Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television

Graduate Certificate (GCRT)

All applicants must possess an undergraduate degree. If that degree is not in composition, equivalent professional experience will be considered. Previous education and/or experience working with visual media is not mandatory; however, the selection process does favor those applicants who demonstrate the ability or potential to compose and produce music to picture.

Required submission materials:

  • 1. A 2-3 minute video introduction of yourself at your workstation. On this video, please tell us about your prior experience in music and music technology; provide a description of your private-studio workspace and process; and relate your experience, if any, of recording, mixing, or producing recordings.Video introductions will not be accepted via mail or email for this program.
  • 2. Full scores (with optional sketches) in .PDF format of 3 original compositions, to be uploaded to the USC Thornton Slideroom Portal (see below). Although it is not mandatory, the selection committee will appreciate receiving the sketches (in .PDF format) for scores that were prepared prior to their rendering in the notation program (this enables us to gain insight into the applicant’s orchestration process). Compositions will not be accepted via mail or email for this program.
  • 3. Audio recordings of your 3 submitted compositions, at least one of which must be presented on Quicktime in sync with video picture, and all of which must be uploaded to the USC Thornton Slideroom Portal (see below). The submitted audio/video examples of your work can be from a visual-media project that you scored originally, or, alternatively, from a film, television, or other visual-media source in which you replace the original music with your own. Your three original compositions should convey your ability to capture mood, color, action and panorama for the visual media through both composition and orchestration. We request that you demonstrate a range of styles in your submissions (i.e., don’t submit 3 action cues). The selection committee will appreciate receiving live recorded works whenever possible; however, midi-generated recordings, as well as hybrid recordings (i.e., midi combined with live recordings), are permissible. In any case, it is important that all submitted scores be professionally rendered in either Finale or Sibelius and that they accurately reflect the recordings. Applicants are permitted to submit only one cue per any one visual-media project. In other words, an applicant may submit up to three scored scenes, but those 3 scenes must be from three different projects. Finally, the total running time of all submitted works should not exceed 20 minutes. Recordings will not be accepted via mail or email for this program.

The Video Introduction, Compositions, and Recordings must be submitted online through the “Fall Slideroom portal” by the December 1st deadline. Any application not complete by December 1 may be removed from consideration.

For instructions on how to access the Slideroom portal to submit your recording click HERE

Note for International Applicants

In addition to the application materials required of all applicants, international applicants must submit certified translations of any transcript or diploma not issued in English, and a statement of financial support. In addition, those international applicants whose native language is not English must submit scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum TOEFL score of 83 on the internet-based test is required for admittance into the SMPTV program. Applicants who score below that threshold will be allowed to apply; however, they will not be considered for entrance unless an improved score of at least 83 is achieved on a subsequent TOEFL exam prior to March 1.

Additional information

The creation and production of music for visual media involves the use of sophisticated technological tools and expertise; therefore, only students comfortable in using such technology should apply for participation in this program. Finally, admission to the SMPTV’s program is limited to fall semesters only.

Read more details about the program