Tim Rodier B.M. ’00 (composition and film scoring) is a Berklee grad who started his own company, Omni Music Publishing, where he publishes entire film scores for sale to study and cherish. I first became aware of Tim and his company because I had purchased the Batman score as I had been looking for bits and pieces of the score for years. Tim and I sat down to discuss his Berklee experience, his life after work, and his passion for engraving and analyzing film scores.
Sell Your Wares: The great Jon Aldrich told me in his Jingle Writing class that we need to learn how to “sell our wares.” Writing jingles would be just one tool in our box that we were selling as musicians. To make a career we needed to have various means in which we could be useful as employed musicians. Nearly everyone I have spoken to in the film business has made it by doing various jobs within it. It is important that as you graduate you keep an open mind to trying out different skill sets to get you where you need to be. Don’t be afraid to share your passions with your colleagues and mentors as they may be able to help guide you on a path as you sharpen your wares. Tim had this to say:
“Number 1, don’t take no for an answer. Number 2, to make it in this business you need to wear a lot of different hats…. I realized that I needed to have many different skill sets if I was going to survive and make money in this business. A lot of people in town will know me as someone who can do music preparation, orchestration, and transcription. From my jazz piano background at Berklee I spend a lot of time transcribing pieces and that opened doors for me as I was called upon to transcribe cues for scores. I did an entire transcription of E.T. by ear and shopped that around town. I went to Universal who owned the rights to the score and I showed them what I did and I asked them if I could come in and compare it to what John Williams had written. The person who ran the music library at the time was curious to see what I had done and they were quite impressed honestly, that someone who had that deep of a love of film scores would take the time to transcribe an entire score.”
The Rule of 3: This is a tip I was given a long time ago and it is something I subscribe to and share mainly with close friends. I find it very useful so I am going to share it here for the first time. The rule of 3 is when you are reaching out to someone via email (mainly) you don’t bother them more than 3 times. After the first email if you haven’t heard back in a few weeks (3-4) send a follow up email. If you don’t hear back after your 2nd email in a few weeks send a 3rd email. If you get nothing, move on for the time being. My added aspect of to the rule of 3 is I try to send 3 networking emails a day. You send enough emails out and someone is going to get in touch with you. Here is Tim’s advice on networking:
“Film music is a highly-specialized job to begin with so every job is going to be very competitive. With that in mind you must beat down every door. You can’t be a pest about it, but you also can’t take no for an answer or be afraid to knock on the same door several times. Composers like everyone else have families and different interests so you need to learn to give people space, but also gently remind them that you are eager and willing to take any job in the field to get your foot in the door. Send an email with a sample of your work and follow up every couple of months down the road. You do that with a few different composers and you’ll have some eggs in your basket that are going to hatch. They will hatch at different times and you don’t know which is going to be the right one, but stay on top of it. That’s the best way to get your foot in the door.”
Branching Out: During your time at Berklee I would implore you to take as many different music classes as possible. Each one will offer a different insight into your field of study even if it doesn’t seem to have a direct correlation. Some of the most useful musical skills I learned from classes that didn’t seem to connect at first, but the deeper your field of vision is in music the more versatile you will be. Here is how Tim approached his Berklee education:
“At Berklee I was a dual major, composition and film scoring. I was also a pianist—I took jazz piano lessons. One wasn’t more important than the other, everything influenced each other. I never thought of myself as just a film composer or a jazz piano player. My goal was to learn as much I could. Learn as many jazz tunes as I could, how to improvise. I was studying 19th century and 20th century composition techniques, the art of orchestration, and writing for the orchestra.”
*Score analysis reprinted with kind permission from Omni Music Publishing