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Reel Opportunities

Music Editor

What does a Music Editor do?

Music Editors intensify the emotional impact of a film by creating the soundtrack. They contribute mood, atmosphere, and the occasional catchy theme tune.

They usually start work while the film is being edited. They work with the Director to decide on the purpose of the music, find a style to suit the story and mark the points in the film where music is required (spotting). Music Editors then work closely with a Composer, who is usually appointed by the Director, and who composes the music using the temp score as a template. The temp score is also used by the film editors to achieve the right tempo with the cut. Music Editors often act as a bridge between the sound and picture teams.

They attend all recording sessions, helping with any revisions and design a ‘click track’ which is used to help the musicians achieve synchronization with the movie. Working with a specialist music mixer, they create different mixes, lay down the tracks and fit them exactly to the picture, ready for the final mix or dub.

What's a Music Editor good at?
  • Music

    Know the history and construction of music, compose in different styles and genres, improvise, read scores, create themes quickly under the pressure of deadlines

  • Understanding film production

    Appreciate the process and techniques of making films, know how music affects images and adds drama, have a passion for the industry

  • Collaboration

    Listen to the Director, translate the vision into music, be flexible, communicate the vision with the Editor, Composer and other musicians

  • Using software

    Produce electronic scores using technology such as ProTools, use editing and mixing software

  • Networking

    Know people in the music, film and TV industries, build up contacts, understand contracts and copyright clearances, organize, communicate and negotiate

Who does a Music Editor work with?

Within the post-production house, music editors work closely with the supervising sound editor. They also work with the following:

Music Supervisor
Music Supervisors negotiate deals and contracts, prepare budgets, and attend scheduling meetings. They oversee the composing process, ensuring that the required music is being written, listened to, and reported upon. They organize music orchestration and copying. If the music is to be published, they ensure that it’s registered properly.

Composer
Composers write original music. They write themes to pictures and deal with any revisions, collaborating with the editor. Composers prepare the score, usually on midi files, for the orchestrator and copyist. They also prepare the score’s electronic aspects for the recording sessions and deliver the score to the producer, together with all recordable media.

How do I become a Music Editor?

Music Editors are usually graduates in sound technology or music. After graduating, they may work their way up the post-production sound department, starting as runners, training as assistants, and progressing to Dubbing Mixers or Sound Editors.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: You might choose one in music, sound technology, or sound engineering.

Start composing and recording: Write your own original compositions. Collaborate with friends making videos and writing the score.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.