How to Craft the Perfect Soundtrack for Your Film

Every film needs a soundtrack. It adds a layer of emotional engagement that simply wouldn’t exist without it. This article is going to go over how you can choose the perfect soundtrack for your film to fully engage the emotions of those who watch it.

The Functions of Music in Film

One of the main functions of music is to enhance the emotions people feel when they watch it. Music carries with it an emotional tone that you don’t get with just visuals by themselves.

Music can also determine the pace of your film. Depending on how your film is edited, your music can be perceived in different ways. You want to make sure the soundtrack in your film matches the pace, tempo, or rhythm.

There are other functions of music in film, but these are the two biggest ones.

For a more comprehensive list of other functions music has in film check out my article: “20 Functions of Music in Film

Choosing the Perfect Soundtrack for Your Film

You can choose the perfect soundtrack for your film while within your budget. However, you need to find the person right for your film. This means finding a great composer.

When you are looking for the right composer, it is akin to casting a lead role in your film. They have to be the right person for the part. Here is how you can find out who is the best for the role.

  • Take several different types of music and load them into your film editing software.

  • Place the music into the film, getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

When you lay music directly up against your film, you get a real sense of what a particular style would sound like. This can help you avoid costly mistakes later on.

When you are looking for the perfect sound that amplifies the atmosphere you are looking to create with your film, you will want to do the following:

  • Experiment with different kinds of music, including the not-so-obvious ones. Don’t always go with what you would default to using. For example, if there is a scene where someone is dying, instead of going sad and sweet, you can go with something lighter and more upbeat, to bring out the emotions of optimism and hope.

  • Give the music your undivided attention. Really listen to every instrument within the songs. Feel into the melodies. Learn some basic vocabulary about instruments and music styles to more easily describe the music.

  • Be realistic with your film soundtrack. If you have a low-budget film, it doesn’t make sense to get a 20-piece musical ensemble. Dedicate least 5%-10% of your total film budget for the music side of things.

After you have done all of this, you need to find music that can match what you are looking for. This is relatively easy, especially today. With plenty of licensed music libraries and composers, it’s harder to narrow the field down more than anything. If choosing a composer, find a few potential candidates for the role that you want to speak with. If choosing a library, find the one that has the most options for the kind of emotions you are looking to emphasize.

If you go the composer route, once you have found your candidates, set up a meeting, either in person or on a video call. Show them your film and ask them to show you some music samples they feel would be a good fit. They will have valuable feedback on your film, so keep an open mind when it comes to the music soundtrack. If you are using a music library, you won’t get this sort of valuable feedback, so you will have to figure things out on your own a bit more.

You will know when you found the perfect soundtrack to your film. The music will blend in seamlessly with your film, which is exactly what you wanted. When you follow these steps, you can be sure to add a dimension to your film that will engage people in a deeply emotional level and be something they truly loved.

What do you feel is the perfect soundtrack to your film?