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Old 09-17-2007, 03:23 PM
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Allen Simpson Allen Simpson is offline
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Default Where can a composer make a living?

Here's a weird but simple question for you guys... (I've also posted this on some other boards if it looks familiar)...

I currently live in Los Angeles, but my wife absolutely HATES it here. I'm not established enough yet as a composer, so moving makes me really scared. But I don't know any other place that has the opportunities that LA has for both a composer and live keyboardist. So the question is...

Do any of you guys make a good living as a composer living anywhere besides LA, and if so, where do you live?

Any help would be greatly appreciated... especially by my wife...


Last edited by Allen Simpson; 09-17-2007 at 03:32 PM. Reason: Spelling mistake
Old 09-17-2007, 03:53 PM
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Andrew Sigler Andrew Sigler is offline
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Austin, Texas...but I think that anywhere outside of LA requires a bit more creativity in finding gigs. If you want to be a Film Composer, then you are in the right place, (though people do live elsewhere and make it work) but if you are interested in work for ad agencies, production companies, gaming, etc., then Austin is quite nice.


ps - I don't need the competition, so please disregard the above post
Old 09-17-2007, 05:04 PM
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V o n h ÷ g e n V o n h ÷ g e n is offline
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Allen, you should come to Holland and start getting payed in EURO's instead of DOLLARS, the EURO is currently at an all-time high against the DOLLAR!

I believe that if you are good enough, filmmakers will eventually come to you, no matter where you live. I just watched the making of "The Iron Giant" which shows footage of Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouile) and his entire team traveling to Europe to work with the late Michael Kamen for a considerable amount of time.

I'm not saying that it's not important to keep in touch with "the industry", but ultimately, it all comes down to the quality of your work, your flexibility, and the speed of your workflow.

You may want to check this out:
Access LA - Writing Music for Film & TV If You Don't Live in Los Angeles (Downloadable Guide)

It's a publication by The Film Music Network. I can't tell you if it's good, but at least it sounds interesting, judging from the brief summary shown on their website.

Old 09-17-2007, 06:13 PM
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The best next thing to LA for film composers might be Bollywood, Madras - check this out: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/a...ow/2300341.cms
"There should always be two layers in music." - Shostakovich
Old 09-18-2007, 10:12 AM
bbyrne bbyrne is offline
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Hi Allen,

I've lived just outside of Spokane, WA, and have been able to make a living as a composer for 25 years now.I have clients all over the world, with the majority of them located in LA. Because of the lower cost of real estate, I'm able to provide a 3500 sq foot studio with my services. If I had this building in LA, I wouldn't be able to charge enough to cover the taxes, mortgage payment, etc.

Initially my company had an LA satellite studio at Hollywood Center studios and then over in Studio City. We used to use the APT Worldnet ISDN system for real time sessions, but once T1 became affordable, clients actually preferred to just put their video files on a server, and get their audio directly back and not go to the sessions anymore. I still travel regularly for meetings, but even that isn't as much as before with the quality of IChat video.

Is there enough work in smaller markets to support a composer ? Around here I don't do any work at all, the local budgets are small to non at all. (market size 75+)

My advice- work hard to build a client list in LA while you still live there, that's where the business is-make lot's of contacts-music library companies, game companies, production houses, editorial facilities. Get some regular work going then plan your move. Or- start contacting regional music houses and send them your reel, offer to demo projects. Consider places like Seattle where software companies have need for music/sound guys. I think moving to an new area without having something lined up and trying to create business from zero could be tough.

Ultimately I agree with Hoketus- if your work is good location is unimportant- but without clients nobody eats

Good luck,


Old 09-20-2007, 12:43 PM
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Allen Simpson Allen Simpson is offline
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(Sorry it's taken me so long to reply...
I've been really sick for the last week or so, or I would have responded long before now. )


Thank you guys so much for putting so much time and effort into your responses. This is such a hard decision for us, and it means a lot to me that you would all take time to help out a stranger. It's really great. This and several other boards I've been to seem to be populated by such awesome, caring people. It makes me feel like I've found a great community!

Obviously, we're still trying to figure it all out, but I sincerely appreciate all of your words of encouragement.


Allen Simpson

PS - We'll keep you all updated!
Old 09-20-2007, 12:53 PM
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Crossingsound Crossingsound is offline
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I have no desire to live in LA, and I believe it is qutie possible to make a living without living there, though that is a great place to make contacts, make personal appearances and so forth, so if Movies are your thing, its a great place to be in for networking.

however, with the ability to work entirely over the net, its quite possible to do great work from elsewhere, i don't meet most of the poeople i work for, just over time, through friends of friends, emailing etc, found a few nice people to do work for. not doing big movie scores, but then again, not sure if I really want to get into that too much.
Old 10-02-2007, 04:22 PM
midislut midislut is offline
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listen to what he has to say

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