The list below covers the essentials for getting faculty up to speed on your current progress and pitching to potential collaborators for original music.

1. Project Description/Design Workbook: A compilation of project description, story treatment, character biographies, and character & environment design elements.

2. Storyreel: As close to final timings as possible the storyreel should include scratch musical score and sound effects.

3. Director's notes on Sound Design: You'll want to include a description of how you see the role of music in your piece.  For now, stick to a general overview. Later on, you may want to provide to a scene-by-scene breakdown describing the emotional tone and musical role in every scene.

You may also want to include a limited sampling of music or excerpts from short films that you feel best exemplify the role that music will play in your project.

The following documents are an example of a live conversation between Director and Composer on Google Docs: Director's Notes.pdf and a Composer's Score Plan with Notes.pdf.




An ideal workflow between the Animator, Musician and Sound Designer for scoring a short animated film is listed below.  As in all art-making endeavors, every project has its specific needs, limitations and opportunities so we remain flexible.

Typically this process includes the following roles: Animator, Director, Editor, Sound Designer, Musician and Composer.   In most cases, these roles are shared by individuals wearing multiple hats. Whatever form your post-production roles take on, here are the key steps for hand-offs and deliverables.

1. Animator/Director pitches rough storyreel to Musician/Composer (January): This is generally comprised of loosely timed storyboards with "scratch" (stand-in or temporary) musical score and some scratch sound effects.  Often this is accompanied by "Directors Notes" to help the Musician understand the sub-text of each scene.

2. Musician/Composer provides “musical sketches” (February) These sketches should provide the animator with a broad musical vision for the project and be simple enough to accommodate feedback. Once a direction is clear, Animator and Musician part ways to work on their respective parts of the project. 

3. Musician/Composer provides midi-track (March) : At this point the musician may provide a midi-track that animators can work with to time their final animation or the animator will continue to work to scratch audio.

4. Animator/Editor provides final timings as "locked edit" (Early April): Once animation is nearly complete, the animator/editor works closely with the sound designer to create final timing for a "locked" edit. Final animation is ideal at this point but due to tight deadlines, the locked edit will likely contain near final animation and low-resolution renders, and a combination of scratch and final audio FX.

5. Musician/Composer provides finished score to Animator/Editor - 1st then final draft (Mid-April): The animator/editor will then replace scratch score with final music. Leave time for some back and forth adjustments as the final elements are put into place.

6. Animator/Editor works with Sound Designer to create a final audio mix (May): At this point the sound designer (if you have one) provides final sound effects and works with the animator/editor to create a final audio mix. Four ears are always better than two.

7. Create final credit roll (May): Make sure that you have included the credit roll as part of your sound design!























Stephan Leeper/Central Michigan University 2023