The initial point at which a composer presents music to the director for approval is often a situation of anticipation for the composer. Over the years though, I’ve been surprised to find that directors often have a harder time with this stage than the composers. Yes, the composer is wondering if the director will like the music, but the director is often wondering…what if I don’t like the music? What if it doesn’t work? How do I tell him? Will he be defensive? Will he take it personally?
That’s why I think it’s so important in the creative relationship for the composer to make it clear that ego is not a factor when it comes to the music. The composer has a responsibility to create an environment where the director is comfortable enough to be free and honest with his feedback. Any comments or criticisms are more than welcome. Yes, it’s okay if you don’t like a cue. Yes, it’s okay if you don’t like the initial concept. A negative response to a music cue gives the composer as much insight into the director’s vision for the film as a positive one. Making changes and rewrites are part and parcel of the collaborative process and are how you end up with a score that is to the director’s satisfaction and the film’s betterment.