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Composer FAQ - General

What is the Universal Film Music Composer Initiative?  

The Universal Film Music Composer Initiative ("Initiative") is a program to develop up and coming composers who have had limited or no access and exposure to the studio production system, including opportunities to compose music for projects in collaboration with filmmakers and studio executives.

The 2018 Initiative entails the composition of original music for short films produced by DreamWorks Animation and will provide semi-finalists composers creative, technical and financial support in the form of a $1,000 grant to be used towards the creation of score submissions for the project they are assigned.  Selected finalists will create final scores and each will receive a $10,000 grant.  

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What is the selection process?

The Initiative consists of four phases ranging from initial application and review to selection of finalists as follows:

Phase One:  Submission of Application.  All applications submitted during the submission period will be reviewed in this initial screening phase.

Phase Two:  Personal Interviews.  After reviewing applications, selected candidates will be identified for in-person interviews with studio executives regarding their past work, creative approach, professional background and other qualifications.

Phase Three:  Each semi-finalist selected for this phase will be assigned to work on a specified project, and provided with a $1,000 grant to create a score demo/mock-up ("Demo") for final scoring.  The Demo will be reviewed by project directors and studio executives, with a limited number of semi-finalists being invited to participate as finalists in Phase Four of the Initiative.

Phase Four:  Each finalist will receive a $10,000 grant to be used to refine their project compositions in collaboration with filmmakers and executives, with the potential to have their work recorded at an orchestral scoring session.

After the final composer is selected, all finalists/participants will have the option to continue mentorship opportunities with Universal Film Music and/or DreamWorks Animation executives for a period of one year from the Initiative commencement date.

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If selected as a Semi-finalist or Finalist, what kind of projects will I work on?

Potential assignments include the pitch and "demo" of original material for short films and feature films, "write to picture" for filmmakers on upcoming film releases, shadowing opportunities, working closely with music production staff from development to delivery, and collaborating with musicians and production personnel to create final scores. 

Project assignments may vary depending on each year's unique program design, the needs of the participating production company, candidate style and capabilities, and executive feedback.

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How will I be notified if I am a Semi-Finalist or Finalist?

Candidates invited to participate in Phases Three or Four will be notified by email and/or telephone.

Please note that participation in Phases Three and Four is contingent upon the candidate's execution of a composer agreement with Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios, LLC and/or participating production company, a copy of which will be made available at the time of notification.

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How many composers are selected for the Initiative?

The number of finalists selected to participate will vary year to year and pending on the project.

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Is there any guarantee that my composition will be used for the selected projects?


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Who will own the rights to the composition I create in the Initiative?  

If the composition is used in connection with the Phase Four selected project, then all rights will belong to Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation.

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