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Frequently Asked Questions

Bruce is frequently asked about his career and how he works as a composer. Read his response to some commonly asked questions. You can even submit your own question.

Where did you study?

"As a child I studied piano. As a young man I was playing keyboards with the Power House 19 piece Big Band and was able to learn and practice orchestration on the job, whilst also writing and producing 10 jingles a week. Practising managed to hone my orchestration skills. After composing the musical score for The Man from Snowy River, I began studying conducting with Robert Rosen. "

Where do you get your inspiration?

"I believe that inspiration comes from desperation. It's about what you can achieve under the pressure of a deadline. If it has to be done by 'tomorrow' it's quite often as simple as what feels right at the time."

Where can I buy the sheet music to Clancy's Theme?

"Clancy's Theme is available as a Digital Print Download (DPD) and can be purchased from print music stores. Just go into the store and ask them for Clancy's Theme as a DPD. The store will need to get onto AMPD's website and via their password, will be able to print it out for you.

DPDs will be available directly from the website in the near future. You will be able to purchase DPDs directly online once this happens."

What is more important in the early stages of composing, structure or creativity? When you are composing, do you begin with a musical idea first and then consider the use of form later?

"I think the most important thing when composing is 'does it feel right' and 'does it do emotionally what I'm trying to do' for that particular movie scene, or within the particular piece of music you are writing. For example does it make you feel sad, or proud, or lonely, or scared or whatever.

I think Form is important, but nowhere as important as the actual Idea & I find form generally pretty much takes care of itself after you've sorted out the idea.

This is what works best for me but not necessarily the only way to go about it."

Do you think it is possible to get work as a composer without a Music degree?

"Yes - it's quite possible to become a successful film composer without first gaining a degree. A degree won't get you a job in the music industry - Knowledge, Talent & Expertise will!! So if you've gained these attributes through Tertiary study, or through workplace experience I don't think it matters - as long as you've gained them! Personally I lean toward the 'on the job' experience - I think it's a lot more relevant."

In such a competitive industry, how can emerging composers catch a film maker's attention?

"Emerging Composers catch a film maker's attention by Composing!

If you're at college studying composition for example, you'll know people who are studying script writing/direction/audio engineering etc. The college is going to get you all to work together at some point on a 'student film'.

You will probably get to score your first short film this way and if your friend, the student Director, likes what you did he'll probably book you again - when you all graduate. Who knows he may be the next Steven Spielberg. Also all the other directing students will also have heard of your work and you may get recommended for a gig."

How do you think the advancement of technology affects film composers and the amount of work they can get?

"I think Composers have a duty to try and keep up with as much of the technology advances as possible - the only alternative to this is being able to afford to hire someone to do it for you.

In this day and age the Composer is generally expected to deliver the final score, recorded, edited & ready to include in the film!"

Is there anything you wish you had known before getting into the industry?

"No - but I must say I've had a great time finding out!"