Film Scoring for Beginners

An In-depth course that covers the basics of the art, craft, philosophy, business, relationships, process, practice, and problem-solving of film scoring. 

Chasing the Film Scoring Dream while Navigating The Real-Life Challenges of Starting out in the Indie/Low Budget World

Film music is awesome. I've been a huge fan of soundtracks ever since I was young, and I know that many, many other guys and girls out there share this dream of composing great music for amazing motion pictures.

But let's face it: while we want to start our careers on top with the big, lucrative projects, the reality is that beginners usually start at the messy bottom where the composer wears a million hats and money is scarce and so is the experience and artistry of your collaborators.  Naturally it is more fun to talk about how life goes at the top of the film composing foodchain (Hi John Williams!), and there are many resources that go into the details of scoring films at a high-level, and these resources are important, because we want to dream big and go big places. But we don't start at the end of the dream, so what are the things that beginning film composers need to know about navigating the messy stages prior to that point?

This course is intended to especially help composers problem-solve and succeed in that messy early season. 

In This Common-Sense Course You Will Learn:

  • The Role of Music in Film and the vocabulary of Film Music
  • The Role of the Film Composer
  • The Role of the Director, and how to successfully relate to and communicate with him
  • How to Build and Maintain Strong Collaborative Relationships with Filmmakers
  • About Crafting your Career Goals and Priorities
  • About Navigating Existing Job Opportunities
  • About Money, Rights, Royalties, and Contracts
  • How to Analyze the Story of the Film and Break Down its Needs
  • How to Develop the Score (Musical Pre-Production)
  • How to Compose Compelling Themes and Motives
  • How to Have a Successful Spotting Session
  • Critical Theory and Tips on Musical Placement
  • How to Create a use a Cue Sheet
  • How to Balance and Schedule your Scoring Workload
  • How to handle Sync, Timecode, and File Management
  • The Difference Between Scoring for Different Visual Mediums (Features, Docs, Commercials, Etc.)
  • The Distinctive Musical Needs of Different Genres
  • How to Plan a Cue and Score to Picture
  • How to Hit Precise Timing Notes and Use the Tempo Track
  • How to Deal With Temp Tracks and (gasp) Temp Love
  • How to Balance Drama and Emotion
  • How to Create Effective Underscore with Modern Tools
  • How to Score Action, Comedy, Suspense, and Intimate Scenes
  • How to Overcome Common Problems in the Film Scoring Process
  • How to Overcome Common Low-Budget/Indie Problems
  • How to Deal with Rejection and Redos
  • How to Survive on a Deadline
  • How to Successfully Prepare and Deliver Music Files

Included in This Course:

  • 42 lessons (10 Hours total) of Practical Video Instruction and Demonstration (lifetime access)
  • Extensive Course Notes and Written Lesson Assignments
  • Personalized Instructor Feedback on your Scene-Scoring Assignment
  • Video Files for Scoring Practice
  • Cue Sheet Template
  • MIDI files for personal Study
  • Access to Private Forte Composer Academy Facebook support and fellowship group
  • Complete Course Audio (listen in the car! yay!)
  •  Extensive Resource List for Further Learning 

  • Those with an appetite to learn and a desire to score films
  • Those who have the inner drive to fuel their own music educations
  • Those who already have the means and tools to create and produce quality music. (If You are not set up in this way, check out my course on MIDI and Virtual Instruments.)


  • Those who want a Quick Path To Success 
  • Those who want to Make an Easy Buck (lol)
  • Those who are looking for In-Depth Business or Financial Advice (although some of that is discussed)
  • Those who are looking for Legal Advice. That is what lawyers are for. 
  • John Williams. 

What Other Composers Are Saying about this Course

Christopher Siu - Composer/Arranger

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

If you're not 100% satisfied with your course purchase, let me know within 30 days to reveice a full refund. 

What's included?

Video Icon 42 videos File Icon 7 files Text Icon 4 text files


1 - Welcome and About This Course
10 mins
Film Scoring Definitions and Fundamentals
2 - The Role of Music in Film
6 mins
3 - The Vocabulary of Film Music
8 mins
4 - The Film Composer
9 mins
5 - Tips for Diversifying your Musical Output
2 mins
6 - Working With The Director
10 mins
7 - Tips for Working with Inexperienced Directors
3 mins
8 - The Other Team Members
6 mins
Career and Business Matters
9 - Career Goals and Dreams
7 mins
10 - Developing Your Career Goals
9 mins
11 - Essential Tools for the Beginning Film Composer
3 mins
12 - When You Get The Call: Rates, Interest, and Availability
11 mins
13 - Thoughts about Contracts and Agreements
Score Pre-Production
14 - Developing the Score: Breaking Down the Film
9 mins
15 - Developing The Score: Finding "The Sound"
7 mins
16 - Developing the Score: Crafting Themes and Association
15 mins
17 - The Power of Musical Placement in Film
9 mins
18 - The Spotting Session
11 mins
FCA Cue Sheet Template.xlsx
11.6 KB
732 KB
19 - Scheduling the Workload
5 mins
20 - File Management: Receiving, Importing, & Sync
12 mins
Principles of Placement in Action: The Screenwriters
21 - Breaking Down a Scene from "The Screenwriters"
27 mins
Scoring To Picture
22 - Home and Away: Principles of Musical Tension and Resolution
6 mins
23 - Getting Inspiration, Originality, and Ideas
9 mins
24 - Micky Mousing, Hit Points, and Shift Points
8 mins
25 - Structure and Arc in the Cue
9 mins
26 - Finding the Rhythm and Tempo of the Scene
4 mins
27 - Emotional Point of View
6 mins
28 - Key Choices, Modes, and Modulation
12 mins
29 - Fitting Music Around Dialogue and FX
7 mins
30 - Using World/Ethnic Instruments
3 mins
31 - Scoring Cue Entrances and Exits
6 mins
32 - How to Create Effective Underscore
29 mins
33 - How to Score an Action or Chase Scene
44 mins
34 - How to Score a Funny Scene
39 mins
35 - How to Score a Romantic or Tender Scene
50 mins
36 - Scoring the Big, Iconic Music Moments
5 mins
37 - Common Film Scoring Problems and Solutions
6 mins
Benjamin Botkin Scores a Scene from "Charade"
38 - Re-scoring Charade Part 1: Planning
21 mins
39 - Re-scoring Charade Part 2: Composing
57 mins
40 - Re-scoring Charade Part 3: Timing and Finishing
(1h 39m 52s)
Screenwriters Scoring Assignment Video and
40.6 MB
Charade Re-scored (Finished Scene)
3 mins
Charade Rescored MIDI and
31.6 MB
Finishing Up
41 - Finishing Up: File Delivery and Final Steps
6 mins
42 - Thank You (And What's Next)!
2 mins
Course Completion Feedback Survey
Complete Course Audio
Film Scoring for Beginners COURSE
656 MB
Additional Resources
Resource List for Further Learning
Video Resources for Film Scoring Practice
Great Scores and Scenes to Study
Screenwriters Brainstorming Scene
35.6 MB

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