Alumni Interview with Lucas Vidal and Steve Dzialowski

Name: Lucas Vidal and Steve Dzialowski

Major at Berklee: Film scoring

Graduation Date: 2007

Professional Title: Composer and business partner

Employer: Music and Motion Productions

What are some of the accomplishments you’re most proud of in your career thus far?

We feel privileged to be surrounded by extremely talented people and work with them on a daily basis. At Berklee College of Music, we learned from our teachers and fellow students, now we learn from our team, our peers, and our clients. Being involved in high-level projects, like Fast and Furious 6, gave us the opportunity to learn from the best.

What are the most challenging aspects of your current job?  

We started our company, Music and Motion Productions, right after graduating from Berklee. Even though Berklee did a great job of preparing us for the real world, we threw ourselves into the craziness of the music industry without ever learning from a boss or a mentor. Starting from scratch has been very challenging but also rewarding, and it required us to re-invent our job, as we never followed in anyone’s footsteps.

What would you say are the top requirements (skills, mind-set, etc.) for someone entering this line of work? 

A film composer must please their client and support the picture, while maintaining their own artistic integrity. It is very much a psychological game and one must understand that the music serves a purpose. We believe that success is very much connected to how much you are willing to give up for it. Work, work, work … and it will eventually pay off.

What is a normal day like in your line of work (assuming there is such a thing as a normal day)?

Lucas: As a film composer your day starts when you open your eyes and think about a theme or sonority. A bike ride later, you find yourself in the studio to compose music and work on changes while being interrupted by various emails, phone calls, and meetings for potential projects or for the project you are working on. These days, you must be very productive as the deadlines are shorter than ever. Composing four minutes of music in a day is becoming the average.

What would be a reasonable salary range to expect if I entered this field? What is the long-term potential? 

We were doing the exact same job while working on student projects at Berklee for free. Now we are getting paid for it. Let’s just say that some composers make a very good living while pursuing their dream.

This industry has changed dramatically in the past five years. What have you seen from inside your company? Where do you think the changes will happen in the next five years?

Steve: Being versatile is very important for a film composer, not only musically but also in terms of possible business ventures. There are many more opportunities than just working back-to-back on movies. This is why we are starting our trailer music division and are now collaborating with record producers and songwriters. We believe that a music company should have a flexible structure so that it can embrace new opportunities and follow the industry’s fast pace.

How has your Berklee experience prepared you for what you are doing today?

We wouldn’t be anywhere if it weren’t for Berklee. Not only did we meet in an English class, but we learned everything we needed to know in order to start our endeavor. But education is never over. Berklee has always been very close to our hearts; a few years ago we started an internship program and it turned out to be the best way for us to find new talent.

If you could offer just one piece of career advice to students, what would it be? 

Keep learning and never give up.