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We answer your Screen Composer Intensive FAQs

Tip Published Wednesday 6 December 2023
Amanda Davis (DYAGULA) was the 2023 Screen Composer Intensive recipient

Applications are open for the 2024 NATSIMO Screen Composer Intensive!

We encourage all our emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander composer and songwriter members to consider applying.

In this piece we answer all your burning questions. We hope that by the end you'll apply!

1. Who should apply for the Screen Composer Intensive?

If you are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander music creator interested in learning about screen composition, you should definitely apply! Applicants do need to be 18 years old before 1 April 2024.

2. What does the Intensive involve?

Mentor Ken Francis says: “The Screen Composer Intensive gives a novice composer a chance to experience life as a working screen composer with all the insider benefits most new entrants lack; a budget for performers and equipment, the best professional studio to record & mix to picture at, a place to compose among a network of supportive professionals & studios, along with a mentor to help build skills & give pro perspective. This is a special opportunity.”

There are five key components of the Intensive:

  • 3-month mentorship with Ken Francis
  • Studio residency: You will have a studio workspace at Church Street Studios from 1 April – 30 June
  • Orchestration lessons – learn the foundations of scoring and orchestration with screen composer extraordinaire Jessica Wells of Jigsaw Music
  • Composing activity: At the beginning of the program you’ll be provided with a short film. Your activity for the duration of the Intensive will be to create a musical score for the film
  • Networking: You’ll receive an annual membership to the Australian Guild of Screen Composer, and will be invited to networking events as a member

3. Do I need to live in Sydney for 3 months?

Not necessarily. You are welcome to live anywhere, however we do recommend that most of your work and face-to-face interactions with Ken and Jessica take place in Sydney. As part of the opportunity, recipients will be provided with a Guest Suite Studio workspace at Church Street Studios, so we do encourage you to make the most of this space. Your honorarium can be used for transport, which means you may travel to and from Sydney from other places.

4. Where in Sydney does the Intensive take place?

The intensive occurs across multiple locations. You would work with both mentor Ken Francis and orchestrator Jessica Wells to find a location that is mutually suitable. The Guest Suite Studio in Church Street Studios is located in Camperdown, and is available for you to work on your composing activity. Final recordings and mix downs will occur at Trackdown Studios (Moore Park area) in the month of June 2024.

5. Do I need to have composed for the screen before?

No! This is an opportunity for musicians who are interested in learning how to compose for screen. You will be guided through this process by supportive and encouraging industry pros.

6. Do I need experience in orchestration and arrangement?

No! You will receive orchestration lessons from Jessica Wells, who will explore the foundations of scoring and orchestration. Arrangement experience in your own musical projects is fine but is not compulsory.

7. Are my costs covered? Do I get an allowance?

NATSIMO will provide an honorarium of $8,000 (covering the 3-month duration of the Intensive) which is available to the successful applicant to cover living expenses and travel costs incurred as a result of participating in the program.
Additionally, the participant will be given a discretionary budget to manage that will cover the hire of session musicians to perform on the final score for the recording process of the intensive. The participant must provide the budget to NATSIMO for approval before these specific funds are awarded.

8. What gear do I need?

NATSIMO recommends that you have a computer with the capability to run the latest version of Pro Tools and Sibelius. An audio interface is also recommended.

9. What are the key dates?

The deadline to apply is 11:59pm AEDT 21 January 2024. The NATSIMO Screen Composer Intensive is a 3-month program beginning 1 April 2024 and finishing 30 June 2024. The mentoring process with Ken Francis and Jessica Wells occurs throughout the 3-month period. Recording and mixing of the final track occurs throughout June.

10. More questions? Get in touch!

The team at NATSIMO is here to help. Get in touch at [email protected].

Dyagula on why you should apply for the 2024 NATSIMO Screen Composer Intensive