≡ Menu

The Director’s Chair Issue #143 – June 4, 2013 (Why Music is Paramount for Filmmakers)

Free Monthly Ezine for Independent Filmmakers

June 4, 2013                Scene 14 – Take 6

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


Dear {!firstname},

You are receiving “The Director’s Chair” because you (or
someone using your email address) requested a subscription.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
list and will not be made available to other companies or
individuals. I value every Subscriber and respect your


1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. FEATURE ARTICLE: Why Music is Paramount for Filmmakers
4. Film Directing Coach Services
5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
6. Filmmaking Links of Interest
7. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information
9. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #143 of The Director’s Chair, June 4, 2013

1. The Feature Article this month is called: Missing the Music
Piece? Why Music is Paramount for Filmmakers by Cheryl B.
Engelhard. “Everyone has a relationship to music, whether they
consider themselves music fans, musical prodigies, or tone deaf.
You may remember a childhood lullaby, learning the piano, your
wedding song, or the Folger’s jingle, or you may ride the subway
every day, religiously listening to your iPod. You may use it to
drown out noise at work or at home. This, actually, is how music
first made its way into film: to drown out the horrible noise
movie projectors made.” (Read full article below.)

2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice
to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (41 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 30 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

IMPORTANT: Once the pdf file has opened on your browser, go to
File, “Save Page As” and save the file to your desktop. All links
will now work in the pdf file.

3. Feature Article: Why Music is Paramount for Filmmakers

Missing the Music Piece? Why Music is Paramount for Filmmakers
by Cheryl B. Engelhardt

Everyone has a relationship to music, whether they consider
themselves music fans, musical prodigies, or tone deaf. You may
remember a childhood lullaby, learning the piano, your wedding
song, or the Folger’s jingle, or you may ride the subway every
day, religiously listening to your iPod. You may use it to drown
out noise at work or at home. This, actually, is how music first
made its way into film: to drown out the horrible noise movie
projectors made.

Ubiquitous in our lives, yet somehow a common afterthought in
video productions, music is a key player in enriching a film,
episode or ad. When I spoke about music as a branding tool at
SXSW this year, I was told by dozens of filmmakers that they
saved music for the last minute, they didn’t budget for it (or
didn‚Äôt know what to budget for it), or they just plain didn’t
think they needed it.

Um, have you ever watched a horror film without the score? Not so
scary. A family drama with out the music? Not so dramatic. A
sitcom without a theme song, a commercial without a jingle? You
get my drift.

The gist? Music is an accessible and easy-to-use tool (I’ll get
to that later) that will increase your production value by
tenfold. Here’s why.

1)    Memorability. Smell is the number one memory sense. Hearing
is number two. Vision, number three. To skimp on music is really
missing out on a huge opportunity to add a whole new level of
recognizability to your brand/video/project.

When someone remembers a song, or the feeling of a song, that
memory invokes familiarity which leads to consistency and trust,
which ends up as consumer/viewer loyalty. Which of course turns
into views, purchasing products, sharing links, etc etc. Memory
–> Familiarity –> Consumer Loyalty –> Views/$$/Sharing.

The human being likes stability and predictability. If you have
an animated logo, it should have music. If you have a commercial,
a title sequence, anything, it should have music. And while an
entire film score may not be something that can be distinctly
remembered, like the 3 notes of the NBC ads, the feeling that the
score and film evoked is something that will last.

2)    Messaging. Having music (and I mean custom music, not a
random track an intern found in a huge library that you plopped
into a cut) sends a message to your viewers that says “I took the
time and money to make this the best product/film possible.” It
states “I care about you, our product, our image, our process and
I take pride in my work, and will do it right. I know every aspect
of this is important and you can count on us to not skimp on

If I heard those words from a filmmaker, without even seeing the
trailer, I’d go see it.

3)    Emotion. There’s no question about it. Music can
emotionally manipulate a listener (in a good way). As a composer,
I like to say I am manipulative. (My husband would agree with
this for different reasons, though. He still can’t figure out how
I got him to make the bed every morning.) My emotional
manipulation has intention, and that is to enhance the film and
the experience it gives a viewer.

Directors must be responsible for having their viewers’ emotions
in their hands. Taking care to have a composer design the music
to emphasize moments, characters, story arcs, and create tension,
anticipate drama, drop out for comedic lines, and tie together
themes will leave the viewer feeling more complete. Plus you save
the viewer a lot of work during the film.

When you have the dark ominous strings under a character, chances
are he’s up to no good. You can use music to tell that, rather
than have to write in “ooh, he’s up to no good” into your script.

4)    Ease. Having music in your project is much easier than a
lot of folks think. You don’t need to “speak” music. You merely
need to tell the composer what you want the viewer to feel. If
you tell a composer you want strings then drums, you are limiting
them. Instead, use emotion and energy terms, like “I want to
start out poignant and reflective then build energy.”

This may or may not be done with strings and drums but at least
the composer knows what the intended outcome should be. Here’s
a slimmed-down breakdown of the process of working with me as
your composer:

a)    You get a project and call me to discuss 1) timeline 2)
budget 3) creative direction. This is where you tell me what you
want your viewers/clients/consumers to feel. Any music direction
or references like links to YouTube videos of examples of pieces
you liked or didn’t like are also helpful. If it’s a film, we’ll
have a spotting session where we watch it together and chat about

b)    You send me a cut, usually as a web file.

c)    I write music and send it back to you as a movie to watch.

d)    You provide constructive feedback.

e)    I finalize music (maybe over 2 or 3 more rounds of
revisions) and send final audio file with the invoice.

f)    You process invoice and we all go on to win Clios, Webbies
and Oscars.

Regarding budget, the general rule of thumb is that approximately
10% of your overall budget should go to sound. If you plan on
having a great soundtrack to your film, budget a little more for
licensing fees (the money you pay bands or artists to use their
song in your film).

The 10% will include fees for the music supervisor, the composer,
the sound editor, and the final mixer. Don’t be afraid or
embarrassed by a small budget to call up a composer and have a
conversation about it. My fees are always negotiable depending on
a number of factors including the possibility of future
collaborations, timeline, and the length of the video.

My final note about the importance of music in films is that it
generates a real magical connection between creators. It really
is remarkable and if you don’t know what I‚Äôm talking about, call
me and we’ll do a film together. Getting the perfect score is all
about communication between the creative teams.

It’s a fine art that requires being upfront about vision,
timeline, budget, revisions, and feedback. It requires patience,
respect for each other’s art form and talent, and commitment to
an extraordinary end result. And when you see what it can do for
your film, you’ve just deepened your own relationship to music.

BIO: Cheryl B. Engelhardt is a composer and songwriter with dozens of
nationally airing commercials, documentaries, short and feature
length films and industrial videos under her belt. She is also a
composer for CollegeHumor.com.

Her website is www.cbemusic.com and you can follow her on Twitter
at www.twitter.com/cbe. Check out her commercial, film and web
composing work here http://www.cbemusic.com/#!work/c13ay and
shoot her a line if you have any questions or need a composer for
your next awesome project!

4. Film Directing Coach – Peter D. Marshall

Actors, Singers and Athletes Have Private Coaches. So Why
Not Film and TV Directors?

Hilary Swank used an acting coach to prepare for her role in
Boys Don’t Cry. She won her first Academy Award.

Singer Renee Fleming has always used a vocal coach. She has
won several Grammy Awards.

Rafael Nadal’s coach urged him on from the sidelines during
his Wimbledon tennis tournament win in 2010.

Arnold Palmer improved his game with the help of a coach. Even
Tiger Woods has had several coaches.

As a matter of fact, winners in nearly every profession
(athletes, actors, singers, business executives) know that
without the right coach, they won’t perform at their peak.

They know that without the support of an experienced and
qualified coach, they would constantly struggle to achieve

So if these top professionals in their respective fields use
coaches, why not film directors?

So why hire me as your film directing coach?

Along with my international teaching experiences and my 39
years of professional filmmaking experience (as a TV Director
and Feature 1st AD), I feel I have the necessary
qualifications to help you achieve your dreams of being a
creative and successful independent film director.

With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my Film
Directing Coaching services via Skype:

5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 6000 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.


1) InterGobal Trading Fund is a shadow operation, an agency that
serves global governments and conglomerations. At ITF, recruits
are plucked from the foster system and delivered to the ITF
campus, where their memories are erased. They spend the next 15
years being trained and programmed as time-traceling assassins.
XIII is one such assassin; however, in him, a secret memory.
Perhaps dream – perhaps not.

Written by Anne Lower and Geoff Reeves
Directed by Anne Lower

anne lower
writer / director

InterGobal Trading Fund – http://youtu.be/zwlgI1xjHeY

they live among us – http://theyliveamongus.com/the-series

Editor, ScreenwritingU Newsletter http://screenwritingu.com/

princess scribe¬†‚Äì named “screenwriting web site of the week” by
SCRIPT magazine http://princessscribe.com/

2) My name is Sasha Sibley, I’m an independent
director/writer/producer, and I recently finished working on a
short film, which was made entirely on a budget of less than
$3,000. Up until now, my projects have all been self-funded
low-budget films. As a perfectionist director who constantly
strives for quality, I often feel that I’m unable to deliver my
full vision to the screen under such constraints. With my next
short film, Cellmate, I hope to change that.

Cellmate is a dialogue-driven character analysis about Aaron, a
seemingly deviant teen spending his first night in jail, who ends
up having a discussion with his cellmate that reveals a
passionate yet troubled boy beneath his apathetic teenage facade.
The story is about this life-changing conversation and how it
leads Aaron to come to terms with his past and become a better
person for the future.

I’ve been working on the screenplay for this film for almost a
year now and I honestly believe it is the best thing that I’ve
ever written. This time I decided I wasn’t going to settle for a
mediocre production. I started a fundraising campaign on
Indiegogo.com, and I’m hoping to raise at least $25,000 to make
this movie, but I need your help!

Please if nothing else, click through to the link below, leave a
comment on the page, or like it on facebook. If you like the idea
and you like the project, I would be extremely grateful if you
sent the link around on email/facebook/twitter. You’d be helping
me, a fellow filmmaker, achieve my dream. Thanks so much!

Indiegogo Campaign: http://www.igg.me/at/Cellmate

6. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. The Philosophy of Filmmaking: Storytelling DNA

2. Steven Soderbergh:Studios Don’t Support Filmmakers over Long Haul

3. 16 Big Marketing Ideas For Filmmakers On A Small Budget

4. 6 Filmmaking Tips From Shane Black

5. 5 Things Every Filmmaker Should Know Before They Step on Set

6. How To Learn From Famous Filmmakers: Listen To Them

7. Indie Director Shoots Feature Film Entirely on iPad 2

8. The Next Steven Spielberg Uses A Smartphone

9. Directing: The Camera Language of Paul Thomas Anderson

10. Five Key Tips for Guerilla Filmmakers

7. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information

1. To Subscribe to this Ezine, send an email to
mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com with SUB as the Subject

2. To Unsubscribe to this Ezine, reply to this email with
UNSUB in the Subject line

3. To Change Your Email Address, send an email with your old
and new email address to mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

4. To Read Back Issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:

5. Share This Ezine: Remember to share this ezine by email.
Forward it to your friends and associates.

6. Reprint This Ezine: This Ezine may be reprinted with
permission. Email me at: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

9. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2000-2013
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved