05 Jun '24 - blog / Event report, Knowledge

Pitch Perfect: Unraveling the Pitching Process – BMIM Special 2024

Laura Bell is one of The Netherland’s pioneering music supervisors in film and TV in The Netherlands and internationally. During the BMIM Special last month, she led a session for composers, music supervisors, and everyone in between on the art of pitching. Laura shared her experiences on how to stand out and how online presence can reflect the essence as a composer. These are her five key takeaways:

1. Don’t lose your humanity in the pitching process

Like everyone else involved in music, music supervisors see a significant increase in AI in music. So does Laura Bell: ‘We use algorithms daily in our work as music supervisors. I’m generally very excited about it. We’ve been reading that we will be replaced eventually – and it’s a much-asked question.’ Her advice is that you must remember you’re a human, unique in your own ways. ‘I’m also very excited to push composers and music into a direction that’s even more original than it was, even more unique, and embraces the essence of who you are. Through your music, get yourself across in a short amount of time.’

2. Think about how you want to present yourself

Once you’ve found out what the essence of your musical ‘voice’ is, the next step is thinking about the preparation of presenting yourself to potential viewers. ‘People will see you if you put yourself out there with your music. They will see your face, your essence, and they’ll go and check on you later online because we’re all creepers’, she adds with a laugh. ‘Are you prepared for that?’

3. Find your audience and how to reach them

Laura Bell emphasizes the importance of knowing who you are pitching to. Are they a music supervisor or a producer? What do producers look for? Or do you pitch your music to the director? It all starts here, says Bell: ‘Prepare to answer a lot of questions from everyone you pitch to. For instance, have you thought of letting people know where you live? Subsidies or possible residencies depend on that. Besides practicalities, ask yourself if you operate within a niche and who the people working in the same niche are. Do research on those people, and learn the details before you speak with them.’

4. Off to send your pitch: think of the form

Picture this: it’s a Monday morning, and music supervisor Laura Bell has poured herself a coffee and now goes through her emails. What would she like to see? This is the answer: ‘If it’s an email from a composer, I’ll always read it. The sweet spot is an email that’s not too long, especially in this generation of TikTok and Twitter/X. Keep it short but genuine, and add a couple of links to your work.’ Bell adds the valuable advice of making your emails personal but not too spammy.

5. After the pitch, keep your contacts up to date!

Consistent branding is vital, says Laura Bell. ‘Make sure you have a well-written biography, a highly professional photo, and a nice portfolio of your work with audio samples, video clips, and project descriptions. If it’s on a personal website, even better! That saves music supervisors a lot of time.’ A colleague of Bell told her that many composers’ websites don’t have their email addresses, which is a shame when music professionals want to get in touch. So, if you don’t send your pitch via email, make sure to include all your details on your website.

If you do, follow your pitch up and go networking! Bell: ‘It’s not just a cold email that gets you where you want to go; it’s making sure that you go to relevant conferences and have discussions with people you want to work with. Obviously, you have to be good at what you do, but spiking the interest of music supervisors won’t hurt. Who knows what could happen? You could hit it off well professionally, and the creative flow might be amazing.’

Pictures by Birgit Bijl
Text by Meike Jentjes