So you want to be in show business?

Quincy Jones is fond of saying: “your self-worth is not predicated on what others think of you”.

For all of us there must have been quite a compelling reason to push into a life of rejection, financial insecurity and having to constantly deal with people who don’t get why we do what we do.

We all have something to say…even if it’s “look at me-look at me-look at me!”(which is an essential for being a performer). It’s this drive to be heard, to be acknowledged to be appreciated that makes all the crap tolerable.

Those of us who fall into that category also want to fit in…in the worst way.

Invariably this leads to self-doubt and self-censorship of that which makes us unique. Questions like: “John Williams is rich and famous-I guess I have to be like John Williams so I too can have a vehicle to get the acknowledgement, the ears and the appreciation that I crave.


There is only one John Williams and one of you.

I’ll say it again: “there is only one John Williams and one of you.”

This approach (which we all have done at one time or the other) leads to mediocrity…and besides…if someone wants a John Williams type score- they’ll call John Williams.

The answer?

Be yourself-be different than everyone else-stand out from the crowd and…be able to deliver the goods.

We can all learn from John Williams career…but creating a persona that is not authentic to you and you alone will only get you into a long line of other people looking to be the next JW.

There will always be a place for talented, original and accomplished artists.

I don’t mean to harp on JW-I only use him as an example.



  1. soundtrackgeek

    Quincy Jones is a smart man and so are you. You two have got it, whatever “it” is. Man it must be terrifying to put yourself out there like that. You work on a score night and day for a month, incredibly hard work and then someone like me has to voice an opinion about it and perhaps dislike your work. How does it make you feel? How much do you let a critic control your life?

    From my personal experience I’ve noticed that composers do read reviews and when I give a good score, they sometimes come and thank me and when I give a bad score… well… Let’s just say that some kick back.

    What’s your experience here Chris?


    • chrisboardman

      reviews- I usually try to be even-tempered. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…though I have to say there are some mean-spirited people out there….present company excluded.

      The only time I get miffed is when critics make judgements about the working experience. Granted the final product is all they have to judge but it is unfair to the composer to make broad sweeping comments like …why did he do that? Lest we not forget-being a film composer is not unlike movers placing furniture in a living room. We (as composers) are working for film makers and ultimately it is their choice as to what the final product will be. Not us…the composer

  2. soundtrackgeek

    Yeah it’s true. You are just doing a job for someone. If the boss of a toy factory asks you the employee to make a teddy bear, you make a teddybear.

    But how deep does it go? I’m sure no director goes: “Chris, you know that flute you used for 2 seconds in the middle of “insert cue here”? That has to go”. If I make a comment of a cue as a whole, that might be unfair if I have a go at the composer, but what about the detail work? Are you working under constant supervision and have no creative say in anything?

  3. chrisboardman

    constant supervision is an understatement! It depends on who you are working for. Some directors are more picky than others about orchestration.
    At the end of the day…it’s their picture I’m only a guest.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s