Today we’re having a look at Trailer Music Academy’s new online course Trailer Music Basics: a course designed to teach you the essentials of building a successful and sustainable career as a music producer for trailers. The course is hosted by TMA’s founder Christian Baczyk and encompasses 11 chapters on how to gain a foothold in the highly-competitive trailer music business.
I had the chance to enroll in the course and will share with you what I learned from Trailer Music Basics and who it is designed for.
Just like its predecessor course Trailer Music Mastery, which we also reviewed on the blog, Trailer Music Basics is hosted on the e-learning platform Teachable. The course’s content is neatly structured into 11 chapters whose contents are presented in easy-to-grasp text lessons. Depending on how thoroughly you’re working through the lessons and to what extent you take them into practice, completing the online course can take anywhere between a day and several weeks.
Here’s an overview of the chapters included in Trailer Music Basics:
- Facebook Community
- Questions & Answers
- Track Feedback
- Trailer Music Decoded – The Essentials
- How To Make Money – The Upward Spiral System
- Productivity Tips
- Mastery Of The Mind
- Personal Recommendations
- Closing Words
As you might have noticed, there aren’t any lessons on trailer track creation or music mixing for example and this is what sets this course apart from other trailer music production courses available. Rather than giving you practical lessons on how to compose or mix music, Trailer Music Basics approaches the topic from a personal development standpoint. You learn how you can improve yourself as both an artist and an entrepreneur, taking into account both the structure of today’s trailer music business and the importance of establishing a healthy way of working. This includes setting up an organized working situation, dealing with failure, or giving your mind and body room to recover.
Trailer Music Basics can be roughly divided into two core topics: “how trailer music works” and “how to be more productive“. Both topics intertwine here and there, since learning from one sector can help you get better in the other.
In the following sections, I will quickly go over the individual chapters, trying to summarize what they’re about and what you can learn from each one. Before I do, though, I would like to point out a very interesting personal story that ignited the spark for the creation of this course.
BURNOUT AS A CHANCE
The first four or five chapters can be seen as an introduction to the course. You get to know the host and tutor Christian Baczyk, who successfully ran a trailer music label before suffering from severe burnout syndrome due to work-related pressure and stress. He introduces you to his former lifestyle, which was unhealthy for both body and mind and exhausted him to the point of paralyzation.
Even though I was working harder than ever before, my productivity started to decline. […] I woke up feeling completely exhausted. I had no more energy left and could barely open my eyes, let alone move my body.Christian Baczyk on suffering from burnout syndrome (Trailer Music Basics)
Fortunately, Christian found a way of pulling himself out of misery by completely changing his way of living and by re-structuring his goals in life step-by-step. He studied different ways of productivity and what it takes to become successful as an entrepreneur but also maintaining health and happiness as a human being.
Christian decided to share what he learned on his personal journey as both a music label owner and trailer music composer, so other composers can build a successful career without threatening their mental and physical health.
“What does this have to do with trailer music“, you might ask? Well, being a media composer myself and having worked with both major trailer music labels and large-scale film production companies, I can barely count the nights I had to swap bedtime with last-minute changes and super-tight deadlines.
As a young person, you can obviously handle a night shift or two, but letting this way of working become a lifestyle can be very problematic for both your health and family life. Because of staying awake until the morning, you probably sleep late. You then have to catch up on the things you couldn’t get done the day before, starting to feel stressed and tired. Your sleep cycle shifts to a point where you sleep when your partner is at home and work while she or he is sleeping. I know of many composers, filmmakers, photographers, and generally speaking, freelancers, who all have to deal with similar problems.
So getting back to the question of how personal development has to do with trailer music? Simple. Being healthy in both body and mind, and finding ways of being more productive without getting stressed out is absolutely essential to have a sustainable career.
After a few weeks, I identified my core values – health, freedom, and efficiency – and used them as a compass to make better decisions. To achieve more in less time, I began learning everything that I could find about productivity. As a result, my life started to improve massively.Christian Baczyk on restructuring life goals (Trailer Music Basics)
TRAILER MUSIC DECODED – THE ESSENTIALS
After establishing the reason and goals for the course, Christian introduces you to the world of trailer music, the trailer music business, and the rules that apply. Based on his experience as a trailer music label owner working with production companies worldwide, the tutor provides you with a comprehensive guide on how to structure your trailer music to make it the most usable for video editors.
He explains how certain elements of a film trailer work, what they should accomplish, and how you can tailor your own music to work well with video material. In doing so, Christian also points out the most common mistakes beginner composers make when it comes to trailer music and offers you solutions on how to avoid them.
This chapter also includes a section on market research, a topic that is often neglected by aspiring artists. Christian presents different ways of finding out what style of trailer music might soon be in demand by researching future film releases and analyzing them with the help of his custom little cue sheets.
HOW TO MAKE MONEY – THE UPWARD SPIRAL SYSTEM
In this chapter, tutor Christian describes his method of establishing a solid passive income from your own music that doesn’t rely on work for hire. He talks about his humble beginnings as a composer for royalty-free music platforms and how he managed to generate a solid monthly income by building his own passive revenue system.
The 3-step system called The Upward Spiral System described is there to build up a solid income stream from your existing music so you can actively work on getting closer to the dream of becoming a full-time trailer music composer. In the process, the tutor provides you with quite a few options and possibilities to create multiple mainstays with your music.
PRODUCTIVITY TIPS & MASTERY OF MIND
Since the next two chapters focus on the “how to be more productive” part of the course, I’ve condensed them here for the sake of overview. In these two chapters of Trailer Music Basics, you learn how to use easy tools and exercises for sharpening your concentration, organizing your mind, and becoming more productive in general.
Although these topics are a bit more abstract than – say – “how to mix a so-and-so style trailer track” – the thoughts behind the concepts and the exercises themselves are described in a clear and concise fashion.
Christian shows you how to make room in your head for new ideas by organizing all the tasks you have floating around into a clear to-do system. This leads to a stress-free working situation and enables you to accomplish more in less time. He also provides you with a couple of breathing and meditation techniques to help you focus on your next recording session.
While some of this might appear outlandish for a trailer music course at first (at least it did for me), when giving those exercises a try you quickly learn to appreciate their value. I have incorporated some of the concepts and exercises into my daily workflow since and I’m trying to improve on them regularly.
PERSONAL RECOMMENDATIONS & CLOSING WORDS
The final chapters offer you an extensive list of material for further reading, whether it’s about productivity in general, meditation, or learning from other successful entrepreneurs. In addition, Christian shows you his most popular apps, which allow you to keep track of your accomplishments for free.
In the closing words, tutor Christian provides you with some perspective on where to go from here and invites you to the closed Trailer Music Academy Facebook group, where you can engage in discussion with other students and composers. More on that below.
TRAILER MUSIC ACADEMY MASTERMIND GROUP
Trailer Music Basics comes with its own, dedicated Facebook group that is only available to students who enrolled in the course. The TMA Mastermind Group is a great place to communicate with other aspiring composers, exchange ideas, ask questions, and get feedback on your work.
Not only can you get in touch with other composers and students at various levels of their professional career, but you can also contact the tutors who themselves are part of the group. They provide you with tips on how to improve as an artist, give feedback on your music, and try to answer your questions from an experienced standpoint. In recent months, quite a few high-profile trailer music composers have joined the group, so it’s a great place to get valuable constructive criticism on your music and to learn from experienced professionals.
To me, a huge part of establishing yourself as a composer in this highly competitive market is to connect with others, get into a conversation, and to take part in a friendly and productive community. The TMA Mastermind allows you to do exactly this and therefore offers a great additional value to students of the course.
Trailer Music Basics is an easy-to-follow online course for aspiring composers who want to learn the essentials of becoming successful in the trailer music business. This course is unique in its form because rather than offering an over-the-shoulder look at how another composer works his art, it provides you with tools on how you can develop as an artist and businessman/woman yourself.
Trailer Music Basics offer an introduction to the practical rules, structures, and limits of trailer music but also features a comprehensive section on the more abstract, self-improving part of being a successful freelancer. Although it’s certainly more theoretic in both selection of topics and delivery medium, it provides beginning and experienced composers alike with an alternative view on career and sustainability.
Although I was a bit skeptical at first – all we composer geeks are longing for is which plugin composer X/Y using for his awesome tracks, right?! – I’m happy to admit Christian Baczyk’s Trailer Music Basics opened my eyes to a very specific field of being a freelancer. One that far too often is taken for granted: your mental and physical health, the foundation pillar of it all.
Trailer Music Basics is available for enrollment via the Trailer Music Academy online store for a single payment of $199 (+VAT) or a two-month payment of $99 each month. The course includes lifetime access to the lessons as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee should you be dissatisfied with the content.