This guest post from shesaid.so‘s Harriet Moss runs through some key advice from top female music supervisors and sync professionals at the London Sync Sessions 2016.
Earlier this year, we were delighted to collaborate with London Sync Sessions, to present a panel of amazing women working in music for film and television, at London’s Metropolis Studios. I was joined on the panel by the music supervisor and the producer of 2015’s film The Lobster: Amy Ashworth and Lee Magiday; Gemma Dempsey whose career has spanned Music Supervision, Radio Production and now Metropolis Studios and Music Publishing; and Made In Chelsea’s Music Supervisor Andrea Madden.
After discussing these amazing women’s careers, and taking a look at some clips of their work, we discussed tips they had for those wishing to start a career in music supervision or sync. Here are their suggestions:
This was the biggest tip from everyone. Be really passionate about films if that is the area you want to work in, watch them, study them, know who has music supervised and composed for them. ‘You can’t teach passion’ says Gemma Dempsey, so if you have it — use it! If you love music: know it, know all of it. Become an expert, it’s totally worth it!
Adding to this, Amy Ashworth recommended immersing yourself in the world you want to work in. There are so many conferences and meet-ups around, such as London Sync Sessions, so use them to broaden your network and get to know people working in the industry. Read blogs, books, articles: know what the latest news is in the industry you want to work in.
Never take no for an answer
Lee Magiday suggested never ‘taking no for an answer’ and really going for what you want. And if a door opens for you, make sure you run right through it!
‘Persistence’ came from all our speakers as a tip, ‘don’t be put off’ by setbacks says Andrea Madden. Be resilient as you can, and take self-confidence from that resilience each step of the way.
To delve into this a little deeper, I did what I always do when I need some careers advice — asked my Dad. Now he does happen to also be Dr. Michael A J Moss FRSC FRSA (@54Patents) in Alumni Careers at the University of Oxford, but I’m sure I’d still ask even if he wasn’t…
So you’ve got the passion, knowledge of music, network, industry news and gossip, drive and persistence. What’s next?
“When applying for a job you are only looking to do two things,
— Prove with data that you have the essential skills on the person specification (on your CV),
— AND prove you are the most enthusiastic applicant by sharing your detailed knowledge about the job and the industry, based on your extensive research (in your interview)” says Dr. Moss.
And, when it comes to your CV: “as powerful as story-telling can be, the average recruiter spends 6 seconds on a CV and there is not enough time to digest a narrative in most cases.” I totally agree, a CV that is a no more than a page long is a CV worth reading. Using bullet points and targeting your CV to the exact job you’re applying for will really help with this.
Job interviews can be terrifying, what is a good way to have confidence and make a good first impression? “Confidence comes from having prepared answers to the worst questions they can ask. So what is your biggest weakness?” says Dr. Moss. Getting to know yourself really well before an interview, and asking all of these questions on your own can absolutely help, just in case they come up. You can’t be too over prepared!
And on first impressions: be memorable, personable and interested “In the first 20 seconds of an interview, say the interviewers name, touch them and ask them a question. “So tell me, how long have you been in this office?” for example.
Our panelists at London Sync Sessions also tackled the issue of salary, when you finally have this job of your dreams. What Amy Ashworth would definitely recommend for women in the industry is ‘not being afraid to ask for more money’. So for some detailed advice on this Dr. Moss recommends reading a new blog from Caroline Gray on Glass Door: How To Ask For A Raise. Its key points are:
- Ask at a strategic time (an annual review, or after a big project)
- Be confident (attitude is infectious)
- Express gratitude (a gracious preface to an ask for more money)
- Express enthusiasm (share excitement for future goals of the company)
- Be Clear and Specific (mention a number — go for it!)
Keep an eye out for shesaid.so’s upcoming 2017 events, as we host panels, talks and workshops that tackle this topic further and offer advice. Synchtank is soon launching a Women in Sync series too! Thank you to London Sync Sessions for having us; Metropolis Studios for hosting; and our fantastic speakers: Amy Ashworth, Lee Magiday, Gemma Dempsey, and Andrea Madden. And of course, thanks Dad.
shesaid.so is a global network of women who work in the music industry that was founded in 2014. Our vision is to create an environment that supports collaboration, creativity and positive values. With over 1,400 members ranging from A&R, creatives, management, PR, music tech etc., the shesaid.so community programs monthly speaking speaking events around the world and works closely with conferences and festivals to curate top female talent.