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Arranging and Composing

Started by Brassman388, February 05, 2020, 08:17:02 PM

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Hello once again NSM, long time no see.

I come back in this glorious light of time asking for a favor.

I have found myself picking up projects as of recent, and require some advice from those who have had similar experiences.

I could use the ol' google machine, but I find that first-hand experiences from peers tend to offer a more favorable result in terms of accuracy and personable use as to how I could approach such an experience.

That being said, here it goes:

I have been hired to do some arranging and copyist work. I have been told to mock-up a contract as the terms, timelines, payment, and so on. I have a general idea of how to handle the first two, but payment seems rather... iffy. I want to do a flat fee, but how do I calculate such a project? Time? Creativity? Time? Hourly seems simple enough when it comes to just doing the work, but disputable if I don't offer a log of some notion. A time card, per se. With a flat fee I could avoid such minute details. Anyways, I'll let the posts hash out this one.

Second order of business is I'm interested in taking on a project that a relative is currently starting. It's composing music for a short film that has been accepted into the sundance film festival. I haven't accepted, but am still interested if anyone has experience producing for film or otherwise that required you to compose by commission.

Thanks for your replies. I miss you all dearly, and hope to return one day when life hasn't kicked me in the balls.

Hope to hear from you soon.


I'm no expert in these matters, but if you are able to estimate the amount of hours it would take you to do the project you can use that to calculate your flat rate. Another option, common for copyist work, is charging by the page. This usually factors in the complexity of the music (creating a piano part would be less per page than a full orchestral score, for example). Per page is nice because you don't have to track your hours but there's still a concrete way to justify your price. It's worth looking around at websites of people in the business to see what their rates are too.

I can't speak to the second one, but I hope this gives you something to think about at least!