Why building templates?

Templates are a big subject when it comes to composing with a DAW and sample libraries. Some people absolutely hate it (although I have yet to hear a compelling reason as to why), some others swear by them.

Personally, I have 3 main reasons for building templates:

Approaching the computer as a musical instrument

First and foremost, I am using a computer, a DAW, and sample libraries to write music. Not because I like to spend hours on technical problems, or importing virtual instruments, balancing them and routing them. I use these tools to write music.

When I sit in front of my computer, writing music is all that I want to be doing. Do you know the "plug and play" paradigm? I want to "sit and play". A well organized template allows me to do just that.

Boosting my productivity

As most media composers know, time is often a very scarce resource. By not having to deal with technical things, I can start writing as soon as a new project comes in. But not only! It also helps me to get new projects.

For example, I've read an ad recently by a director looking for a composer. The ad mentioned the genre that they were looking for. Instead of just sending a link to my portfolio like probably dozens of other composers, I took two hours to sit at my workstation and I wrote a custom 2 minutes cue to add with my application. I didn't have to worry about the technical aspects as everything was already handled by my template. I got a call two days later, and got the job.

Creating a palette

I don't believe in having one template for each and every situation, though. At the start of every new project, I build myself a new template (or adapt an existing one). This is why knowing how to build them fast is an asset for the working composer. By having a project-based template, I know that my orchestrations are repeatable throughout the project, be it 10 tracks for a production library album or for several film cues.

Some say that using templates smother your creativity because you are forced into a box. I don't believe in this as it is not because you've already prepared yourself a sound palette that you can't add to it as necessary. In fact, it's the exact opposite: you are able to experiment faster as your foundation is already in place. Your routings, your articulation switching mechanisms, your virtual hall, etc.

These are 3 of the situations that this course will prepare you for.


Discussion

11 comments