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Film Music—-too late to start?

Hi, everyone. I’m 34. I’ve had to work a “normal” job (sometimes 2!) for all of my adult life. I went to school for music composition, and tried a few years breaking into the video game industry. I learned a lot from that, but ended up putting tons of effort into a few games that all entered production limbo, the developers gave up, etc. I’ve written entire soundtracks that’ll probably never see the light of day, with nothing to attach them to.
I’m giving film music a serious try, but I’ve no idea how to stand out other than to make what music I can on the weekends and try to attach it to some Creative Commons visuals. Joining this site, I hope, is a step in the right direction.
Anyone from any realm of the industry have any advice about not just finding work, but building a career in film music? Am I too old to be trying to make it in this field? I’ve watched and listened to what a lot do successful composers have to say, and it seems to come down to luck and connections; each path seemed highly unique to the composer. I’m not looking to be Bernard Hermann, just to make an OK living doing what I’m passionate about would be enough for me! So I guess I’m somewhat venting, and somewhat looking for a set of guidelines or tips so that I can direct my energy and what little time I have toward the kind of people and projects that will advance us all forward into this competitive industry.
I’d love to hear any thoughts, advice, or feelings on the matter of film composition. This site seems like it’s loaded with thoughtful and experienced people.

  • Never too late, always very hard. Most who should succeed, fail. Because there just isn't enough work.

    The whole industry is one where talent is just a ticket to try. Luck and connections are what you need, and you get them by networking. And, doing lots of stuff for free.

    Music is a "late" buy, after the money has been spent, so people with budgets tend to have been around a while and they call the people they know, who they know can deliver.

    The only PLAN for becoming a person they call is to grow with them from their no budget short days.

    But you don't know who will make it, so you do lots of free stuff for lots of people, hoping some do well.

    Treat as a serious hobby and don't worry about making money, because, looked at as a business, no would would ever start.

    Basically, keep the day job, spread the bait, hope to land the career making opportunity.

    2 days ago
  • Hey Saun,

    I'd highly recommend checking out the 'Perspective' forum on Facebook. They also have a London chapter I believe:

    Lots of encouraging advice on there, and if you join, and post your question you'll get a lot of support.

    And there's this video with specific advice for getting into indie films:

    There isn't really a given route for getting into composing; everyone's journey is different! But hopefully these links, and the many more you'll find down this rabbit hole, will start you on your way.

    Good luck!

    1 day ago
  • John Williams had his first big gig (Jaws) at 40. I'm 41 and while I do music already its mostly free or low pay. I plan on only very gradually upping that until I retire from my current job in about 12 years and get an immediate pension that I can top up with bigger fees. Alongside musical academic work. Definitely never too late. You just need a goal, a plan and good work ethic. Good luck I say.

    1 day ago
    • Thanks Huw, it’s always nice to hear about the struggles of the “Big Guys.” Williams was connected as a young guy, too, I think his dad was in with all those film guys like Alfred Newman and whatnot. He started out playing piano on some pictures! Things have changed, but I’m sure the core mechanics of appealing to the right people, right time, are still the same as ever. GL to you, too.

      1 day ago
  • What style of music do you specialise in? Which composers do you most admire? More specific details about your work would help direct it to the right people... ie are you interested in doing musicals, jazz, etc.?

    1 day ago
    • Full Orchestral, so I guess the style would be “neo-romantic” combined with “modernist.” I have the ability to do lots of electronic stuff, too. Or a combination of the two. Really just looking to do films, or maybe some of the more cinematic video games.

      1 day ago
  • 34 is still considered very young, musically.

    1 day ago