Film Composer Meredith Ollerich - Profile Photo

Meredith Ollerich

How did you first get into composing?

I actually started at the age of 10 composing for ensembles. As I got into college, I surrounded myself with a lot more film composers. I was really inspired by what they were doing, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get into that. I’ve always had this idea that if my composition works for a film, then great. If it doesn’t – great, I’m just here doing what I love. I’m always interested in trying out new genres and types of media when it comes to my work.

The first time I composed for film was in May of 2021. So I’ve kind of been experimenting with different things since then. Of course my composition wasn’t originally for film. I adapted it, but I would say that my first film experience was a little over a year ago – so I’m just getting into the space and trying to establish a footing.

Who are some of your musical inspirations?

I’ve of course been a very big John Williams fan my whole life. I love the sort of grandiose kind of over the top music that he does. But overall, I’m very inspired by the romantic era of classical music and trying to adapt that to a more modern audience. So I’d say it’s kind of a mixture between those two.

Do you have a standard process for composing music?

I find that it’s easier to start out on staff paper and then progress to an online notation software.

Sometimes it takes 12 hours to finish a piece. Sometimes it takes several years. I can’t say that I fully refined that process, but I do know that I start with staff paper. Once I’m ready, I go onto the notation software and then get it ready for distribution.

“There is someone out there who wants to hear your music.”

– Meredith Ollerich | Film Composer

What are some of your career goals as a film composer?

I pursued this career because it was one of my passions. I’m really not looking for much else other than trying to find projects that I’m passionate about.

Trying to find a career that I love while still being able to give my musical talent to someone who needs it. It’s just all about that passion for me. I want to love what I do and do what I love.

What are some of your challenges as a composer?

For someone as new to this as I am since I just graduated college, I’m just trying to find my footing. I’ve found that a lot of people would prefer to work with more experienced composers and leave us newer composers kind of in the dust.

I think it’s difficult to find those paying gigs because nobody wants to work with someone who’s brand new. I don’t know a lot of people that would trust someone that’s brand new, but I don’t think we can really get experience as a new composer if we don’t.

Do you have any advice for new composers starting?

One thing that I really needed to hear as a young composer is that there is someone out there who wants to hear your music, even though it might not seem like it.

I have family members who I haven’t spoken to in years say, “Hey, I just stumbled upon your website and I heard this piece – you’re really talented! Keep going, I’ll be following you.” Your first fan might be thousands of miles away, maybe even in a different country, but you just have to keep going to find that audience, even when it seems tough.

I think I really needed to hear that when I was younger.

Full Audio Transcript

How did you get into film composing? 

So I actually started composing at the age of 10 composing for whatever ensemble I really wanted to, at that point, as I got into college, I surrounded myself with a lot more film composers, and I was really inspired by what they were doing, but I wasn’t quite sure how to get into that. I’ve always had this idea that, you know, if my composition works for a film, great. If it doesn’t great, I’m just here doing what I love. And if it leads to film composing, it leads to film composing. I’m always interested in trying out new genres and types of media when it comes to my work.

How long have you been film composing now? 

I think the first time I had something on film was in May of 2021. So I’ve kind of been experimenting with different things since then. Of course my composition wasn’t originally for film. I sort of adapted it, but I would say that my first film experience was a little over a year ago. So just getting into the space and trying to establish a footing. 

What are some of your musical inspirations? Do you have any favorite films, composers or, or musicians that help define you sonically? 

I’ve of course been a very big John Williams fan my whole life. I love the sort of grandiose kind of over the top music that he does, but overall I’m very inspired by like the romantic era of classical music and trying to adapt that to a more modern audience. So I’d say it’s kind of a mixture between those two. 

Do you have a process for composing your music or writing music in general? 

Yeah, I find that it’s easier if I start out on staff paper and then progress to an online notation software.

Sometimes it takes 12 hours to finish a piece. Sometimes it takes several years. I can’t say that I fully refined that process, but I do know that I start with staff paper. Once I’m ready, I go onto the notation software and then get it ready for distribution.

What are your career goals?

I pursued this career because it was one of my passions and I’m really not looking for much else other than trying to find projects that I’m passionate about. Trying to find a career that I love while still being able to give my musical talent to someone who needs it.

So it’s just all about that passion for me. I want to love what I do and do what I love.

What would you say are the top one to two challenges as a film composer?

So I think especially as someone as new to this as I am, and especially I just graduated from college, so I’m also trying to find my footing there as well.

I’ve found that a lot of people would prefer to work with more experienced composers and sort of leave us newer composers kind of in the dust. So I think it’s difficult to find those paying gigs because nobody wants to work with someone who’s brand new. I mean, I don’t know a lot of people that would trust someone that’s brand new, but I don’t think we can really get experience as a new composer if we don’t.

What would you say makes you stand out as a composer? Sonically, what do you think makes you different from a lot of other composers out there?

I guess there’s a couple answers to that question and the big, big one that I’m thinking of right now is that I grew up in a band and I grew up playing and singing in the choir. So I’m used to the repertoire of classical, romantic, this sort of tonal era of composing, but I’m adding my own twist to that.

So the same people who are in the concert halls, listening to orchestras and the same people who are maybe just learning their first instrument can enjoy my music. My music’s very inclusive. I would say because I’m taking a little bit from the past. I’m taking a little bit from the future and I’m sort of modeling it into my own creation.

I think one other thing that makes me unique is I graduated with a degree in music composition and a degree in chemistry and I’m pursuing nuclear pharmacy. And I immediately go back to the composer, Alexander Bordin, who was a chemist. I think that the greatest composers that we know of also kind of had a double life, per se.

We think of Charles Ives who was more well known as an insurance salesman, but his music’s still being played today. Bine was a chemist and his strength quartets are probably his most famous. And, you know, I kind of think, why shouldn’t that be me? Why do I have to pick between chemistry and music if I’m really passionate for both.

Do you have any advice for new composers starting? 

I think one thing that I really needed to hear as a young composer is that there is someone out there who wants to hear your music, even though it might not seem like it.

I have family members who I haven’t spoken to in years say, Hey, I just stumbled upon your website. And I heard this piece, this piece, and this piece, you’re really talented. Keep going. I’ll be following you. Your first fan might be thousands of miles away, maybe even in a different country, but you just have to keep going to find that audience, even when it seems tough.

I think I really needed to hear that when I was younger.

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