Film and TV placements are a great way to find a home for your original music- but how do you get started?
Scarlet River took a moment to ask a few questions to one of our clients, Shantell Ogden from Nashville, who started her own sync journey as an artist/songwriter and now owns a sync company a decade later called SOsync (SO-SYNC.COM).
Shantell, the buzzword in the music industry today seems to be ’sync’ - how does someone even get started in that? You first have to get the right kind of songs. I love country music and specific story lines (i.e. goodbye was painted on the wall). The problem, though, is that these types of tunes do not work for film because they compete with the pictures on the screen. You need to be thinking in terms of songs with general emotions that are not connected to specific images. While you can use imagery -it needs to be general. For example, “This is your life, this is my life, work hard play hard, one heart 50 stars” vs. "Kept some letters by his bed, dated 1962, he had underlined in red, every single, I love you.”
The second part is that you need to make sure you are ready with the music files and all the preparation work.
What does this preparation look like?
For the music side, you will need mp3's and lyric sheets, as well as high-resolution audio of either .Wav or .Aiff files of both your vocal and track versions. This is because music needs to be high-quality for film and also because sound editors may need to use portions of your audio without words. And speaking of quality, it needs to be professionally recorded and sound really good- even if it was done in a home studio.
If you've written songs with artists or other writers, make sure you also have agreement to pitch songs from everyone (including publishers) before you get out there. The worst thing ever would be to find a placement and then all of a sudden find out that your co-writer's publisher was not on-board.
How can I get my first placement? I started by doing research and going to a film festival to meet filmmakers. Like anything in the music business, it's about relationships. I stayed in touch and eventually got my first placement with one of the companies. This has led to referrals and other placements.
There are also companies that you can send your music to their catalog to be considered (Crucial, etc). Do your homework about the reputation of the company you are working with and make sure you educate yourself on the terms of the deals.
This is great Shantell. Any final words of wisdom? My philosophy has always been to 'make good' on every opportunity you're given and for heaven's sake be easy to work with! Don't send 15 emails when one will do. Don't send a hip-hop song if a brief is looking for singer/songwriter tunes. And, if you do have co-writers, pick one person to be the liaison for the film so you can collectively be effective in communication with the filmmakers. Again, this is about being easy to work with.
*Note: SOsync doesn’t accept unsolicited material but you can join the facebook group or purchase a coaching session to review your music, details are here (make link to https://so-sync.com/music-makers.)