imagineNATIVE Industry Panel – Music in Film & TV: Guide for Filmmakers and Musicians

The 13th Annual imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival comprises a line up of thought-provoking films, New Media Art exhibits and an Industry series, which celebrate the works of Indigenous peoples who are at the forefront in film and new media.

zeeBigBang attended the Music in Film & Television panel, which connected Indigenous musicians with Indigenous filmmakers and mainstream professionals within the Film, TV and Music industries. The panel discussed the many sides of music licensing.

The panel was moderated by Denise Bolduc the Board Vice-Chair for imagineNATIVE and featured Brent Bain, manager of the Submissions Department at FACTOR; Elizabeth Klinck, Research & Copyright Clearance Specialist at E Klinck Research; Cris Derksen, Aboriginal Composer & Cellist; Paul Still, Account Executive for Film & TV at SOCAN; Jeremy von Hollen, Music Coordinator at Instinct Entertainment, and Geoff Morrison, Producer and Director at FilmCAN.

Here are the top tips we learned from these industry professionals, which can help you as a filmmaker, television producer or musician.

  • For Filmmakers and Television Producers – Get your music cleared early on!
    According to Jeremy von Hollen, who works with both musicians and filmmakers, he is often approached by filmmakers or TV producers at a very late stage in their productions. He suggests involving a music coordinator early on in your production. This way they can get a better idea of what it is you’re looking for and work with you to find the right music or composer for your project. It’s also important to note that broadcasters won’t look at your project without the music rights cleared.
  • For Musicians – Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Cris Derksen says that working in the arts can be “a crazy career where you never know what you’ll get.” She suggests stepping out of your comfort zone and taking smaller projects that you can learn and improve from so that when you work on bigger projects, you will have that knowledge to help you.
  • For Filmmakers and Television Producers – Working on a small budget? Find a composer rather than getting songs licensed for your project. Both Elizabeth Klinck and Geoff Morrison agreed that if you are working with a small budget, it’s better financially to find a composer to score your film or TV show rather than getting licenses to specific songs. Klinck suggests finding a composer early on in your project so that you can work with him/her every step of the way.
  • For both Filmmakers, TV Producers and Musicians – Transparency is key!
    All of the panelists agreed that transparency is very important, whether you’re in film, TV or music. According to Derksen, don’t be afraid to say no or walk away from a project that goes against your beliefs, both artistically or otherwise. The same goes for filmmakers and TV producers. If you disagree with the terms of a music license, then be honest about it. People appreciate the honesty.

zeeBigBang’s Takeaway: If you’re a a filmmaker or television producer, think about the music rights early on in your project – don’t leave it till the end! If you’re a musician, know your rights and limitations and don’t be afraid to walk away from a project that doesn’t work for you.

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