So are you someone who’s thinking about whether or not to hire a freelance composer for your project? Or maybe you’re a composer yourself and are wondering how to set yourself up as someone who’s trustworthy and easy to work with?
If so, perhaps this article will offer you a few tips and ideas. I’m a freelance music composer myself (learn more about me if you like!) and have been doing this for a few years now. I create music for a variety of projects, from game music soundtracks, to films, to creating theme tunes for shows, podcast intros, outros and other jingles, and more! It’s a whirlwind of awesomeness all music-related, which I absolutely love!
If you’re thinking of working with a freelancer, you may have your concerns about how it may work and whether you can really work efficiently with them or not. It’ll be important to find someone who feels trustworthy and reliable, and who you believe is capable of delivering what you want. So here are my tips on what to look out for and what I believe makes a freelance composer easy to work with:
1. Always being fast to respond
For me, I make it a priority to always reply back to my clients as quickly as possible so that they know I’m there and are easy to communicate with. It’s hugely reassuring I think, for you to know that although your composer isn’t sitting right next to you, you can always get hold of them.
So, as a freelancer, I think it’s important to be quick to respond to clients and to be easy to communicate with. I’ve found that it shows reliability, builds trust and a stronger connection and it makes it clear that the client’s needs are important.
2. Managing expectations
I believe that it’s vital to be as clear as you can about what’s happening and when a client can expect to hear back from you. If you’re hiring a freelance composer, tell them if there’s a certain deadline required or timeline that the project and you are hoping to working to.
Otherwise if you forget, an attentive freelance composer should ask you whether your have certain deadlines in mind and should keep you apprised of their progress.
As a freelance composer, I’ve found that if you manage people’s expectations early on and throughout the composing process, it makes things clear for everyone and usually makes the process an enjoyable one for all.
3. Being transparent about what the composer can and can’t do
I find that it really helps to be upfront about what I can and can’t help with. I don’t do sound effects for example, but can create short stings, jingles or tones that can be useful for games or shows. I also don’t do lyrics or vocals or live recordings of music, and so if I think that a client may possibly be wanting or expecting this, I’ll let them know upfront that it’s not something I really specialise in or usually offer.
You may find some jack-of-all trades but in reality I’ve found that people tend to be better at certain things than others. So, be aware of this and try to find someone who is honest with you about what they can deliver you or not. Don’t be fooled by those who will say ‘yes’ to everything, as it may not always work out well.
4. Having plenty of examples of previous works
If you’re thinking about working with a freelance composer, check out their portfolio, website and music show reels. Listen to their music and see how you feel about it. It’s one of the best ways to get a sense of them in terms of what they’re capable of and what kind of work and projects they’ve been involved with before. As the hirer you must do your due diligence.
If you’re a composer looking to offer examples of your work, try to showcase your best work or a good range of what you’ve been involved in. Make them easy to find on your website and also have a clear credit list and testimonials available so that people can see what you’ve done and what others say about you.
5. They ask lots of questions
To fully understand a music brief, the context of the music for your project and to understand your needs and what you’re hoping to achieve – a freelance composer should be asking you lots of questions!
They should be interested in understanding as much as they can about your project and about what you’re looking for in the music. It’s their job to realise your vision and so if they aren’t asking you any questions, how can they deliver you anything useful?
Perhaps I take this to another level, since one of my clients testimonials seemed to mention my deep questioning before getting started, but I find that it really help me to fully understand what they’re looking for and to therefore not waste time going back and forth iterating a track that may have initially missed the mark. I ask lots of questions upfront to gather all the information I need to create music that fits, and then try my best to fulfil that vision. Amazingly, nine times out of 10, that works beautifully and I rarely get asked to make any adjustments to the music that I make.
6. A genuine interest
If you feel that your freelance composer is genuinely interested in what you’re doing, they should be great to work with! I don’t tend to take on any projects that I don’t think I’ll enjoy or have some interest in. I want to see all the games, films and shows that I create music for succeed. They’re usually really interesting, quite unique and I end up feeling ultra proud to be a part of the whole process.
By choosing to work on projects that I find interesting and really like – it means that I have a real passion for it and will be giving my clients my all. It’s not just ‘another job’ for me but is instead a real joy and something that I want to be involved in.
There are my 6 key thoughts on what I think makes a freelance composer good to work with. Hopefully there are a few ideas in there that may help you with your search for the right composer to work with. If there are other thoughts that you feel are important, feel free to share them with me, as it’s always useful to know how else we can improve the process of working as a freelancer and remotely.
If you want help with music for your project, feel free to message me or to browse my site to get to know me a bit better! I hope this has been helpful and goodluck with your project!
About the Author:
Ninichi is a freelance composer based in the UK, with clients all across the globe, from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She has created music for games, films, tv shows, commercials and more. Visit her homepage now and explore her music.