My first book “Preparing for Scoring Sessions: A Guide for Media Composers and Their Teams” is a detailed guide to preparing to record music for media (film/TV/games) covering everything from organization, budgeting and scheduling to large scale scoring sessions, small scale remote recordings, material preparation and more. This guide covers technical, creative and practical considerations along with tips and examples based on the author’s 25 years of experience in the industry working on projects ranging from low budget independent short films, to some of the biggest blockbusters Hollywood has produced.
One of the most important things when writing music for media is being well organized. To that end there are several tools designed to help composers and their teams create spotting notes, cue lists and keep track of their projects. CueChronicle is one such solution based on FileMaker Pro for Mac OS. CueDB is another popular web based solution, which offers a basic free version as well as paid tiers that unlock additional features. There are others, and some composers have created their own solutions.
I developed my own Google Sheet template, which has worked well for me and I share freely with anyone who wants it. My SR Show Cue Manager is available via this link, and to get your own copy simply go to the File menu and select Make a copy. You’ll find several tabs. The Workflow tab is the main workspace where you can keep track of your cues. The licensing tab is designed for music supervisors who wish to track song clearances and fees. The instrumentation tab allows you to create a detailed breakdown of instrumentation per cue, which can be very useful when preparing for scoring sessions as well as for orchestrators and your music prep team. The Orchestras tab allows you to define different orchestras or ensembles for recording. The Sessions tab is designed for scheduling sessions. The Record Order Tab is designed to help you set the cue recording order of your sessions, and finally the Settings tab allows you to customize certain aspects of this google sheet. In addition you’ll find a Cue Sheet tab, which is based on the ASCAP/BMI RapidCue template, and an Instructions tab where you will find an overview of how things work.
I also developed another Google Sheet template to help budget for scoring sessions. Like my SR Show Cue Manager, you may freely use my SR Budget Estimate Template, which can be found here. Once again click the File menu and select Make a Copy to get your own copy of the template. This one is simpler and more self explanatory. The Budget tab is where you can enter all the different line items of your budget. The Settings tab offers some customization options, and there’s a Sample Budget you can browse, too.
I hope these resources prove to be useful. Feel free to reach out if you have any suggestions for improvements or want to see additional features, I keep updating these periodically when I have the time based on suggestions I get from friends and colleagues.