West just launched Composer Cloud where you can access their VST plugins for a pretty cheap monthly fee.
BPB: What would be your #1 tip for someone who is making their first steps in cinematic composition?
Iain: Become an expert at marketing. Ultimately you are creating a wonderful thing and then selling it to people: TV producers, ad agencies etc. You need to become as good at marketing as any professional advertiser. Start by reading the “1000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly to understand the heart of what marketing is about. I think this skill hasn’t been taken seriously by producers in the past so I regularly e-mail out detailed instructions on how to market your music to the right people in the right way.
BPB: How do you feel about large music marketplaces such as AudioJungle? Is it worth it to upload your music on such websites?
Iain: It can be great. If you know how to use it. I’m currently writing a blog on “hacking” AudioJungle. There are techniques to getting high sales rates on there that work very well. The first tip is to find your niche, don’t scatter gun loads of different kinds of music like most of the composers on there do. Think about the kind of music which you can make better than 95% of people and create an album of it. Become known for being the absolute expert in one genre and people will eventually come to you. Think of it like popping a balloon, if you try and do it with the palm of your hand your force is pressed over a large area and has little impact, if you use a pin the force is highly targeted on one area and creates huge impact that ripples out. This is the same advice marketing experts give to start-up companies but it transfers directly to what we do as composers.
BPB: Thanks again for the video and the interview – we’ll definitely keep an eye on your channel for more video tutorials!
Iain: Thanks, all the free things you send out are super useful and helped me loads when I couldn’t afford expensive plugins, I appreciate it! I’ll be sending my readers here often for VST plugins and sounds!