How to Find a Composer for Your Film

Written by: Charles Matthau

Summary: Scoring the film adds body to it, so choose a good composer.

There are a few stand out composers in the filmmaking scene who most people think of when they think about movie scores. People like John Williams, Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer are the names that come to mind when one thinks of great movie scores, but every film has a soundtrack to it and those three names aren’t making everything. Finding a composer for your film isn’t as difficult as you might think.

Be Involved

Directors should want to get hands-on with nearly every aspect of the project. It’s important to know when to let people do their work, but do actively have ideas for what you want your film to sound like. Before you meet anyone, be prepared with sound clips that illustrate emotion. Particular songs work too. Any kind of point of reference that helps you better describe your film, its emotion and the underlying themes.

Listen to Music

Invest in mp3s, CDs, vinyl or however else you decide to store your music. Just buy something you can listen to and digest it. Be prepared to write to music, drive with a different album on. Make note of artists you like, especially indie artists. Jot down particular songs and compile a good sized track list.

Watch the Film

You won’t know how your track list meshes with your movie until you actually sit down and watch it. The tracks that speak to you should guide you to the composers you should call. Explain your situation, be honest, build rapport and set a budget. Those are the keys to finding a composer.


Bio: Charles Matthau prides himself on a passion for storytelling. The Charles Matthau Company produced and directed the adaptation of Truman Capote’s “The Grass Harp.”