Score Music is the thing that really helps convey the emotion of a movie and really creates the feeling the director wants for the viewer. Getting the score music right is obviously very important and also not as easy as you might think. It sometimes takes a lot of trial and error by the director, even when they have the luxury of a dedicated composer.
The music can come from many sources, not just a dedicated composer. Many great themes and film music has come from music libraries and independent artists in the past, even on big films. At the end of the day it is more often than not a mixture of all of these sources.
If you can afford a composer then it is obviously to your advantage, you should therefore get your composer on board as soon as possible. This gives you time to convey what you need,. You should give the composer examples of the sort of score music you are after, he/she can then make demos of their ideas and flesh them out once you feel they are on the right track. The trouble often comes because what a director thinks they want is not actually what they want. The more time the composer has to change things the better.
If you are working with a big budget you are obviously more likely to get the composer of your choice. If, on the other hand, you do not have a lot of money you can find composers by checking out films you like or recommendations from other filmmakers. You can find them at events like film festivals networking to trying to get a break. There are of course many online resources these days also.
Once you find a composer you need to get things locked down as far as the number of rewrites they will do and the licensing deal they are comfortable with. They will often work cheaper if they retain the rights to their music, they can then make more money on it in the future. These sort of things need to be locked down before your composer does anything. Get everything in writing otherwise you will have no comeback if you need something rewritten or changed. It will continually cost you more money for any changes you need if you did not have it worked out beforehand, get a lawyer and a proper legal contract before you do anything.
The budget range for music is obviously very wide, but the more grand things become like full on orchestration starts pushing the price up. The cues have to be exactly right and have your approval before they are recorded, because re-recording is expensive and time consuming. Of course there is some great sounding digital orchestration software out there now. Even with a low budget they can hugely increase the production value of a film without the cost of a live orchestra. They are not as good as the real thing but are starting to sound very authentic. To the non-musical viewer they will not even realize that they are not listening to the real deal.
Most up and coming composers are desperate to get credits on films, some will even work for free. Someone working for free may not be as readily available as you would like them to be, so this route can be a double edged sword. Whatever you decide to do to get your score music get a contract and have time penalties written in to ensure it is completed on time. For the lower budget a good idea is to use some of the dedicated boutique library music websites out there like Music For TV. We can provide quality music that is not in 100s of other productions like the music some of the bigger libraries provide. We also do it at a more reasonable price!