The composer experience of receiving notes on their work I'm sure varies wildly from production to production. I wanted to - hopefully - provide a fair view of what notes are about.
When I first received feedback on something I'd done, a mixture of flattery, vexation and panic started in the pit of my stomach. Flattery because someone had taken the time to review my work, vexation because how could they not see that I had understood the brief and provided my best effort, and panic because I had PROVIDED MY BEST EFFORT! HOW DO I BETTER MY BEST EFFORT??
After immediately hitting reply to the email, I paused, stood up and walked away, made a cuppa and thought it through. Why would I be hired, only to be told my work wasn't good enough? After re-reading the notes of course, I realised that wasn't what I was being told at all; it was just a natural state caused by me from not being used to feedback.
You see, when you get hired for a production you become part of a big, complicated team. The team has to tell a story, so it has to agree on the mood of each scene, the overall feel of the show, the importance of dialogue over music or vice versa, and many other things. It's complicated.
What I realised very quickly was that when I give my best shot at a scene or an episode it's very important for the people who have invested so much time and love into creating the story and the visuals to ensure the music is helping the story telling.
I also realised was that I was helping to tell someone else's story, not the other way around. 9 times out of 10 the second pass at an episode - with some tweaks made via notes from the production team - flows better than the first.
I've come to love receiving notes on my work. How nice it is to have a team of people thinking of ways to make everything sound and look better (in my experience - I would love to know what your experiences have been like). Oh, by the way, if you are a producer or a note-giver, us composers like to hear about the bits you like too. I've been lucky in this regard, it's a real boost to read 'very nice build', or 'I enjoyed this scene'. It gives the 'something more ominous here' and 'the music is fighting the dialogue' more context. And who doesn't like a compliment eh?
What are your experiences of receiving feedback on your work?
Posts by Gareth Davies.